Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is out now. It’s a brilliant revamp that shows shooters don’t have to be about instant death and depressing confusion. Patrick Garratt’s planting the bomb.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a revelation. Every round ends in “gg”. If someone’s being a prick, they get booted. You don’t walk around perpetually dying unless you’ve put serious time into learning maps, and you actually have to lay bullets on enemies to kill them. The Valve revamp, launched now for PC, Mac and PS3 and hitting 360 later today, does a reasonable job of making CoD culture perfectly unappealing. I can’t stop playing it.
If you’re young, or have succeeded in destroying your short-term memory with bong abuse, you may not remember what Counter-Strike’s about. Two sides, the terrorists and counter-terrorists, are shooting each other to win rounds. In Classic, you can buy weapons at the start of the match. The better you did in the previous round, the more money you have to play with. If you get killed you’re out, and you’re spectating until someone wins. In Arms Race, you get a new weapon every time you kill someone. In Demolition, the terrorists are laying a bomb and the counter-terrorists have to stop them.
And that’s it.
I am not a Counter-Strike expert. The original game has such a fierce reputation as the most hardcore competitive shooter that, stupidly, I didn’t play it. But the ease at which I was up and loving Global Offensive was startling. It feels “fair”. I’ve put some 30 hours into Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer and there are times when I may as well just hand all my kills to the opposing side. It’s brand of hyper-speed insta-kill can make for an exhausting experience. CS: GO, though, is balanced to an absurd degree and fun right the way down to its Desert Eagle and chancy knife kills. Humiliating the other guy in GO isn’t as easy as you’d hope.
The sit-out nature of Classic forces care and teamwork, while Arms Race incessantly injects you with lead heroin, gouging you through the weapons set in a murderous drive for victory. I played 360 Demolition with Valve’s Chet Faliszek in San Francisco this summer; again, it’s just shooter crack. You’re in, you’re shooting, you’re winning and losing, and you’re winning and losing because you’re the winner or the loser. Not because someone else has better gear that you. Or a better internet connection.
You have to shoot people, properly, for a long time, to kill them. The weapons are well-balanced to the point of absurdity, with a full suite of SMGs, assault rifles, shotguns, scoped rifles and pistols all making for a game with mainline appeal and challenging depth, a game in which all people are equal and the only law is gun.
I like FPS. I play it a lot. I play most major shooting games, because I have a Twitter-based attention span and I care very little for “story”. I like to load games, shoot things, then turn them off. I play L4D by myself because it lasts 10 minutes and it’s over when I’m bored. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the fourth game in a series boasting 27 million sales, was made for me. I may not be very good at it, nor will I ever be, and nor do I care. It’s brilliant. Buy this today. It’s a new Valve game for €14. Hit me up on Steam: I’m patlike.