|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC*|
|Dev: Valve Corporation|
|Pub: Hidden Path Entertainment|
|Release: August 21, 2012|
|Players: 2+ Online|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Intense Violence, Online Interactions|
Valve has obviously spent a good deal of time refining Global Offensive, but some of their decisions are a bit questionable. At its core, Counter-Strike has always been about the map design. Modern Warfare has its vertical maps and fast-paced gameplay, Battlefield has wide-open arenas and vehicle battles, but Counter-Strike is all about the chokepoints, methodical teamwork, and gunplay. This is why it was so quickly adopted by pro gamers.
In CS, teams that are able to hold down the chokepoints win the round, whereas CoD relies heavily on killstreak rewards and ignores chokepoints altogether. So, you can understand why I'm worried about several of the tweaks that the CS:GO team has been making to the maps. The routes in de_inferno, for instance, have been heavily reworked. The sight lines on de_dust and de_dust2 have been drastically changed, and de_nuke has had one route entirely removed. All of these maps had their place in league play, which means that these new tweaks could cause major balance issues once pro competition starts up.
Here's the deal: CS: Go has obviously been tailored to competitive play. Sure, there's a casual mode, but that's not the mode that Valve has been incessantly tweaking and retooling based on user feedback. Between the intricate gunplay and the chokepoint-oriented map design, it's really not meant for free-for-all play. And, even though Global Offensive has a lot of other incredibly intelligent upgrades, I'm worried that the newly redesigned maps are oriented toward casual players, even though the rest of the game isn't.
However, everything that I've written up until now may mean nothing in six months. Valve is taking a classical development approach to CS: GO, which means that work has really only just begun on the title. This game is going to be patched and repatched until the company decides to build another version of CS. Plus, they're genuinely trying to listen to what players actually want from the game this time around.
Last month, Forbes said that Counter-Strike: GO was a "huge leap for the top-selling FPS series." This couldn't be further from the truth. Global Offensive is a slightly upgraded version of CS:S with a few new tweaks and toys. But perhaps CS doesn't actually need much of an upgrade. I mean, when a game is perfect enough to change the industry and garner a decade's worth of nonstop playtime, perhaps the recipe is just right and only needs to be tweaked for every new generation of gamer.
But part of me thinks we're acting a bit like my dad.
Whenever Neil Diamond releases a new record, my dad always buys a copy. It's not that Neil's music is new and exciting; in fact, it's just the opposite. Diamond's music is new enough to be interesting, but familiar enough to stay within his comfort zone. As Neil Diamond grows older, his audience grows smaller and smaller. He'll never have another big hit, because the music industry has moved on without him. The same people who were buying his records thirty years ago are the ones who are buying them now.
Is this what's happening with Counter-Strike? Every time I launched CS:GO this week, I couldn't help buy feel like it was a step backwards in my gaming evolution. It's new, but it's entirely familiar as well. The learning curve is shallow and I know I'm probably going to enjoy it before I even start.
The question itself makes me feel like an old man and part of me feels obligated to answer, but the other parts just want to go play dust_2 for the twelfth year in a row.
I'll cover catwalk.
Date: August 23, 2012