The lights are on
Valve's new entry in the Counter-Strike series feels very familiar, yet looks a lot better.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will include seven classic maps that feature the traditional bomb diffusion and hostage rescue modes. I played the former for a match and was instantly reminded of how different Counter-Strike is than most of today's shooters. There's no iron sight for most weapons. Deaths come quick and you're dead until the next round. You have to buy weapons between rounds with earned cash. The last entry in the series was in 2004, so the updated graphics bring things up to par with other modern shooters.
But this isn't just an HD remake. The game will also include eight new maps with all-new modes. Unfortunately, Valve isn't talking about these yet, but the team did clue us in on a few other tweaks.
For the first time, Valve will run its own matchmaking to pair players of similar skill. Previously, players had do all of the legwork themselves. There will be two different multiplayer divisions: casual and competitive. Casual is for people just looking for fun. You can chat across teams and follow enemy players on your spectate camera after you die, and you'll always have plenty of cash to spend on guns. Competitive kills all communication between teams and is for the hardcore pros who have been playing for years.
Valve says that this new project allows it to experiment more with maps, rules, and formula than past entries. After all, players who can't stand change can always go back to the old versions. The team knows not to mess with greatness, though. It has only made cosmetic changes to the most popular maps like Dust 2, while tweaking more elements in the relatively unplayed maps to make them more appealing.
Valve plans to have a long beta period starting in October to really fine tune all of the newly incorporated aspects. Global Offensive will be available in early 2012 for PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Players on every platform except Xbox 360 can all connect and battle it out online. Microsoft doesn't want Steam on Xbox Live so those players will be left out of the big party. But we're guessing that there are enough 360 players interested in Counter-Strike to keep the online community thriving for a while.
Be sure to check out the first screens and trailer here.
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