For the uninitiated, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the newest iteration of the long running Counter-Strike franchise. Initially starting as a mod for the original Half-Life game, Counter-Strike was something of a phenomenon and became a standalone game when Valve bought the rights and hired the team.
CS:GO takes the torch from 2004′s Counter-Strike: Source. For this new iteration, there are obviously a few changes; some light and some rather large. The largest change to have hit the beta so far is the new Casual mode. Casual allows for a far more relaxed experience with every player starting out with Kevlar, a helmet and lots of money. Seriously, you can afford an AWP after about 2 rounds. Casual is currently the only mode supported by the new matchmaking feature, which I am a fan of; less time in menus and more time shooting is always a good thing.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that the UI has been designed to work on consoles with the buy menu now formatted as a series of wheels clearly aimed at our analog stick wielding brothers. This isn’t detrimental however, the team have struck a nice balance between the menus being accessible to both formats.
Some of the old shortcuts still remain: my buying experience is usually just ‘B, F2, B’ which will get you into the menu, buy your previous loadout and get you out of the menu. The numbers for individual weapons have changed, though. For instance, if you’d like to buy the classic Desert Eagle then you’d have to press ‘B, 3, 4′ rather than the ‘B, 1, 4′ that you may be accustomed to.
The classic Counter-Strike experience is still present in Competitive Mode, this is currently only available if you create your own local game though and as such I haven’t had that much experience with it. As far as I can tell however, it’s pretty much the classic game play any long time CS fan loves. In this mode, helmet and kevlar must be purchased and less cash is received at the start of each round.
There is also now a Team Fortress 2-style kill message, showing you who killed you and splashing their name up on screen.
The beta contains two maps at this point in time, the ever present Dust and Dust_2. These iconic maps have been brought up to modern standards with a few minor adjustments meaning that they both feel fresh whilst retaining the qualities that made them the omnipresent icons they are today. The weapon selection is currently also rather limited with each side being restricted to an assault rifle and two snipers (yes, the AWP is still here) and two pistols. There appears to be the full menu of grenades however ranging from frag to smoke and even molotov cocktails for strategic blocking of routes.
Bomb defuse is still the order of the day as far as round mechanics are concerned, yet in my experience it is more common to just wipe out the opposition as to date I have never seen the bomb explode, I have seen it defused though. This is probably the product of overzealous game testers.
Needless to say, I am hotly anticipating any updates that Valve wishes to bestow upon me. Maybe some new maps or some more weapons, please?
Looking for more CS:GO discussion? Check out our podcast where we dive into the CS:GO, Dota 2 and Diablo III betas.