Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
Hidden Path Entertainment
|Release date(s)||NA August 21, 2012
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (abbreviated as CS:GO) is an online tactical and first-person shooter developed by Valve Corporation and Hidden Path Entertainment, who also maintained Counter-Strike: Source after its release. It is the fourth game in the main Counter-Strike franchise.
Counter Strike Global Offensive was released on August 21, 2012, and made available for Microsoft Windows and OS X on Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and a US-only version on PlayStation Network. It features classic content, such as revamped versions of classic maps; as well as brand new maps, characters and game modes. Cross-platform multiplayer was planned between Windows, OS X and PSN players, but was ultimately limited to Windows and OS X because of the differences in update-frequency between systems. The PSN version offers three input control methods, which include using either the DualShock 3 controller, PlayStation Move or USB keyboard/mouse.
Like the previous games in the series, Global Offensive is an objective-based multiplayer first-person shooter. Each player joins either the Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist team and attempts to complete objectives or eliminate the enemy team. The game operates in short rounds that end when all players on one side are dead or a team's objective is completed. For most game modes, once a player dies, they must wait until the round ends to respawn. Players purchase weapons and equipment at the beginning of every round with money awarded based on their performance. Completing objectives or killing enemies earns the player money while negative actions, like killing a teammate or hostage, takes money away from the player. In addition, when a round ends all players receive some amount of money, with players on the winning team receiving substantially more.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive adds new weapons and equipment not seen in previous installments, most notably the firebomb for each side (Molotovs for Terrorists and incendiary grenades for Counter-Terrorists). These temporarily cover a small area in fire, dealing damage to anyone passing through.
Currently, Global Offensive features five game modes for online play:
- Classic Casual and Competitive: Counter-Strike's most well-known game mode, both involving Defuse and Hostage missions. At the start of each round, players can purchase weapons and gear with money earned from various actions, from assisting on kills to completing objectives. Regardless of mission type, a round ends when one team completes an objective, eliminates the other team, or lets the timer run out.
- Defuse: the Terrorists must plant a C4 explosive at one of two designated bombsites; the Counter-Terrorists must prevent the bomb from exploding, either ensuring that the terrorist team does not plant it or defusing it once it is activated.
- Hostage: the Counter-Terrorists must rescue hostages from the Terrorists, and bring them to an extraction point; the Terrorists must prevent the hostages from escaping. If a Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist attempts to kill hostage, they will suffer a heavy cash penalty. An update later changed how Counter-Terrorists rescue hostages: instead of leading them around, players must carry one hostage at a time to the extraction point.
- Arms Race: a deathmatch-based mode where each player is rewarded for each kill with a new weapon, with the first player to get a kill with every weapon in a predetermined set winning the game.
- Demolition: a round-based mode that removes weapon and equipment purchasing, instead rewarding players who manage at least one kill by giving the next weapon in a predetermined set of weapons. After a second kill with that weapon the players are also rewarded a grenade (of a random type) along with their new weapon for the next round.
- Deathmatch (added on November 12, 2012): a mode consisting of 10-minute matches. Players must gain the highest possible score by earning kills with different weapons or desired weapons. The number of points from a kill depend on the weapon. Players may also take advantage of bonus timers for different weapons, using them to score extra points. Like in Arms Race, players automatically respawn after getting killed, but also when they choose to respawn with bonus weapons.
Global Offensive also offers two offline modes: Offline with Bots, which offers the same game modes with AI-controlled bots; and a Weapons Course for inexperienced and veteran players alike.
Global Offensive supports matchmaking and leaderboards for all online game modes, provided by Steam. The provided online service offers the ability to filter by game modes, maps and a built-in Steam friend system. Valve also employs Valve Anti-Cheat, which can automatically remove and ban players from the Valve online network. To match players of similar skill levels for an enjoyable experience, the game uses an Elo rating system. The PC version of Global Offensive also supports private dedicated servers that the player may connect to through the community server menu in-game. These servers may be heavily modified and can be completely different from the base game.
Global Offensive began as a port of Counter-Strike: Source to Xbox Live Arcade by Hidden Path Entertainment. During the development Valve saw the opportunity to turn the port into a full game and expand on Counter-Strike's gameplay. Global Offensive began development in March 2010 and was revealed to the public on August 12, 2011.
The closed beta started on November 30, 2011, and was initially restricted to around ten thousand people who received a key at events Valve attended to showcase Global Offensive. After issues such as client and server stability were addressed the beta was opened up to progressively more and more people (approximately 100,000 beta keys were given out as of July 4, 2012), until the beta became open for anybody to join and play. Before the public beta Valve invited professional Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source players to play-test the game and give feedback.
At E3 2012, Valve announced that Global Offensive would be released August 21, 2012 on all platforms, with an open beta starting roughly a month before that. It was never released on the PlayStation Network in Europe.
The game originally launched with four game modes: Classic Casual and Competitive, Demolition, and Arms Race. At first, CS:GO started with six of the classic Defuse mission maps: Dust, Aztec, Dust II, Nuke, Train, and Inferno (the map Vertigo was added in a later update). The Demolition maps included Bank, Safehouse, Lake, Sugarcane, St. Marc, and Shorttrain. Hostage missions started with two maps—Italy and Office—and later added Assault and Militia. A few important changes to the original Hostage gameplay mechanics include: randomized hostage spawn points, the requirement of having to carry a hostage (instead of having them follow the player), and a rescue kit to shorten pickup time. Lastly, there are now three more modes: Arsenal: Arms Race, Arsenal: Demolition (which combines Defuse and Arms Race) and Deathmatch.
Valve also enabled the Steam Workshop, which allows users to explore and download new maps and custom gameplay created by the Counter-Strike community. In previous versions of Counter-Strike, players had to download maps through third party sites or while attempting to connect to a server. This Workshop is controlled by Valve, and they reserve the right to remove content. Steam Workshop also allows users to discuss things that the community would like to use implemented in future maps. It also lets users follow Authors and see your friend's favorites and their items that they created. Users can rate maps using a five-star system.
A recent update, called "The Arms Deal" update, introduced weapon skins and silenced guns to the game, the latter a community-requested feature since launch. The update features weapon skins and crates that players can obtain at the end of a game, similar to the way items drop in Dota 2. Crates are opened with purchasable keys, similar to the drop system implemented in Team Fortress 2. Another feature is the ability for players to submit their own weapon skins to the Steam Workshop. Popular user skins will have the chance to be included as official skins in future updates.
Valve has also released four 'operations', which act like expansion packs and require players to pay real money to play community made maps on Valve's official servers (this does not affect the map being played on community servers), with the exception of Operation Breakout which doesn't require the player to buy a pass. Each operation only lasts a certain amount of time before a new operation is released, requiring players to buy a new pass. So far, Valve has released Operation Payback, Operation Bravo, Operation Phoenix, and most recently, Operation Breakout.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been met with generally positive reviews from professional critics. Aggregate review website Metacritic assigned the PC version an overall score of 83 out of 100 based on 38 reviews from professional critics.
Evan Lahti from PC Gamer noted that the majority of new official maps in Global Offensive were only for Arms Race or Demolition game modes; while Classic maps were only given "smart adjustments" to minor details. GameSpy's Mike Sharkey pointed out that the game provides very little in the way of new content; and that the Elo rating system seems ineffective, what "with so many new players of various skill levels logging on for the first time this week". Destructoid gave the game a very positive review, awarding it 9.5/10, saying that it "delivers on the promise of a faithful, polished, and better looking Counter-Strike for anyone who wants it."
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