I was raised on a diet of Counter-Strike so it’s no surprise that being able to get some hands on time with Counter-Strike Global Offensive was at the top of the list with this year’s Eurogamer Expo (2011). Thankfully they had the game setup in the ideal setting, a 5v5 match in two rows facing one another with the queue surrounding for pressured spectating.
Sitting down to play as the Terrorists we were on the Counter-Strike classic map 'de_dust' which has been slightly reworked in design (new paths formed to add to the potential strategies) and heavily upgraded in terms of visuals from that of the prior Counter-Strike Source rework. It looks fantastic and is a welcome visual upgrade, but there is no hiding that it’s still the aging Source engine running behind the scenes.
One benefit that using the Source engine has is the precision perfect gameplay fluidity that is common with Valve games, meaning it’s instantly familiar to fans of the earlier titles and stands apart from the Call of Duty clones for newcomers. Demonstrated on the PS3 the controls are somewhat awkward, being very much a precision shooter with high gun recoil it’s often hard to pinpoint your enemy, fire off a few rounds and pinpoint them once again to repeat. The lack of gun sights don’t aid this problem either, although I appreciate the developers for staying true to the classic formula of hip firing.
For those that know the series well understand that burst fire is a requirement and patience key, which upon watching my fellow squad mates rush in with triggers firmly held down seems to have been lost in translation. The game's success depends largely on the matchmaking system and league/clan support paired with it. If they can replicate the strategic team gameplay that made the original so loved and put a stop to the mindless run and gun gameplay that has been instilled by modern shooters, they could be on to a winner.
Being released as an arcade title Counter-Strike Global Offensive stands apart from competing arcade first person shooters and the developers have been careful to upgrade the game whilst not upsetting the large fanbase that the series has currently on the PC platform. Fingers crossed the hands on is just a glimpse of greatness to come, and at the very least it’s going to be a darn sight better than that last Counter-Strike console abomination on the Xbox.