by Zee Salahuddin
reviewed on PC
Mixing the old with the new, cont.
The aptly named Classic Competitive mode enables friendly fire and team collision, and provides certain additional elements such as the ability to buy defusal kits which speed up the disarming process on bombs. The Classic Casual mode removes these enhanced elements, and allows you to focus on the firefights and close-quarters combat. In either, you win money by completing objectives on the map, taking down opponents and wining rounds. This money can be spent to buy better gear for successive rounds. For experienced CS players, this is Counter-Strike in its purest, truest form.
Small improvements, large impact
There are minor tweaks that can be found peppered throughout the game. The UI is slick, the radial purchasing menu much more streamlined and organic. There have been some complaints that this caters more to the Xbox and Playstation crowd, and the PC version should have been designed separately, but having used it extensively, I would say it is an improvement. Some of the ageing guns have been upgraded, such as the MP7 nudging out the MP5. There are some interesting new additions to the players’ arsenal, the most notable of which is the area-engulfing Molotov cocktail, and the knife-replacement Zeus. Some of the oldest, most classic maps have slight modifications to enhance the player experience and provide each side with additional tactical options. There is an Elo ranking system in place, which will evolve and improve over the course of time.
Small criticism, large impact
I share my one gripe with quite a lot of other CS players. Shooters, including the original and Source versions of Counter-Strike, rely on visual cues to enhance the experience, a key element of which is how the players’ bodies respond to bullet impacts. CS:GO lacks in this department. I often find myself firing a lot more rounds into an opponent simply because visually I can’t see the effect of the bullets. It may seem like a small grievance, but it has a fairly large impact.
The Source engine is still being used for the upgraded look, and although the game is smoother, slicker and more detailed than ever before, don’t expect L.A. Noire or Max Payne style realism. The maps, skins and weapons have all been redesigned to give the experience a more visceral, realistic tone, but this isn’t state-of-the-art technology by any stretch of the imagination. This is not to say the game does not look good. The silence before the storm and the chaos that erupts during firefights looks amazing and runs at a smooth 60 frames a second at max settings on my somewhat dated laptop.
You can pick it up, and jump into the fray as soon as your download is finished. It is fast-paced, it is unrelenting, and it is unforgiving. You have only one life in a round, so staying alive is paramount and working together is tantamount to success. Firefights are chaotic, primal affairs, an audio-visual symphony of flying splinters, bullets thudding into concrete, collapsing bodies and bullets being loaded into empty chambers. The endgame is intense, the fear of death looming around every corner, minutes of silent hunting punctuated by a sudden burst of decisive violence.
And then you get to do it all over again.
Optimized experience, better visuals, added modes, innovation without abomination
Shoddy initial matchmaking, lack of prominent impact animations