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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is about maintaining a brand. Following the release of Source, there was a division in the community. While many would move on to Source for it’s revamped visuals and more forgiving mechanics, purists largely stuck with the mechanically tight Counter-Strike 1.6. The hope with Global Offensive is that it might reunite the community, while also making an appeal to a new generation of gamer. The danger is that it could once again fracture the community beyond repair.

Valve have recruited Hidden Path for the task. They’re the right choice. Hidden Path have collaborated with Valve on patches for Source and made a quality crossover between the developers’ games in Defense Grid: You Monster. This is their first stab at their own game in the genre, but they still have those essential blueprints and follow them carefully.

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Global Offensive takes a no-frills approach to the first-person shooter. It is rigidly old-school. It refuses every recent development in the genre in favor of being Counter-Strike. Precision is the thing. Luckily, mouse and keyboard are an option on PS3. This feels like the right way to play a Valve game, while the controller is often too imprecise.

There are a handful of new maps in the Arms Race (Gun Game) and Demo (Reverse Gun Game) modes. Arms Race finds the player killing their way through the entire arsenal, while Demo is a short-ended Defuse mode where the weapons are progressively reduced after every kill, and there is only one bomb site. These modes are the most player friendly, keeping things moving, while also forcing a feel for all the guns. However, Arms Race is a bit aimless and out of place in what’s otherwise a tactically-focused game. And with only a couple maps, it wears thin quickly. Demo is good for small goes and features all of the good new maps.

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Then there are casual and competitive variations of Defuse and Hostage Rescue. And those are pretty self-descriptive and you know how they go. The classic maps return: Dust, Aztec, Italy. It’s easy to forget how well-designed they were and they’re all modernized here, and look nice. Global Offensive runs smoothly and on the most recent version of the Source engine. It’s visually competitive against most FPS at retail.

There are a few new guns, re-balances to existing ones, and enough content to hold a community for awhile, with plenty of awards to unlock and ELO rankings used for matchmaking. Most of the content feels tight and balanced, though there are small changes that will take some adjusting for seasoned players.

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Global Offensive is pure Counter-Strike. Hidden Path have made an inoffensive compromise between the best parts of the old versions. Whether it’ll be the definitive thing is yet to be seen. However, it’s an all-around decent FPS and is likely the most necessary one on PSN.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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