No one believes me when I say Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies is fascinating. Nexon’s free-to-play spin-off uses good ol’ CS 1.6 as the foundation for what feels like a self-contained mod scene, throwing in oddities including a base-building cooperative survival mode, humans vs. zombies modes, football, arena boss battles with giant monsters, races, a mode similar to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, and so very many ‘sexy’ ladies. It’s a wide and surprising range of games which often have little in common beyond using CS guns. I have hugely enjoyed wandering from server to server, feeling out what this even is. And now CSNZ has a little bit of Minecraft or perhaps Garry’s Mod, thanks to its new Studio Mode.
Studio Mode lets players build their own maps, block-by-block and decoration-by-decoration, in a Minecraft-y way. You might want to use this to just build a base and shoot a bunch of zombies. Or… the very first Studio Mode map I jumped into was a singleplayer story where I played a fella tasked with entertaining an investor’s granddaughter, which involved travelling through a portal to a MapleStory-ish fantasy kingdom where she made me hunt for ingredients to cook her a steak and then bread.
As I said, I do enjoy wandering aimlessly through modes and maps in this weird game.
To be clear: CSNZ is monetised in strange and terrible ways and I would certainly never dream of trying to play its competitive modes seriously on this confusing and uneven battlefield. However! It has enough cooperative and curious things that when I return, every year or so, I am delighted poking around. It’s a view into a strange world where Counter-Strike had Half-Life’s mod scene.
Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies is free-to-play through Steam.