I’ve decided that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is from one other dimension. It is a game that does not need to exist. PC gamers (1000’s of them, according to SteamGraph ) are perfectly served by Counter-Strike: Source and CS 1.6 , content with the decade-something of tuning and a focus those games have received.

However here’s GO: full of doppelganger Desert Eagles and de_dust déjà vu, quantum-leaping from some parallel timeline whose game industry briefly intersected with ours. Enjoying it is like running into a college crush at the supermarket. You instantly notice differences. Oh, you are married? Your hair looks different. However that experience of reconnecting is nice—they’re largely still the person you admired throughout geology.

In different words, GO’s familiarity helps and hurts. Minor deviations from the CS you would possibly’ve known or beloved are easy to identify. The MP5 is now the MP7, however it lacks the identical clicky report and underdoggy “this is all I can afford, please don’t kill me” personality. The TMP is changed by the MP9. Ragdoll physics don’t persist after dying, curiously. You may’t connect a suppressor to the M4 for some reason.

Especially at long range, it takes a little more effort and squinting than it ought to to inform if I am hitting somebody or not. And counterintuitively, bullet tracers, new in this version of CS, are an unreliable source of feedback. They appear to trail the path of your precise bullet by a few microseconds. With rifles and SMGs, my eyes would wander away from my enemy and crosshairs–what I ought to be watching–and try to interpret the place my bullets were falling primarily based on the slightly-delayed, streaky particle effects. The small upside to tracers is that they mitigate camping a bit.

The adjustments made to current maps are intelligent and careful, though. Cracked glass is more opaque, making it modestly more tough to go on a sniping rampage in areas like cs_office’s essential hall. Adding a stairway to the bottom of de_dust makes the route more viable for Terrorists while retaining that space’s objective of a bottleneck; moving the B bombsite closer to the center of the map discourages CTs from hiding deep in their spawn point.

Considering these smart adjustments to basic maps, it’s puzzling that GO’s “new” mode and the new maps bundled with it are so gosh-darn mediocre. Half of GO’s 16 total maps are new, however they’re all locked to the Arms Race (a rebrand of the well-known community-created mod GunGame) and Demolition (GunGame sans insta-respawn, plus bomb defusal) modes.

After 50 hours logged, I’ve stopped enjoying these modes completely. Within the shadow of Valve’s expertise for mode design (Scavenge in Left four Dead 2, Payload in Team Fortress 2), Arms Race and Demolition are safe, unimaginative, and most of us have played their predecessor. I might’ve beloved to see VIP scenarios revisited. It presents a ton of design headaches (if your VIP is not good, everyone hates them forever), but it’s an expertise that’s absent from fashionable FPSes.

But yeah, the new maps. Aesthetically, they’re likeable. de_bank mirrors the indulgence of preventing round Burger Town in Trendy Warfare. de_lake and de_safehouse let you duel inside a multi-storied cottage and on its surrounding lawn. However tactically, they’re trivial compared to their mum or dad maps. Most of them are compact (de_shorttrain is literally an amputated de_train) and designed to support immediate-motion, meat-grinder gameplay that reminds me more of Call of Duty.

What I’m lamenting, I assume, is that Valve and Hidden Path missed an opportunity to add a new traditional map to the lineup–something that would’ve joined the legendary rotation of Office, Italy, Mud, Dust2, Aztec, Inferno, Nuke and Train. They may’ve tidied-up lesser-known but beloved community maps like cs_estate or cs_crackhouse. Instead, the eight we get feel more like paintball arenas–too fast, relatively fun, but frivolous. They lack the personality, function, or tactical advancedity of their predecessors.

Even with these queryable adjustments and shrug-inspiring new maps, GO produces quintessential Counter-Strike moments. Being the spear-tip of a rush with a P90. Being the last person on your workforce and feeling the glare of your teammates as you try to win the round. The sensation of each kill you make growing the safety of your teammates. Knife fighting for honor. Accidentally blinding your crew with a misguided flashbang and getting everybody killed. Building a rivalry with an AWPer over the course of a match. All of that is preserved.

GO is a $15 ticket to reconnect with these sensations; it retains CS’ spirit as a competitive game pushed by careful techniques, cooperation, and particular person heroics alike. It is still a game about positioning, timing, and, say, thinking critically about how a lot footstep noise you’re generating. GO preserves CS’ purity in that regard–it remains one of the only modern shooters without unlockable content, ironsights, unlockables, or an emphasis on things like secondary firing modes.

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