The original Counter-Strike in 2000 was one of the most defining first person shooter games, but does this new installment live up to the name? Surprisingly, the Counter-Strike series has always been modest. Unlike modern shooter series that see new installments every year or so, Counter-Strike has seen few new iterations yet still retains its popularity. Not only that, but some people continuously play the older games in the series because they think it was perfect and they’re so adapted to the gameplay. Nevertheless, you can’t have a series without actually producing new games, so the show must go on.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was launched on August 21, 2012, which compares to previous releases in 2000 and 2004. As you can imagine, the announcement of CS:GO was quite the surprise. Even though Counter-Strike:Source from 2004 was aging, it still represented an extraordinarily popular game that people still didn’t mind staying with. CS:GO was in fact initially going to be a port of the PC version of Counter-Strike:Source to the Xbox 360 and PS4 system, but the publisher, Valve, saw this as an opportunity to add features and enhancements to modernize (and monetize) the new game.
However, one would notice that the gameplay of CS:GO is very much the same compared to the previous iterations. There are extra guns but the rest are the same, the maps are the same, and game modes are the same, but as any Counter-Strike player might tell you, that’s exactly how they’d like it. The Counter-Strike series is nostalgic, and also mechanically simple with a high skill ceiling. Anything that deviates from the core gameplay defined in any of its iterations will not be taken kindly.
But to examine it in a world of only itself, CS:GO is still really fun.
Each round, CS:GO players join a team of a maximum of 12 people, with two objectives per team. Terrorist players need either defend the hostages they have control over, or plant a bomb at one of two designated bomb sites. The counter-terrorist players must do the opposite: rescue the hostages or make sure that the bomb sites stay… unbombed. The main objective is either one of these two objectives, based on the map players have joined at the beginning of the match. Each team could also eliminate the entire team to win, invalidating the other team’s objective. Each round, you can choose one of 20+ weapons to buy with “money” that you earn automatically, and by killing your enemies. This rewards taking out enemies from the other team, and also rewards you from not buying the biggest gun in the game if you don’t necessarily need it. This creates a lasting value to the game, since you can approach different situations differently based on which guns and items you choose to (or not to) purchase.
When you want to invite one of your friends to play with, you can easily do so from your friends list to join you in battle, whether they join your friends or your enemies. Professional players join groups or clans to further their knowledge of the game with like-minded individuals who also focus their free time honing their skills on the battlefield.
So after that’s all said, it’s hard to compare CS:GO to the other games in its series, but it’s very easy to compare it to other games in its genre. CS:GO sticks to the fundamentals that have made first person shooter games popular over the past two decades. It sticks to your sense of nostalgia, each Counter-Strike game doesn’t change the whole formula over and over again, Valve got it right with the original Counter-Strike in 2000. CS:GO instead updates the franchise, they modernize the graphics, add new weapons, maps, and game modes, and port it to new platforms. Each new update creates an environment where both seasoned and newbie players can enjoy the game equally, whether they’ve been playing the game for 12 years or they’re just a simple fan of shooters. Counter-Strike doesn’t discriminate, and Counter-Strike will endure.