Remember that tiny game? The one by the unknown development studio? I think it was called Valve. They made Full Life or something. There was also Counter Struck. Wait, Counter Strike — that’s the one.

Yes, by now we all know the rags-to-riches story of the world’s favourite competitive shooter. Starting off as a user-developed mod for Half Life, Counter Strike has evolved into a FPS powerhouse. The cream of the crop battle away at LAN tournaments to bring home ear-watering prize pots. Source, the last full release of Counter Strike, accompanied Half Life 2 in 2004. To think it’s been out eight years is a terrifying thought.

With thousands still dropping in to play CS: S every night, it’s no wonder Valve was keen on continuing the franchise. So much so that it recently revealed the follow-up — Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

CS: GO (alongside on PC, XBLA and PSN) will be available in early 2012 for Mac OS X and is being developed by Hidden Path Entertainment. So, what do we know so far?

Counter Strike has always had a loyal following, so fan-service is vital to ensuring the long-term future of any new edition. With the majority of games, recycling content is heavily frowned upon. With Counter Strike, it’s the complete opposite. If de_dust, cs_office and cs_italy were removed, there’d be arms raised and threats given.

Mapping the success

The classic maps (ha! de_tides is nowhere to be seen at the moment) are all included, re-rendered in HD. Inferno, Dust2, Assault — they’re all here. Obviously it’s going to include a selection of new maps (one being set in an airport if the below trailer is to be believed), but those big names are destined to return.

Firepower looks to be the same. Dummy grenades and molotovs will feature, but the load out is similar to Source. That means the Deagle, AWP, M4, AK — those staple killing devices are on track to appear. Would it really be Counter Strike without them?

What else? There’s an aptly named Causal Mode which removes the restriction of money and simplifies the game’s process for people new to the franchise. There’s no tactical buying or the monetary management found in clan matches. Also, there’s no persistent levelling system across either mode — Counter Strike continues to be about skill, dexterity and reactions. This isn’t Call of Duty and it’s pleasing to see.

Gamers unite

Cross platform play will exist between PS3 and PC (no news on Mac) gamers and there’s not going to be any auto-aim for those using a controller. People have long moaned about the advantage of auto-aim, so it’s good to see it removed, even in competitive matches. Obviously some will bemoan Valve, and state that this gives mouse/keyboard an unfair advantage, but it’s not possible to avoid.

Also, Valve has thought hard about the game’s mechanics. For example Chet Faliszek, Valve writer, stated:

“For example, in 1.6, a really good player will know that their first bullet will always be true, and then the bullets form a pattern around the aiming reticule, so really good players will aim low because they know the second bullet will always go up — they do all these things at the drop of a hat without a second thought.”

By thinking about the game on a molecular level, with the above example showing that it knows how the very best players work, it puts it in a good position to continue the high quality.

It might have taken almost a decade, but it’s fantastic to see the series returning. The only question is whether it can survive alongside other popular FPSs.

Source: Gaming Hexus

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