Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a solid update to a classic shooter.

More update than honest-to-goodness sequel, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive maintains much of what made the original Counter-Strike (and Counter-Strike: Source) so fantastic, while adding a couple of new game modes, both of which were based on user-made mods to the original game. In this update, Counter-Strike continues to enjoy the enthralling gameplay and near-perfect balancing that took it from a cult hit in college dorm rooms to one of the seminal games in the multiplayer first-person shooter genre.

It's a hell of a thing, ending a player's life until the next round starts.

In case you're unfamiliar, Counter-Strike is an entirely multiplayer experience. You can play offline against AI bots, but these are still merely simulating what it's like to play online, rather than really giving you a single-player game. The good news is that this is as good as online team-based shooters get. In the traditional game mode, there are two types of matches and two tiers of play. Casual level is for newer players and removes aspects like friendly fire and the need to purchase armor and ancillary items each round (more on that in a second). Ranked level is the original style of CS, with all the "realism" settings enabled, but it also features a comprehensive skill-based ranking system to try to balance teams and place good players with other good players.

Both of these tiers feature several maps--original CS maps like de_dust are reproduced here and still going strong, mixed in with entirely new maps--and each map is tied to one of two game types. In Defusal, one team (the Terrorists) must plant a bomb at a critical site and defend it until it explodes, while the other team (the Counter-Terrorists) must try to either prevent them from planting it or defuse it before it goes off. The other game type, Hostage Rescue, turns the tables. Here, the Terrorists have taken a group of AI hostages that they must protect until time runs out, while the CTs must assault their location and free the hostages.

You can sport the latest in counter-terrorism beard technology.

One important facet to both of these game modes is that there are multiple short rounds in a match, and after each round you must purchase weapons, armor, grenades, and other equipment using money you earn for killing enemies, winning the round, or doing other important tasks. Thus, as games go on, winning teams tend to have better equipment, while losing teams tend to be worse off. The disadvantage is never insurmountable, but it does give teams an incentive to work, well, as a team. In serious matches, communication and planning are key, because players who die cannot respawn until after a round is over and cannot communicate with living team members.

The traditional CS modes are excellently balanced. Games are fast-paced without being unmanageable, skill is rewarded in both the planning and outfitting stages as well as in battle, and good teamwork typically beats individual skills. Pacing is fantastic, too, because you will generally die at least a few times, giving you time to observe other players' work, review your own mistakes, and plan for the next round during the downtime. Heck, even watching other players go at it can be entertaining in and of itself, as you shout at them to do this or not do that, knowing full well they can't hear you.

If you prefer no downtime, however, the two new game modes that have been added this time around should suit your fancy. Called Arms Race and Demolition, they both remove the classic purchasing mechanic and instead award you with a new weapon, instantaneously, when you make a kill. Depending on server settings, weapon awards generally go up in deadliness from an initial lousy weapon, reach an acme, and then begin to go down in usefulness, usually forcing you at last to use nothing but your knife.

Greeting the hostages and assuring them that everything will be okay is good counter-terrorist etiquette.

Arms Race also removes the downtime of waiting after you die, and plays a lot more like a traditional deathmatch game, with much less in the way of teamwork since each individual is out to finish his slew of weapons as quickly as possible and get the win. Demolition changes this structure, instead challenging you to continue playing a more traditional CS-style game, but with your weapons getting worse and worse with each kill. Both of the new modes are tremendous fun.

No matter which modes you choose to play CS:GO in, however, you'd better be playing with a keyboard and mouse. On the PlayStation 3, playing with a controller is very difficult because CS:GO lacks the hand-holding auto-aim that console FPS players are generally used to, and because many PS3 players will likely be playing with a USB keyboard and mouse, which are both supported by CS:GO. 360 players aren't so lucky, unfortunately, as they're relegated to a controller.

This isn't really a disadvantage, of course, as everyone else on Xbox LIVE is playing with one, too, but you definitely won't be getting the ultimate CS:GO experience playing with thumbsticks and shoulder buttons. Regardless of your OS, you'll appreciate some of the bells and whistles it has appropriated from other Valve games, especially Team Fortress 2. Like in that game, you now have "nemesis" players who can dominate you by killing you consecutively, and you can take screenshots of the moment of your death, should you like to memorialize that kind of stuff.

There are no vehicles in Counter-Strike, so don't bother trying to drive that pickup.

When using a keyboard and mouse, you'll notice the controls are sharp and easily customizable. Unlike the guns in, say, Battlefield, most of CS:GO's guns do not have an aim-down-the-sight feature. There are no vehicles, special weapons, or power-ups, either. You get your gear, learn the maps, and rely on your skills to take you to the finish line. Graphics, while improved from the Source engine, are nothing fancy, and neither is sound--although veteran players will be gratified to hear that many of their favorite guns' sounds are retained from earlier versions (especially the thunderous AWP). CS:GO adds a lot of new guns, too, of various types, and even a new grenade, the incendiary grenade, which can light a small area on fire for a short time, preventing players from passing through without taking damage.

Bottom line, CS:GO adds plenty, tweaks a little, and keeps the best parts of the classic multiplayer FPS. If you're into shooters, team-based gameplay, or just classic games that are updated well, you won't do better at the moment than CS:GO.

The Good
The intense, skill-based combat of Counter-Strike is as enthralling as ever
Low price
New modes put a clever spin on classic Counter-Strike
The Bad
N/A
8.5
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

About the Author

Discussion

4 comments
karnage27
karnage27

Great fun to play,once you get used to it.

asnelenkas
asnelenkas

This game graphics good but counter-strike 1.6 is the best ! :)

incredible52
incredible52

user rating must have been above 8 at least.

