Counter-Strike GO Will Bring Gamers Back To PC Gaming
Posted on Saturday, February 4 @ 09:37:05 Eastern by Jonathan_Leack
Before the days of Call of Duty and Halo, PC gaming had a tight leash on the first-person shooter genre. Games like Unreal Tournament and Quake housed extremely competitive communities, and their high skill-caps paved the way for e-sports and LAN tournaments where thousands of the coolest people around the world would gather to stare at monitors without moving for hours. Counter-Strike was my game of choice, and I can't think of another game that was as competive, popular, and balanced as it was in its prime. Now that the series is making a comeback this year with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, I couldn't help but wonder just how much of an impact the game will have, and what it can mean for PC gaming's growth.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will not only be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, but it will support competitive cross-platform play for the first time ever in an FPS between the PS3 and PC. You'll finally be able to scream at your friend who's playing with you whether you're on the same platform or not. So you might be thinking, "I'll just go out and get the console version, I don't want to buy a PC!", but not so fast. If you talk to anyone about Counter-Strike and what has made it such a special series, you'll find out that the qualities that made it so great won't translate well onto consoles.
For one, headshots are extremely important in Counter-Strike, and they will also play a huge part in Counter-Strike: GO. Being able to quickly aim at a guy bunnyhopping across Aztec ruins before popping him in the head is what separates the boys and the men. What gives PCs an edge in this regard is that they're played on keyboard and mouse by default which offers a much higher level of precision that analog sticks can't compete with. Now, it's true that the PlayStation 3 version of Counter-Strike: GO will support USB and bluetooth keyboards and mice, but games like Unreal Tournament 3 have offered the option in the past and very few players ever bothered. You're better off just playing at a desk with a PC.
Steam's functionality isn't bad on the PlayStation 3 by any means, but it is noticeably handicapped. The PC version of Steam is full of community and profile options which play a part in games like Counter-Strike feeling even more social and group-oriented. The competitive side of Counter-Strike is fueled by group play where voice chat is practically required, and finding a rival group to play against you and your buddies is the greatest way to enjoy Counter-Strike. Using tools like mIRC to build a legion of players up and play in leagues, scrims, and rated games gives a great sense of reward. Valve knows how bring balance to first-person shooters, unlike Infinity Ward, so if you think you'd ever enjoy playing competitive matches with tons of social options, PC is by far and away your best bet.
Mods are another reason Counter-Strike has remained so popular to this day. Players have made thousands of maps, custom weapon models, player skins, UIs, and more over the years. You can mod all of the players in the game to look like Joe Pesci, turn your knife into an energy drink, and then download a map that has been designed to look exactly like your local Wal-Mart. How can you say no to that? I remember spending hundreds of hours playing kz and surf maps, which were extremely unique sets of levels that incorporated the platforming of Mario and the awesomeness of hair in the 80s. Sure, you can plop down $60 and get a console version and be stuck with what's on the disc, but why do that when you can get the PC version which will let you do whatever you want whenever you want. Not a hard decision.
Lastly, Counter-Strike: GO might not be the next Crysis, but better graphics don't hurt. Consoles are limping along with more than five years of rust while computer hardware is evolving rapidly. If you could choose to play the same game with better graphics, why wouldn't you?
Once the multi-platform competition commences, and console players start getting headshotted through doors and quick-scoped after coming around a corner, reality is going to set-in. Counter-Strike: GO is going to be a very fun and competitive first-person shooter, but the PC experience is going to be drastically better. This among many other reasons is why PC gaming is on the rise, and 2012 will kill the myth that the platform is dying.
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