Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment
System requirements: Windows XP/Vista/Win 7, 3.0 GHz Pentium IV or better CPU, 128 MB graphics card with Pixel Shader 2.0 support, 1 GB RAM (2 GB for Vista/Win 7), DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound device, 3 GB hard-drive space
ESRB rating: Not rated at press time
Release date: Q1 2012
Preview by: Ian Davis
Certain gaming communities are more resistant to change then others. Some, like certain players who seem to always answer certain calls of certain obligations, pile onto the latest annual release as if it were the last doughnut in the precinct. Counterstrike gamers are of a heartier breed. CS has seen two releases since its commercial debut in 2000, each with its own slow-and-steady patch schedule along the way. The changes have been minor, but not always accepted. For reference, CS has a player base so hardcore that they not only know what a tick-rate is, but they also have strong opinions about them. With Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) 2 on the way, Valve seems to be willing to tackle all the tricky classics. Thus, this one is being recast into Counterstrike: Global Offensive. So how can Valve update this FPS pillar without being an iconoclast?
First step: don’t change what isn’t broken. The base game is still Counterstrike. For the uninitiated, that means two teams charging off at each other, one trying to rescue hostages or plant a bomb, while the other prevents said actions, the dead respawning only after the round ends. After that, everybody buys new weapons and ammo with cash they earned in the previous round for their performance, and go at it again. No perks, no kill streaks; just you, a Mountain Dew, and every ounce of nervous skill you can muster. That’s Counterstrike, and that’s not changing.
However, the first to change is the look. Updated to the latest build of Source, CS:GO’s sharp textures and glowing lighting definitely make it stand out as the best-looking Source game yet. CS:GO shows that the venerable old engine still has what it takes to make a top-notch game today.
But graphics aside, the most important part of the engine is how it feels. The CS:GO team has brought in the top players from around the world to make sure that every movement, timing and animation feels like a CS game.
CS:GO isn’t all old news, though. Valve wants to reach out into the gaming world and bestow their gift of manshooters onto everyone, even those who are likely to be shredded moments after stepping into a server. To accommodate those who aren’t FPS Doug without watering down the juice, CS:GO features skill-based matchmaking. Casual mode provides large sums of cash to all players from the onset, letting you jump right in with your favorite firearm from the start.
The largest piece of news is that CS:GO will reach the consoles. The interface has been especially redesigned to accommodate our thumbstick-and-button brethren. The current High Priest of the PC cult has released a decree, stating that this move ought to be viewed as one of “goodwill and charity, so that all gamers might know Holy Balance and their eyes be lifted to a state of True Skill Based Competition.” Further, he added that he hopes that “their addiction to arbitrary leveling systems be broken, that they break the prestige cycle and know true freedom.”
Not convinced yet? As the release date comes closer, Valve is planning an open beta (the closed beta began last November), so you can get some frags under your belt and judge for yourself if CS:GO is worthy of the name. With a soft release date of “sometime in 2012,” rest assured that Counterstrike: Global Offensive will get the same slow-cooking attention that adds that special Valve ingredient, and be released only at the peak of flavor. Go go go!
Sources: Joystiq, Kotaku