In August this year, Valve announced that they would be releasing a third version of Counter-Strike that was to be cross platform (with it coming to the Xbox 360 Live Arcade) and titled “Global Offensive”. Initial reactions were mixed as many members of the gaming community, and even some “professional enthusiasts”, questioned how well the franchise would translate to consoles. I can say right now, from personal experience, that it will translate extremely well. How do I know this? It won’t be the first version of Counter-Strike to hit the Xbox.
Way back in March 2004 Valve actually released the original Counter-Strike on the original Xbox. Many who had played the game on PC instantly dismissed it though, primarily due to the use of the gamepad as opposed to a mouse and keyboard. However, some people also took to it extremely well, as it delivered a level playing field with very little room for cheating – something that was still a problem at the time on the PC version. I was one such person and played anywhere between 6-18 hours a day (ah, the life of a student!) for a solid eight months until Halo 2 was released. I really can’t see why people are questioning Counter-Strike on a console at all. Halo works on both the PC and Xbox, and the same can be said for Battlefield, Call of Duty and various others.
Some will point towards the slow turning and aiming that you might get with an analog stick, and also whine about customization options. But I would argue that those same people are forgetting that everyone is working in the same conditions and sensitivity is customizable, allowing for some lightning fast movement. I could turn and aim just as fast on the original Xbox version as the average player could on version 1.6 for PC, because I got used to it.
Just in case that’s not enough to convince you, take a look at the proposed format for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on the Xbox 360: a matchmaking system to deliver opposition of equal or similar ability to yourself in 5v5 games of classic Terrorists vs Counter-Terrorists. That sounds awesome. Matchmaking systems (once everything has settled down) work out brilliantly for all involved and from the look of things Valve aren’t looking to mess with their winning formula in terms of gameplay. The only thing that might be considered a negative though, is the limit of 5 players per team – but even that cloud has a silver lining. The larger maps will probably be cropped a little to encourage more action and the smaller teams will make it much easier for clans to get a group online for games or for friends to get together and play without having to deal with outsiders on their team.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will come with a complete graphical overhaul, new maps and weapons and even a couple of new modes including “Arsenal Mode”. Arsenal Mode will essentially be an official release of the extremely popular “Gun Game” mod. In it you will start off with poor equipment and as you kill more people your gear automatically improves, with new weapons being made available to you. It’s a nice touch for console gamers who won’t have access to mods, with a little diversity being thrown in. And if you don’t like it, there are always the classic style bomb defusal games.
I really could defend this move by Valve all day, as I believe it’s been a long time coming, and after speaking to a few old friends I have found that they’re all pumped about it to. With the game being released to Xbox Live Arcade early next year and speculation of it having a price tag in the $20 region, there’ll be little reason not to grab what should be a great remake of an absolutely iconic game.