Counter-Strike’s tactically astute mechanics between counter-terrorists (SWAT teams and more who had to rescue hostages and diffuse bombs) versus terrorists who cause the threat in the first place. Premise set, the game’s overwhelming success was down to perfect balancing of sides and maps, a money system through which good play led to advanced weapons and armour, and a system which fiendishly provided the player with one life – die and that was all she wrote until the next round.
How do you redesign a game like Counter-Strike for the current console generation? Simple answer: You don’t. Not to say that Valve have adopted the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it line’ entirely, but have intelligently stuck to the game’s core while expanding the player’s choice by providing a range of game modes.
Don’t worry CS fans, that doesn’t mean that the traditional mode of play and classic maps aren’t in there – in fact Dust, Dust 2, Inferno and more make the transition with only minor changes – but rather that CS now comes with alternative modes, which just might sway you away from the standard earn money, buy better equipment system.
Take the new mode of play we were privy to, which actively punishes the player for a good performance. With a progression cycle of rifle, machinegun, shotgun, pistol and knife, your allotted weapon is governed by your kill ratio and team’s success – an effective balancing act which should provide an even playing field for even the most inept of team.
Then there’s the new assortment of maps – most on the smaller side – which promote rapid, early and brutal flashpoints; Lake, for example, based around a lake house and it’s grounds, is a study in concentrated action. Three avenues of attack reward those who work with team members, while those who crave the odd Rambo one-man army moment should be well serviced too with last man standing scenarios cropping up regularly.
The quintessentials of CS remain however and though fans of the more modern shooters might be confused by the lack of iron sights to assist aim, or the customary wait between rounds say, the gameplay remains all the better for it.
One welcome addition, which might not win over purists, is the ability to go in and control any AI controlled bots currently on your team should you die. Surely a reluctant peace offering to players unused to the ‘die once and your out’ mechanic which few other developers have ever embraced entirely.
Worth the wait? That Counter-Strike is finally coming back is reason enough to celebrate, that it’s coming back at what promises to be a bargain price and in this sort of shape is enough to bring grown men to their knees – we’re just wondering how we’ll manage when the addiction takes hold again.
For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
When: Summer 2012