Have You Played… Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Not the original mod. Not Counter-Strike: Source. I’m talking about Global Offensive, the recent sequel/remake which, arguably for the first time, found ways to expand the base game and court its most ardent fans and professional players.

Where Source succeeded only in splitting the community, Global Offensive seems to have achieved a greater adoption. I’m not a professional player, so I can’t tell you about whatever minute changes Valve made to maps and game feel in order to make that happen. But personally, I was drawn back to Counter-Strike through Global Offensive because of its new modes.

For one, there’s its take on Gun Game, where instead of buying weapons at the beginning of each round, you unlock them successively by getting kills. It’s a fun mode in whatever game it’s in, and in Counter-Strike it takes what can be a tense game and makes it feel a little sillier. Perfect for moments when you just want to aim and shoot and not think quite so much.

For two, there’s the matchmaking. I like server browsers, but the days of being able to find a server to call home and go there every night are long over for me. CS: GO’s matchmaking has always worked well at finding matches with people of equivalent (ie. not much) skill, and its modes similarly give me options for whether I want to commit to 90 minutes of trying-for-reals or just join some knockaround matches and quit when I’m ready.

It’s still the maps from the previous games that I love most, but Counter-Strike: Global Offensive managed to make CS feel available to me again. For that I’m grateful.


  1. f0rcefl0w says:

    That first paragraph doesn’t really make any sense. Other than that, go CSGO!

  2. DrollRemark says:

    Think you made a slight mistake when you copied the opening sentence of the Source HYP, Graham. ;)

    I miss the community spirit of a good dedicated server that the original had (I know there are servers there, but I’ve yet to find any I’ve enjoyed as much), but yeah, the matchmaking is very good. Like many, I bounced off Source in a way that I could never fully quantify, but GO just feels right.

  3. magogjack says:

    Would you like a coffee Graham?

  4. Premium User Badge

    Graham Smith says:


  5. Alfius says:

    I think the second ‘not’ should be read ‘but’.

    I actually own CSGO but have barely touched it, I came to the franchise with CSS and never understood why it polarised opinion the way it did. My university years were spent on Teeside Uni’s server on which the regulars (all students) would, in addition to their clan tag, append their names with the university they were at. It was a fun little community, should I take it that matchmaking in GO has brought this sort of thing to an end?

    – [ptrm] alfius SOTON

    • Ringwraith says:

      Yes and no.
      Community servers still exist, and you can still browse them from a list fairly easily, just you can also jump into some matchmaking games of the ranked competitive sort or not easily if you don’t want to worry about anything but shooting things.

    • Bweahns says:

      The one thing I do like about matchmaking is that you get to play maps other than office and dust2 occasionally. I stopped playing CS:S because the only two populated servers here in Australia were 24/7 dust2 and 24/7 office. At least with matchmaking you occasionally play other maps when people vote for something other than dust2.

      • bjohndooh says:

        It took me awhile but I found a nice server that’s moderated in the evenings and tests out new maps weekly.

        They play 90% custom maps, and I’m straight hooked on custom maps. Last time I checked my maps folder was something obscene like 40 GB.

  6. OctoStepdad says:

    Nope, never heard of it.

    *looks at steam profile with +500 hours*

  7. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    Yup! To me, it played like a more sensible version then either other game. Noticable changes for me included:

    An entirely revamped weapon system. This proved one of the most controversial things that happened in the latter days of CSSource support (which was done by the same devteam), as they found that bugs that were older then 1.6 had persisted in the weapon code, such as the glock’s burst fire becoming more accurate whilst running. The devteam fixed that and people hated them for changing something people had become very familiar with over the past few years, but since GO is an entirely new game they didn’t have these trappings.

    Wallbanging that actually worked: “Wallbanging” was a CS1.6 term for shooting trough walls. However, in 1.6, it was entirely up to map knowledge to know which walls could be shot trough and which could not. In Source, no walls could be shot trough. In CS:Go, things make a lot of sense, and bullets fly trough stuff depending on thickness and hardness of the material (can be used to great effect in Office).

    A much, much, much better UI!

    Non mandetory matchmaking which works!

    Chickens in CS_Italy!

    And a bunch of other stuff. Noticably, the reason why GO works best is because it’s the first actually profesionally developed game of the franchise. CS 1.6 never managed to fully escape it’s mod origins. Source was simply a dirty port with the purpose to show people how easy it was to port mods. GO right from the get go was designed with certain objectives in mind, and it shows.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Oh man, wallshooting in CS 1.6 was ridiculous. I mean, I loved it, but the conditions for it were so arbitrary. It was all about the brush layers rather than the actual material, so huge stone walls could be shot through in some maps, but not thin wood in others.

  8. rabbit says:


  9. Premium User Badge

    johannsebastianbach says:

    Well … have I played it? Some maybe.
    After patches and patches we’re at the point where just about every aspect of the game is way better than 1.6 – except if you just wanna say «different is bad, I liked the stupid ways which originated in strange bugs you could exploit etc.».

