Counter-Strike: Global Offensive review

  • The improved visuals
  • Arms Race mode
  • Traditional shooter mechanics of CS are intact
  • Same old maps
  • No attempt at bringing the series forward
  • The steep learning curve for newcomers

The core elements of the Counter-Strike series haven’t changed much since the original Half-Life mod emerged in 1999. That trend continues with the newest update, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, for better and worse. Though the $15 downloadable title keeps the core of the series’ gameplay alive, preserving the traditional maps, gun mechanics, and game modes, it lacks any innovation the FPS genre has introduced in the past decade and never introduces anything new of its own.

The fact that Counter Strike: GO hasn’t become just another “knock off” of the Call of Duty franchise is reason enough for long time CS players to rejoice, but even they will be disappointed in the lack of fresh content. There are only a few new weapons. Plus, of the sixteen maps, half are recycled from previous installments in the franchise, including Dust, Dust 2, Office, Italy and Aztec. So, why migrate to CS:GO?

For one, the visuals from Counter-Strike Source have gotten an upgrade, providing updated visuals to the old maps and more detailed weapon and character models. In addition to the Hostage Rescue and Bomb Defusal matches, CS:GO adds two new gameplay modes. Sort of. Arms Race is Gun Game with a new name. There’s unlimited respawns and you receive a different weapon after each kill. This is a much faster-paced gameplay mode than the other modes, since it allows you to jump right back into the action after a death rather than having to wait for the next round to start. It’s a nice change of pace for CS:GO, especially if you are new to the series and haven’t adjusted to its more conservative playstyle from modern shooters. 

Domination is a mix of the Bomb Defusal and Arms Race modes. The terrorists can plant a bomb at the bomb site (to which the Counter-Terrorists have to disarm) or either side can eliminate all opposing players to win the match. There are no respawns in a match, so be prepared to spend a lot of time on the spectator screen if you run around with guns blazing. Domination isn't nearly the draw as the other modes are, as you’ll more than likely stick to playing either Bomb Defusal or Arms Race. It’s even difficult to find any Domination matches that are fully populated.

Those that loved the slow-paced, deliberate gameplay of Counter-Strike 1.6 or Source won’t be disappointed by any blasphemous changes to the formula. CS:GO keeps the core mechanics intact, but there are a few nit-picky changes that have been made. For instance, you can no longer screw a silencer onto the M4, and some of the old guns have been exchanged for more up-to-date versions (the MP5 is now the MP7). Also, some maps have had small paths added that open up congested choke points. While the lack of changes can be seen as a positive for long-time CS players, at the same time, it is also GO’s greatest weakness.

Counter-Strike has an incredibly high learning curve for anyone new to the series. Besides a short tutorial that walks you through the basic controls, GO doesn’t provide a real way to ease new players into a match. The majority of players online have extensive experience with the unchanged weapons and maps, so if you are a newcomer, you’ll feel like a guppy in a shark tank.

For the experienced CS player, old tactics work just as well as they did before, but you won’t be developing dramatically different, new strategies for your favorite game modes on the new maps. Bomb Defusal and Hostage Rescue make up the classic game modes, with six maps dedicated to Bomb Defusal and two to Hostage Rescue. CS:GO does add eight new maps, but those are dedicated to Arms Race and Domination. If you were hoping to play the traditional modes in some brand new environments, you’re out of luck.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive takes no chances and it’s hard to tell who it was made for. Source and 1.6 players will feel at home with the tried and true CS mechanics and traditional game modes, but GO gives them few reasons to migrate, other than flashy graphics on a few of the old maps. Conversely, newcomers to the series will find Counter-Strike’s steep learning curve rather discouraging. Essentially, you’re getting most of the same content, including maps, weapons, and gameplay modes that gamers have been playing for over a decade, with only minor changes to a few of them. CS:GO, mechanically, holds up as one of the best shooters you can play, but offers few reasons to move over from the previous versions.

This game was reviewed on PC.

More Info

Release date: Aug 21 2012 - PS3, Xbox 360, PC (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Valve
Developed by: Hidden Path Entertainment, Valve
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Intense Violence


  • reyah - September 30, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    Hello, I just got this game cheap from here: . They have a very good delivery time and I am fully satisfied! Do check it out!
  • Racingcar69 - February 7, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    As an owner of Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Counter Strike: Source, this review has led me straight to the sign up page as to comment on how bad of a job the reviewer has done. The main attraction of Counter Strike: Global Offensive is how the developers have put emphasis on making each kill extremely rewarding. Compared to most modern shooters that makes kills a matter of luck and who shoots first, Global Offensive has truly made itself the needle in the haystack of the first person shooting market. I completely disagree on how the review pointed out the 'steep learning curve' in a negative manner, as this was one of the things that attracted me most about the Counter Strike series. The reward for killing someone or smart plays have drawn me closer to the community as I regularly check on videos of how to improve and steam community pages. As a website that has rated the repetitive and non rewarding 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' a 4 out of 5; I don't find this website completely reliable for my gaming resource.
  • rrffg-rfgh - January 16, 2013 6:36 a.m.

