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Counter-Strike is one of those iconic games that is still played many years after its release. With the original mod for Half-Life coming out in 1999 and a divisive Source engine update in 2004, Counter-Strike remains one of the premiere competitive multiplayer FPS communities. Now, that community has been given the latest update: Counter-Strike Global Offensive.
If you’re not familiar with Counter-Strike, it’s a shooter in which two teams – terrorist and counter-terrorist – compete in quick-fire rounds to either eliminate the other team or complete objectives like rescuing hostages or blowing up bombs. The gunplay is demanding, with high recoil and high damage necessitating a quick and accurate trigger finger as well as good knowledge of the game’s most popular maps.
Global Offensive does little to change the winning formula, choosing instead to support the community with skill-based matchmaking, built-in leaderboards, awards and achievements that should foster that space between pro teams and casual players.
Global Offensive also adds official support for popular game mode Gun Game, where players have to earn kills with each weapon in the game to progress to the next, with the round ending when a player gets a kill with the golden knife. This mode is called Arms Race in GO, and there’s also a related mode called Demolition that mashes together the gun progression of Gun Game and the standard Bomb Defusal or Hostage Rescue scenarios of the main game to great effect.
Of course, with any engine upgrade comes improved graphics and sound; GO is no exception. The UI has also been improved and optimised for consoles, and not to the detriment of PC players.
Finally, the game includes a few new pieces of content that should make the game a little fresher for veterans of the series. There are eight new weapons, eight new maps and a few new equipment options, but equally notable is the decision to keep all of the most popular maps to allow for the classic matches we’ve come to expect from Counter-Strike.
At just $15 on Steam and similar prices on Xbox 360 and PS3, Counter-Strike Global Offensive is a brilliant update to a quality series. Whether you’ve never played Counter-Strike or it’s a big part of your gaming history, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.