First person shooters have become a very successful and popular genre of video game these days with big names like the Call of Duty and Battlefield series leading the charge. As each new iteration goes by, developers try to make set pieces even bigger, offer more modes and guns, often inflating its budget. However sometimes I find it’s just nice to go back to a simple shooter, and that’s where Counter-Strike: Global Offensive hits the sweet spot. I’ll be honest in saying that before now, I have never played Counter-Strike before, so I found myself quite intrigued when I heard that Valve were finally releasing a console version.
Global Offensive doesn’t mess around giving the option to jump straight into the action in one of four game modes (which I will go into detail a bit later on) as soon as you start up the game . You can choose to either play online via matchmaking, or play offline with AI controlled bots – the inclusion of bots is a neat addition as it allowed me to have a bit of a practice before playing against extremely skilled players online, although it seems that bots often get stuck on walls and will sometimes just sit there. Gladly, this game also includes a very large “How To Play” section, where you’ll find all the ins and outs of the game.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive feels extremely smooth and plays a lot like many other classic shooters such as Perfect Dark. When I first started playing, the lack of an aim function made the game feel somewhat strange to control and left me feeling exposed to enemy attack. However, I soon got the hang of things and before you knew it was pulling off headshots with ease. There are a number of different guns to use, and as you’d expect, each having its own stats and attributes such as accuracy and fire rate. It’s also worth noting that if you end up taking damage you will not regenerate health until the next round. With a majority of shooters opting for a modern regenerating option it’s refreshing to go back to basics with a simple health bar. Obviously this means it’s usually best to study the maps and work as a team or else risk getting killed immediately.
All game modes use the same main rule. You’re split into two teams of five: Counter-Terrorists and Terrorists. Obviously, the main goal is to defeat the other team, but in certain game modes, you may also be required to complete an objective in order to win. If during a match a player quits, that team member will then become a computer-controlled bot until another player joins. You can also take control of a bot if you’re eliminated, but any points you score will not be awarded to you. It’s a smooth experience and one that doesn’t interrupt the flow of play.
The first game mode on the list is called ‘Arms Race’. This mode is by far my favourite as it’s probably the most fun and usually just results in an all-guns blazing standoff. ‘Arms Race’ is the death match of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – the goal is to be the first person to kill an enemy with the Gold Knife. Each kill you score, will reward you with a new, better firearm until you finally reach the final weapon, the Gold Knife. If you die on this mode, you will instantly respawn and still keep your weapon progress, unless of course, you are killed with the Gold Knife, at which point, the game is over.
The next mode you will see is ‘Demolition’ which . This match type is similar to ‘Arms Race’ in that when you score kills, you are given a new weapon for when you start the next round. To win the round, you have to eliminate all five opposing team members. However, the Terrorist team will have a C4 explosive with them. It’s their goal to plant the C4 in one of two points marked on the map and defend it. If the Counter-Terrorists don’t defuse the bomb in time, the Terrorists will win. This means that if the bomb has been planted, even if all Terrorists have been eliminated, the Counter-Terrorists need to defuse the bomb to win. Unlike the respawning found in ‘Arms Race’, if you’re killed here, you’ll not respawn until the current round has finished. The winner is determined from best out of 20 rounds.
The final two game modes are both very similar to each other. Classic Casual and Classic Competitive each have two variations: ‘Bombing Mission’ and ‘Hostage Mission’. ‘Bombing Mission’ uses the same principals as ‘Demolition’ while ‘Hostage’ requires the Counter-Terrorists to find and escort hostages back to a safe zone. Just like ‘Demolition’, if all five members of a team die, the round will end so running around guns blazing is never a good idea. In a cool twist for both these match types, you will earn money for every single one of your kills. At the start of a round, you can then purchase items with the cash earned such as guns, grenades and armour. It’s a cool feature that gives you a great sense of satisfaction as you feel like you’ve really earned the right to use a shotgun or grenades.
Sadly, there aren’t many maps to choose from and each game mode only uses its own exclusive set of maps – for example, ‘Arms Race’ is only available on two maps. So be prepared to see the same stages fairly often. I would have also liked a bit more variation in the game modes, as they all feel very similar. One thing I do like however is how the match times are balanced out well, so if you only want to play a couple of quick games, ‘Arms Race’ is likely your best bet, but if you want a long session, then ‘Classic Competitive’ is the one to go for.
For a multiplayer focused game, there is still plenty to do such as earning awards for meeting certain goals. Some are your standard “kill so many enemies” but there are more fun ones too such as killing an enemy with your last bullet. With plenty to gather over your play time, completionist should have a good time unlocking as many awards as they can.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive is a really fun and addictive game once you get stuck into it. The lack of variety in maps and game modes is rather disappointing, but with such a silky smooth online shooter experience, you’ll find it hard to stop yourself having just one more match.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive is available now on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and to download for PC now.