For the last 10 years or so I have been playing a couple of deathmatch maps on Counter Strike: Source. I have not been much of a serious CS player, shooting frantically and laughing at the ridiculousness of spawning and seeing your previous body falling in front of you is dumb fun. Yet, a few weeks ago, I finally bought a copy of Counter Strike: Global Offensive (the follow up to CS: Source that came out in 2012) for the PC during Steam’s Summer sale, and I have not stopped playing it since then.
Although the game released about five years ago, the game still has the same simple, pick up and play design of its predecessors: a Counter Terrorist team tries to thwart the Terrorist team from planting and detonating a bomb within a time limit, either team will succeed if the bomb is planted/disarmed, or a team kills off all of the members of it’s opposition within the time limit will win. Simple concept, yet very difficult to accomplish. Each team has different (yet similar) weapons in its arsenal to deploy, all with unique bullet spray and all rendered realistically (even wear and tear!) to match their real life counterparts.
The keyboard and mouse control scheme of CS:GO has not changed much at all since the first iteration of the game, and that is a good thing. The original CS was my first experience playing on a k&m combo, back then it immediately made sense, and still feels as simple and solid as before. It is rare on a console controller for me to pull of a quick head shot on an enemy player, but on this particular control scheme (mouse cursor to aim, “wasd” keys for movement), it becomes a sort of muscle memory.The tight controls allow for faster reaction times and more accurate shots all around, the more I play, the better I have become at shooting.
Over the years, CS has had a washed out semi-realistic approach to its characters and environments, CS:GO does not change that style, which makes it instantly feel familiar but has drastically improved on its graphical capability. It first struck me when (even on my budget PC) the game hit me visual details I had not seen in a game before. An example of this is your character’s gloves, you can see the fading of colors, scratches and general worn-in parts. The same goes for the weapons you purchase in the game, or you pick up from someone’s body, there are new to lightly worn to heavily worn in (and everything in between) fire arms which add to the realism, but also go a long way in making you feel immersed in the game’s rugged world.
Online, CS:GO is as harsh and rough as the environments it portrays. The skill level of players ranges from first timers to hardcore veterans that can shoot a nickle off an oil drum from 100 yards, with a Glock. In quickplay and deathmatch modes the game seems to throw all of these types of players together, while the game does seem to distribute the player skills evenly, it still can lead to some unbalanced gameplay. I have been in matches where one player can pick off half of the opposing team in a couple minutes, due to knowledge of the map, accuracy of shooting, weapon selection, and better use of cover. Though some games can be frustrating, the majority of the matches I have experienced in the last few weeks have resulted in my skills going up significantly, and have been able to move up in ranks at the end of each round. Another thing to note here, is the online community of CS:GO, and how it can very from very chill, laid back, and friendly, to absolute racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, just downright toxic. Although these bad types are not a majority of the players in the game, they are a loud obnoxious bunch that can ruin a top notch gaming experience like CS:GO. Please feel free to mute them, block them and report them. I do not have the time to try to discuss anything with these types of people, like a malignant growth, the best thing to do is just cut it out of your life and live without this bullshit.
There is still much to say about Counter Strike: Global Offensive (the drop boxes with loot that you cannot open unless you purchase a key with real money is absolute garbage) but I have yet to try every single game play mode, this includes the massively popular Competitive mode. Like Counter Strike and Counter Strike: Source, I can already tell I will be playing this for many years to come, the main difference being that it offers much more than its predecessors, and encourages you to try it all. CS:GO is an inexpesive game ($15 as of this writing) so there is really no excuse to not give it a try and learn what so many players have known for many years, this is a fucking great game.