    Btw. Please bring back Pop Flash, since it was a spectacularly interesting article series.

  10. trueGamer says:

    I got RO2 and Insurgency and don’t know why I should play CSGO?

    • Flavour Beans says:

      I don’t know quite why, but I just couldn’t do Insurgency. The UI was cumbersome and things were poorly explained and the people I kept getting into matches with always had those hella-good players. Most of my time playing it was getting lost in the dark and shot in the head from an unknown direction a great distance away. RO2, I absolutely adore, by the way, but I see a place for both it and CSGO in my life. Insurgency though? It just felt like it still needs some work.

  11. dkfgo says:

    This game is fucking beautiful. I know people love mobas these days, but to me first person shooters are the real deal when it comes to esports, there is nothing as beautiful as this: link to youtube.com

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      Meh, all I saw was a bunch of headshots. There’s just not enough to strategic diversity in FPSs to keep me interested.

      • Abndn says:

        That’s because the player in the video above is famous for being a somewhat one-dimensional headshot machine. CS actually has incredible strategic depth, and you can see this when you play on a higher level and/or follow the pro scene.

        When you claim there isn’t much strategic diversity you really only reveal your own ignorance and appear as a fool to everyone that understands the game well. You’re basically being the video game equivalent of people who say football is about chasing and kicking a ball around.

        • Harvey says:

          Wouldn’t it be more effective to explain the intricacies of play to someone rather than calling him a fool? I am ignorant like Capt. Merryweather and would enjoy the game explained.

          Please do! And drop the attitude, it doesn’t do your community or esport any favors.

          • Abndn says:

            He got the answer he deserved. He didn’t ask for an explanation, didn’t wonder whether or not there might be more to the game than headshots. No curiosity, no desire for an explanation, no hint at the possibility that he could be wrong. Instead, he went straight ahead and said there’s not enough strategic diversity. That is not the attitude of someone interested in learning more.

            I originally used a different word altogether that described his smug and self-certain ignorance better, but I opted for the more polite ‘fool’ instead.

          • magogjack says:

            You can still choose to take the mature route. Also just to be impish I must say that your actually talking about tactical play not strategy.

          • Premium User Badge

            johannsebastianbach says:

            Okay, trying to be helpful.
            If you’re interested in the team tactics aspect of CS, maybe take a look at WarOwl’s Strat Talk series on YouTube. It won’t cover the basics, but picks a few examples of professional players, who did interesting things which didn’t quite follow the accepted meta of the game.
            If you find yourself interested in such details, maybe it would be worth to dig deeper in the basic tactics of CS:GO.
            Here’s the .

          • Premium User Badge

            johannsebastianbach says:

            I’ll never get this. I meant link to the playlist.

          • Abndn says:

            @magogjack I take offense at the idea that the “mature route” is the one that coddes people who make moronic claims by pretending that what they write has merit.

            Your other point is very curious since I didn’t mention anything that could be interpreted as tactics *or* strategy. CS certainly has both in spades.

      • DrollRemark says:

        There is some strategy in individual play, but that’s never going to come across in a highlights youtube reel. Most strategy is at a team level though, and it’s about how all 5 players on a side react to the other.

        I’m not going to pretend that there’s more depth to it than a semi-decent RTS, but as a 5v5 game at the top level, it’s got a lot of tactical work in it.

      • dkfgo says:

        Fair enough, I gotta say though, you would respect this frag movie much more if you tried to replicate it.

        • shoefish says:

          Modern FPS just seem so much more one dimensional then older arena shooters like Quake3. This video, while impressive, makes CS look like it has a much lower skill ceiling when compared to Quake3’s faster pace, movement, and variety of weapons. I’d much prefer to watch a Quake3 frag video then cs.

          • dkfgo says:

            I disagree very strongly. They are one dimensional for low skilled players where the guy with the best aim just out aims everyone everytime, and they look one dimensional for people with no understanding of game mechanics and meta game (just like a football match looks like a bunch of guys running after a ball for those that dont know the game, to quote Abndn). The guy on the video I linked is regarded as one of the best aimers in the game, if not the best (not something easy to accomplish I assure you), and yet hasnt managed to win a single major event since 2013.

            Also they are very different games, thats like comparing RTS and MOBA and asking which one is harder. One thing is for certain though, Quake and UT, even at their peak, never were as competitive as professional CS (to be fair very few games can say that), its no wonder they died out and CS survived. Plus when it comes to aiming per se, picking CS as the hardest is a no brainer when you put it against games that were so heavy on power ups control, weapons with some big and reliable splash damage and players unable to change their trajectory during mandatory long jumps. Not saying that the skill ceiling in Quake Live (as a contemporary example) is low, but if you wanna argue that having power ups and sutff like that makes the game skill ceilling harder, might as well say that TF2 skill ceilling is higher than both (which, of course, is absolute bullshit).

