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.