    Plizz key
  • BobsYurUncle - August 28, 2012 11:30 p.m.

    "but offers few reasons to move over from the previous versions." GR should review call of duty map packs. I'd be curious to see how they would stack up against CS GO seeing as how they cost the same.
  • drake-wayne - August 28, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    This game looks cool. I just got a M4 like in the game and they have a bunch of other guns from different games.
  • talleyXIV - August 28, 2012 1:28 p.m.

    A learning curve is not something to dog on a game about. How is that fair? Just because a game is too hard online does not mean it deserves a lower score, that is some bullshit. "OH THIS IS HARD ONLINE, 6!" Fucking ridiculous reviewing. It's like someone who has never played a game trying a game and failing, they get angry and call the game shit. And that is some pretty unprofessional writing.
  • ObliqueZombie - August 28, 2012 4:11 a.m.

    This'll give me a reason to finally play a Counter Strike game for a good length of time. I never had the means to actually play one, so this is pretty awesome to read. The gripes about the same-ness will probably only be a plus for me.
  • jonp1985 - August 28, 2012 3:55 a.m.

    I'd assume the "steep learning curve" comment applies to people who are new to the game when coming up against people who've played it for over a decade. It has a community of skilled players which would make it very unwelcoming for anyone new and unfamiliar with it. I understand you see a similar thing with DOTA.
  • amagasakiseb - August 28, 2012 3:09 a.m.

    Dark Souls had a steep learning curve and so did Ninja Gaiden but they didn't get a 3 out of 5 did they?
  • ObliqueZombie - August 28, 2012 4:08 a.m.

    I don't the steep learning curve is what hurt the game's score. You should've read the review, not just the score.
  • UKGNZoidberg1974 - August 28, 2012 1:37 a.m.

    All three things put in the "You'll Hate" section are positives for me. I'm playing in on the 360 and loving every minute. Having the offline bots acts like a training exercise for newcomers with the different levels of difficulty. My only gripe about it is the way the game automatically fills out teams with bots when I set up private matches with friends. I used to have some fantastic 2 v 2 games on the PC version with my mates. Definitely a 5/5 from me.
  • RaZmataZ - August 28, 2012 1:18 a.m.

    "The steep learning curve for newcomers" It's a ridiculous reason to lower the score. The weapons course and the option to play offline with bots enable a player to get used to the game modes and controls before they jump in online. I agree, for the majority of newcomers to Counter-Strike, playing online will be incredibly difficult for them. When Source came out, I played it for a while and then moved to 1.6. I was finishing maps with scores of 1:9 (K:D), but I continued playing and finally got good enough to switch those numbers around on occasions. Nowadays, too many gamers have this mentality that if they can't "own" from the get go, they give up and bash the game. Part of the fun should be to improve your skills in the game. You should at least feel some sort of accomplishment then. In Call of Duty 4 onwards, you can just jump into it and end the game with decent stats - It's unlikely that you'll do that in any Counter-Strike game. Neither game should be knocked with the direction that they take though. It shouldn't be considered bad that a game requires you to actually learn it before you can become a good player.
  • MostAnticipated - August 28, 2012 12:04 a.m.

    This review makes a lot of sense for the PC community. It is just another update to CS lie Source was. As for the console crowd its great to have any type of CS. I even played it a lot on the original xbox so I've been missing this game for a minute. Glad to see it back.
  • MostAnticipated - August 28, 2012 12:03 a.m.

    This review makes a lot of sense for the PC community. It is just another update to CS lie Source was. As for the console crowd its great to have any type of CS. I even played it a lot on the original xbox so I've been missing this game for a minute. Glad to see it back.
  • MostAnticipated - August 28, 2012 12:01 a.m.

    This review makes a lot of sense for the PC community. It is just another update to CS lie Source was. As for the console crowd its great to have any type of CS. I even played it a lot on the original xbox so I've been missing this game for a minute. Glad to see it back.
  • Reubenguy - August 27, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    hmmm for once I strongly disagree with a Gamesradar review. The only valid point is the lack of new maps etc, steep learning curve and "not bringing the series forward" are ridiculous reasons to give this game a 3/5. As a commenter stated above CS:GO was never meant to be a sequal, only an extremely needed update of the series. I for one find this new flashyness and re use of the "old" (aka tried and tested) CS formula a brilliant idea, and a great use of $15. only $15 ffs
  • meh - August 28, 2012 12:34 a.m.

    Only $15? Fuck that. This is Valve. They should've just charged this for free. You yourself said its just an update. I thought this was Valve, the company that changes, updates, and adds to how the game is played for free? If not, I'm not paying money for a new skin if nothing's new.
  • SpiritTemple - August 28, 2012 1:35 a.m.

    Complaining about $15 for a game? Lol have fun at school tomorrow kiddo.

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

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