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Operation Hydra hits Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Free fun for all

A rotating selection of special modes have arrived in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site] with the launch of Operation Hydra. You'll get to collect dog tags from enemies, play 2v2, fight in low gravity with snipers, only be able to buy each weapon once per match, romp around in a bomb suit, or other such fun. These modes are free for all players to try, as are the Operation's new maps, though folks can buy the new £5 Operation pass to get new cooperative missions, new weapon skins, and all that jazz.

Operation Hydra brings three event modes, which will rotate every week. Wingman mode offers 2v2 best-of-16 matches on single-bombsite maps. Weapons Expert is 5v5 best-of-30 matches where each player can only buy each weapon once - so you might quickly burn through favourites. The first of the Hydra Events selected is War Games, live right now, and it's a curious one.

War Games is a whole bag of new modes and mutators. You've got headshots-only team deathmatch, where all weapons are free but only brainbangers injure enemies (I played a bit and was appalled to discover quite how rusty I am). Another mode gives players SSG 08 sniper rifles and knives to fight in low gravity. And a mode where missing shots causes you to take damage. One with only knives, grenades, and a recharging taser. A mode where you collect the enemy's dogtags. One which is regular CS but you can buy a heavily-armoured assault suit for $6000. At the end of each War Games match, players get to vote on which is up next.

Operation Hydra also brings new maps, four new community-created ones and three returning from previous Operations. They're available in the Hydra Events as well as Casual and Competitive Matchmaking for all players.

Regular Counter-Strike modes are still available during all this, of course.

Then there's the usual All Access Pass for the Operation. For £4.80/$5.99 you get access to the cooperative Guardian Campaign to take down the dastardly Phoenix, as well as an upgradeable digital 'coin' showing off how fancy you are, and a journal tracking stats. Playing in Hydra events will get you crates with new weapon skins, including a chance at rare gloves, and skins from past Operations are up for grabs too.

I do like the Hydra case's handy P90 skin:

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