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        @Abndn Actually, my response is directed towards that frag video. The guy who posted the link was using said video to illustrate why he believed that fps are the real deal in esports. Based on that video and many others I’ve seen, I have to strongly disagree with that. So you can stick your snark right up your arse, because I’m not ill informed; I’m a huge esports fan and follow fighters and mobas in a big way, and can tell you for nothing that the level of play in those games is far more stimulating to me.

        Also thanks to the other guy who linked the video, I quite enjoyed that. However I don’t think it will ever be for me.

  12. phanatic62 says:

    It consumed my life for about 3 months. I even bought a headset so I could talk to teammates (which drastically improved the experience). Ended up playing 130 hours in that short time, but then I hit my skill wall and dropped the game and have never started it since. I always think about jumping back in, but I only like playing ranked and since I’ve been out of the game for a year and a half I feel like I’ll get destroyed.

  13. v1tr1ol says:

    1. Insurgency
    11. Battlefield
    123564576865645. CS:GO

  14. sharkh20 says:

    Unfortunately, the order for me is 1.6>Source>CS:GO. Skill ceiling lowered through each iteration. Also, the maps have gone from a bunch of connected open spaces to a hallway fight simulator. They also seem to design to make things look nice first, rather than does it play well first. The community maps end up being the best maps but they remove them from the game every few months. The same stale rotations of Dust2 only or Office only are there when the community maps go away. Server communities are pretty much destroyed. It has gone from a game run by the community to a game run by Valve, and I’m just not a fan.

  15. Mud says:

    Never did and never will

  16. Frings says:

    Ah yes, where Valve put together everything they’ve learned about making money from TF2 and Dota2 and made it into… what it is (which is lucrative).

    (And then put *that* into TF2, to my absolute despair…)

  17. fish99 says:

    Actually I just started playing it recently (having never touched CS before) with the intention of getting better at shooters. Of course this has meant adjusting to a much lower mouse sensitivity. I just play DM and Gun Game with bots, but I’m intending to try online when I’ve had more practice.

    Not a fan of the slidey movement, but the weapons feel really good.

  18. Bobtree says:

    Yes, but only 12 hours according to Steam. I played around 100h of 1.6 and CS:S. When I get a high refresh rate monitor, CS:GO will be one of the first things I play.

  19. Bweahns says:

    I love CS:GO, but there are a few things I don’t like. The CS:S mod gungame was way more fun with better maps.
    CS:GO splits games into casual and competitive. Casual is too casual as you don’t have to buy armour or defusers, which I don’t like. This makes me have to play competitive if I want to get ye olde style CS experience I had back in the late 90’s. The problem with competitive is people take it way to seriously or just piss and moan the whole map if you make one tiny misplay.
    My ideal game would be playing casual but needing to buy armour and defusers. I used to love having eco rounds back in the day with twelve dudes on your team all armed with pistols, it made for fun rounds.
    One final complaint. Whenever there are equal map votes at the end of a round for dust2 and some other map; dust two always gets chosen by the randomiser. I have seen another map get chosen twice out of around 30+ randomised maps. This wouldn’t have to happen either if people didn’t constantly split votes. Once someone has voted for a map that isn’t dust2 just vote for it and don’t waste votes.
    The in game interface sucks. You can’t invite or join friends in game, you have to shift-tab out of the steam overlay to join games, which is stupid. You also can’t change options whilst in a game lobby and such.
    The reserve group also includes some maps I hate such as dust, I just can’t stand that map. I never liked it much even back in the day. It is always such a boring stalemate. I am forced to avoid that map group due to the banging head against wall map selections. Bring back the custom map options!

  20. that_guy_strife says:

    I’ve tried Source and GO, but I just can’t deal with the engine. Feels too much like a game, but it tries to take itself so seriously … No iron sights, too long TTK, not my cuppa.

    I used to enjoy CoD on hardcore for some mindless arcadey reflex shooting, and I’ve been playing Battlefield (also on hardcore) since 2142 for that, well, Battlefield sensation.

    I’ll never understand playing a modern military shooter with TTK. One hit migh be a graze, or stopped by the kevlar, but the second and third will knock you down and probably bleed you out. Hitpoints for games like Unreal are great ! But hitboxes are better from the ”serious” ones.

    • v1tr1ol says:

      Try Insurgency out, I was HC BF3/4 player and after Ins every mfps feels like cod.

  21. Big Murray says:

    CS:GO was truly revolutionary.

    I don’t think there’s ever been a game that’s put you so quickly in contact with people who’d call you racial slurs.

  22. princessvegeta says:

    also, this is a terrible community if you happen to be a human of the “female” variety. its pure shit. but i still love cs:go because i don’t know any better. I loved all the fps suggestions in these comments though

  23. Unsheep says:

    If all gamers who want multiplayer FPS could simply stick to games like this we might finally get an FPS with great single-player content.