 

Monkey2407
Monkey2407

Can't wait to play this! I Loved CS 1.6 & Source I know I'm totally gonna fall in love with this;

Slade968
Slade968

This guy has gotta be the worst reviewer GS has ever hired. Seriously man, GTFO of here. After NS2, I don't see how any employer could hire you. AND you were given the opportunity to redeem yourself with an apology on kotaku which ends up being 2 paragraphs stating some standard company line BS and the next 10 paragraphs you try to justify what you wrote. Really unprofessional and childish...

svbandanaman
svbandanaman

I just wish that Microsoft would allow us to use a mouse and keyboard for this (my PC just broke dammit)!

howie1926
howie1926

I have loved CS since waaay back in the day. I must say I am pretty upset about this title. After waiting this long for a new "counter-strike", I get this. Redone maps, less customization, and shotty hit detection. (360 version) I know they included two new maps, but whats the point if I can't play them in the mode I want to?

SR71halo
SR71halo

If you're "spraying and praying" a mile away, then you're playing it wrong.

inspectercoley
inspectercoley

Great game if not a bit buggy at first. They seem to have fixed a lot of the main issues so far tho. Also not significantly different from CS Source and feels less customisable. This means you get a lot less maps but I guess this is the reason for the £12 price. Also wasn't there supposed to be new weapons?

thezhe
thezhe

Counter terrorist win

MaddenBowler10
MaddenBowler10

I like it. It's certainly not the best online FPS this gen but it's a nice deviation from the usual military FPS we come across these days(Battlefield, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor). I can't see it ever becoming my go-to online game but like I said, it's a nice distraction.

INewIRave
INewIRave

Felt bad, having never been a pc gamer i missed out big time on counterstrike...played the demo on 360 and just got my ass handed to me by anyone who wasnt new to this like myself. Tempted to pick it up and grind till i get good but i have a sneaky suspicion that this game is just too different from console shooters for me to get used to. Doesnt mean the game is bad just very different and with a steep learning curve.

jagdedge124
jagdedge124

I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, but after playing the Demo never playing a Counter Strike game (i'm a console player since the first Atari and Intellivision) and  i can't see how a game like this would appeal to a broader audience.

 

In this day and age it seems we would realize a soldier has to look down the sights of his weapon, aim, and shoot. Not spray and pray from a mile away hoping to hit its target.

 

I guess fans will like it, if that's their thing, but for crying out loud they rebuilt MOH Frontline with Ironsights (PS3).

 

Anyway, a fan favorite, but not at all a mainstream big seller. Just my opinion.

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

It is an amazing game, but I just wish there were more options to customize for the map rotation and what bots can/ can't use and how many per game. I also wish the full amount of maps made the translation into CS:GO. They're missing some of my favs like, de_airfield, de_cobble, and cs_militia. I used to play CS:CZ because it was the best version of 1.6 with more maps and better support for bots/ gun skinz. Now I wish they still had some of those maps and more options for off-line practice. I know that there won't be any mods or custom maps on PS3, but it would have been nice to get all the original maps and off-line server settings. All I can do is hope that Valve somehow makes it possible to make mods/ maps for PS3 or releases fair priced map packs for the missing maps plus new maps. Maybe they could also make gun skins/ new guns for DLC.

ninedot
ninedot

fair criticisms for the most part.. Although, I never had the impression that this game was supposed to be some "honest-to-goodness sequel"... and always knew that this was simply going to try and integrate the great features of CS:Source and CS: 1.6 into a single game to reunite the CS community. So although this is true, I don't this that particular criticism makes sense.

Zulu1Tango
Zulu1Tango

Nice to see CS finally getting some respect and much needed credit. True there are many shooters out there today, far more graphically demanding, with story driven campaign and insane multiplayer blah blah blah...but CS is definitely an original in Shooters. Glad to see it's doing good.

manas_tekkenfan
manas_tekkenfan

Yes,the new grenade can totally ruin campers,and can force the enemy team to come through a different direction.I'm looking forward for jailbreak and zombie mod.

magicalclick
magicalclick

Quick note, the gameplay changes a lot with Incendiary Grenade. It can change from getting rushed or blocking their path.

dallask
dallask

yeah this does look nice

Danzorz88
Danzorz88

 @jagdedge124 In this day and age people also don't respawn if they get shot.

 

Don't bring realism into videogame discussions.

jagdedge124
jagdedge124

 @Danzorz88 I didn't bring "realism" into anything. I'm saying in this day and age it's gonna be tough to sell a game that's outdated.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

 @Danzorz88  @jagdedge124 i have to agree the cs fans, including i, would be very pissed if they added aiming down the sights. i wanted to get this so that i didn't have to do that lol

Danzorz88
Danzorz88

 @jagdedge124You said:

 

"In this day and age it seems we would realize a soldier has to look down the sights of his weapon, aim, and shoot. Not spray and pray from a mile away hoping to hit its target."

 

That is obviously what I was referring to. You made it sound as if you thought that ADS was required, because that's how soldiers fire guns in "real life".

 

I understand what you wanted to say now though, it just did not come across in your initial comment. I meant no disrespect.

 

Although I must say that I disagree with CS:GO being classified as outdated just because it does not have ADS. Quite the contrary actually: If it did have ADS, you could expect a ****storm from the fanbase.

 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • + 3 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • Unix/Linux
    • Xbox 360
    Counter-Strike: Global Offensive features new maps, characters, and weapons, as well as delivers updated versions of the classic CS content.
    7.7
    Average User RatingOut of 742 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
    Developed by:
    Valve Software
    Published by:
    Valve Software, CyberFront
    Genres:
    Shooter, Action, Tactical, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood, Intense Violence