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Thread: Counter Strike Review
06-03-2012, 09:34 PM #1
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- Jun 2012
Counter Strike Review
Never before has a multiplayer game blended all the elements of true competition and sweat-soaked-shirt anxiety as well a Counter-Strike (CS). You probably already know CS as one of the most popular modifications for Half-Life. It's been available for download for over a year, at least in beta form. But unless you've got a super fast Internet connection at your house, you may not have played it yet as the nearly 100 megabyte download may be daunting for those of you not fortunate enough to have a high-speed connection. Thankfully CS has turned into a full-blown retail game and, while the two versions of CS are identical, it certainly worth shelling out $30 for this stellar title...plus you get a few more multiplayer goodies in the retail package to boot.
Let me start off by saying that the Counter-Strike pack is a stand-alone product. You don't need the original Half-Life to play this game. In the retail package you get a full version of CS as well as Team Fortress Classic, Opposing Force multiplayer, and the Wanted, Redemption and Firearms mods. The entire pack is overflowing with multiplayer fun, but, of course, the real focus of the retail release is Counter-Strike.
There is a single-player component to CS and, while it provides a good primer, this mod is all about online action. You basically play a game of cat and mouse, with the mouse being a terrorist group and the cat a squad of counter-terrorists. As a terrorist, you're goal is to plant a bomb at a specific location or hold a group of hostages. As a counter-terrorist, it's your duty to defuse said bomb or rescue the ill-fated hostages. Taking out all players on the opposing side will also assure your victory.
CS is an action lover's dream, with games lasting only four or five minutes (if that in some cases) because, unlike Half-Life, one shot to the head can mean instant death. CS is the perfect mix between fast-action and realistic damage. You can't just absorb bullet after bullet and expect to walk away. Working as a team is a must and, while you're in the game, taking the lone wolf approach will often get you killed...and fast.
It's the team-based tactics that make CS so fun. I can't stress how important it is in this game to act as a team. If your team is on the defensive side you'll all benefit by creating a cohesive strategy. If you team is on the offensive side, you will all benefit by sticking closely together as well. I'm sure you've seen movies or television show demonstrating this "Conga Line" style of infiltration. Well, that's exactly how your team will have to act. This creates a fantastic game balance that will keep you coming back for more. It'll also keep you from thinking about your school work, your job, and interaction with your loved ones, and often work around the IGN offices will be put on hold so we can clog our network with CS.
Visually the game will not disappoint. While the Half-Life engine isn't the prettiest beast out there, there is plenty of animation that creates a smooth look and feel, and the gun models are some of the most realistic looking of any shooter available. The environmental textures look realistic enough and complement the provided camouflage well enough for you to be hidden, but not be invisible. As in real life, the distinguishable difference between good guy and bad guy is a little difficult, but the balance to this is if you can't tell who it is then you probably won't be able to hit him with your gun. Now, if you've purchased sniper rifle, you should have plenty of scope magnification to tell the difference between terrorist or counter-terrorist, but otherwise you may be taking out a team member from afar.
As good as it is, a couple of features of this game really stood out as frustrating... at first. But over a period of time they actually became enhancements to online multiplayer gaming. One feature is buying your weapons at the start of each round. This takes a little getting used to at first since, in most shooters, you just run around picking up weapons at your heart's content. Usually by the time you figured out which guns, grenades, and armor you were going to take in your early games, the bad guys would come over and kill you. But a couple of tries later, after getting the gist of things, you're off in no time. The other feature that took some getting used to was the "wait and watch" feature after you get killed. Once you sustain a lethal injury, you have to wait for the next round to start before you can join in again -- you don't just spawn again and start shooting. This actually adds a ton of anxiety to your efforts of staying alive and completing your objective. But like I mentioned before, the rounds are short, so you shouldn't have to wait too long before you can jump in the action again.
Not surprisingly, the user interface is very Half-Life-esque. Gamers who have played Half-Life or any of the other mods for the game will have no trouble with the menu system. Even for the first time user the interface is easy to use or fumble through. The only thing that even slightly tripped us up in the interface is the "Update" on the server page. First-time users may be confused into thinking this meant update my version of CS. Not true, it actually means update the list of game servers. But the rest of the interface is easy to understand and even easier to navigate.
Just about the only aspect of this game that we could make negative comments about is the sound. Sure, the realistic guns sounds are spot on, we just wish the same amount of attention to detail was given to the rest of the sound in the game. Some levels have lighting and thunder. When the thunder crashes it sounds a little wimpy. We were hoping for some deeper bass and clearer sounding claps from the lightning. In most of the level the user can go inside or out side of buildings, the sound of their footsteps should also change to reflect what type of surface they are walking on. The sound of footsteps getting closer and closer could also have been improved. As it stands now, it's hard to tell how far down the hallway or street a bad guy is from you by sound alone.
So how long does the magic last? Well we've been playing this game for over a year now and we still can't get enough of it. Are we tired of it? Hell no! We're still surprised by how fun this game is. This game actually made some of us squeal like little school-girls after getting sniped from an unexpected angle on high. On the other hand some of us were drawn to stand up and scream obscenities at the monitor. I guess we'll just have to get them next time!
In a nutshell, if you're looking for the next step in online first person shooters, then look no further. CS is fast paced, intense, and satisfying--this game will not disappoint. This is truly one of the best mods for one of the all time greatest first person shooters ever, and the retail package of CS is simply bursting with multiplayer goodness. If you like to play shooters online, get this pack!