STAFF REVIEW of Counter Strike: Global Offensive (Xbox 360 Arcade)

Friday, September 21, 2012.
by Brent Roberts

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Box art One of the biggest markets in the world of video games is first person shooters. They have been around about as many years as I've been alive, and every one of them has tried to jockey for the top spot. Today we have our Call of Duty, Battlefields, and Halos attempting to not only drain your wallet dry, but ensure that you forget your pets, neglect your job, and never see the sun again. While all this present day flash is fun at first, it's only a matter of time until some annoying prepubescent child takes over the mic screaming obscenities about your family lineage; you can't forget that some of the best first person shooter games come from the past. Oddly enough one of the biggest influences for first person shooters didn't come from this decade, and it wasn't a multi gazillion dollar budget blockbuster either. Instead it was a simple mod for an existing game that was called Counter-Strike that ended up taking the world by storm and holding many gamers hostage to their pc's for many years to come. Since inception, Counter-Strike has sold numerous sequels and millions of copies, but now Valve has decided that the next installment of this iconic series is coming to the Xbox Live Arcade and it aims at sticking to the phrase, those that don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. Well this should work out perfectly then, hopefully.

There also seems to be a trend growing where some companies will listen to the public and release classics that have been practically demanded for years. Some companies don't listen (are you listening Microsoft, where's Killer Instinct 3?) and end up infuriating a large margin of gamers who want this classic legendary gaming experience back again. Then there are the smart companies who listen and have achieved gaming glory by releasing a classic game with a new twist on an original successful formula. Granted yes, Valve has the public practically beating down the doors clamoring for the next Half-Life but for now Valve has released a game which is a remake of what was once heralded as a titan of first person shooters, Counter-Strike: Global Offenike: Global Offensive (CSGO) was launched with the intention of bringing one of the most popular first person shooters to life on consoles at a budget price to allow more gamers an opportunity to experience a piece of video gaming history, but has it worked out? Well for starters almost all the first person shooting glory of the old Counter-Strike returns, and that?s a major plus.

Still heavily focused on team based actions, CSGO almost requires you to communicate with your team to win, and while that's terrific it also lends itself to a massive problem and that is, rogue immaturity. Imagine your team is working on arming or defusing a bomb, you only have a few seconds to make things work and your team is all in position to support you. You think "hey this is going to work out" and that?s when some immature rogue gamer will set off on his quest of independent dominance; leaving your team behind, outnumbered and greatly decreasing your chance for survival. So in a way, you could say that for the best experience get a few other friends together to secure your future.

Other classic qualities also return but this time there are some new twists. For starters in the Ranked tier of game play you still get the old school system of purchasing items, weapons, and more in between each round. This in game currency is won by killing opponents, securing the objectives, or just winning the match. On top of also being ranked, you get the traditional feel of the game by having to put up with friendly fire, so be careful where you aim, you could put someone?s eye out. Another bonus of going Ranked is that CSGO offers gamers a type of skill ranking system to try and balance good players with other good players. There is a new twist though in the form of casual playing. This mode not only turns off the need to spend your cash between rounds, but it will also turn off friendly fire so you can just hold down the trigger on anyone you see. Now this is all very simplistic but then it is over 10 years old and the gaming community has grown accustomed to many new innovations in first person shooters. All of that however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only do you get some of the classic, old school Counter Strike maps that are redone beautifully, but you also get brand new maps as well, the downfall though is that every map allows you to choose between 1 of 2 different game types. Either you're going to be neck deep in the Defusal mode where one team tries to plant and detonate a bomb while another team tries to stop it from going boom. Or you may have to bring out your inner Jack Bauer and save some lives in Hostage Rescue where one team is guarding hostages and it's up to the other team to save them.

There are a few other features involving gameplay that show an arthritic touch on a title that started off over 12 years ago. For starters forget about being precise with your shots, for in CSGO the only weapon that you can aim with a scope is the sniper rifle, everything else is just pray you hit the target. The ONLY way to increase your accuracy in the game is to crouch and that doesn't do well when you have a team of opponents running and jumping all over the map. While you do have a wealth of weaponry at your disposal, not being to aim down the sights is a pretty big drawback given today's standards, but that?s not always a bad thing, and let me show you why. In other blockbuster first person shooters we have a plethora of various bonuses and items that will assist us and can turn the tide of battle in an instant. For instance you can choose to have a massive scope, or a red dot sight, or you can choose between flight or a personal shield. In CSGO however, none of these exist and the game all boils down to how good you are with your thumbs. While not being able to zoom in on your targets with other weapons outside the sniper rifle, you'll find yourself spraying mountains of ammunition while trying to avoid being shot in the face.

If you were or are a fan of the original Counter-Strike, then Valve has gone through great lengths to try and rekindle the spark that was once there with Global Offensive. The classic fit and feel are all there and they have even added just a miniscule amount of content to make the experience feel fresh and new after over 10 years. Sadly though, the marriage between Counter-Strike and the public has gone stale over the past decade and trying to include a very minute amount of new content is sort of like taking your wife of 10 years on a weekend bed and breakfast trip to try and put that spark back in the relationship, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. For 1200 Microsoft points however, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive does come up a bit limp.

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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