Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
If you ever enjoyed digging through Fileplanet or the PC Gamer cover disc, playing every strange little Half-Life or Quake mod you could find, I think you might quite enjoy Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies [Steam page]. No, no hear me out.
Nexon’s free-to-play spin-off takes basic Counter-Strike, throws in a load of zombies, mutants, and ghosts, throws them all in a bag and shakes then pours out a collection of strange and unexpected mod-feeling modes. I’ve spent a fair few hours just poking around and honestly, I swear it’s worth a go.
CSNZ feels like a mod disc from back in the days when ‘total conversions’ were rare enough that they had a special name. It uses parts of the base game – weapons, models, and sometimes even levels – as foundations for something quite different.
Let’s reel off a few examples! Linear race maps see a human team trying to escape the zombie team, who of course convert any player they kill. A PvE survival mode has survivors scavenge a city by day to build and upgrade a persistent base, with rounds which will go on over an hour. An Attack On Titan mode. A wave survival mode. Football. Arena battles against swarms of nasties and colossal boss monsters with millions of hitpoints. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory’s tank maps but with a giant mutant gang leader strapped to a car. Team deathmatch with knives. Even plain old CS 1.6.
I don’t think that’s even half of ’em. How strange and marvellous!
As is typical for Nexon, CSNZ has intrusive microtransactions up the wazoo and the menus are awful and… none of that matters if you approach it as a game to explore. Load up the server browser and pick a map you’ve not played before. Who knows what it might be?