If the shoe fits…
I'll tell you right now that playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive felt like visiting an old friend, a college roommate I'd lost contact with, but whose friendship miraculously picked right back up thanks to some key inside jokes. I played Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source heavily in college.
It was a night class, a student union, and a brotherhood all in one. Bob's Pit, the server I dedicated myself to, started to feel full of close friends, despite all the loathsome, drunken idiots I actually lived with. It was the dorm room I never had, but wanted desperately. Global Offensive teleported me back to those times faster than any Delorean, but also managed to show off a few new tricks.
There's a lot to worry about when it comes to Global Offensive's inclusion of Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers, those teeming masses relegated to twin analog sticks. At PAX Prime this year, we were given the 360 build of the game and free reign over the redesigned Dust map. All of the classic choke-points were present, despite some new tweaking to allow for more balanced play.
Having flanked the enemy in choke-points that I'd normally die in, I'll say with trepidation that these changes were all made with new players in mind. There's a certain finesse to cornering hallways that you could never get as a new player. Veteran players will have to watch their backs as nothing more than a little exploration can net newcomers some quick kills.
The build at PAX mapped crouching to the left trigger and firing to the right. As strange as that may sound, it made sense in console-gamer terms. With no comfortable iron-sights available to 360 and PS3 players, players will need a "natural" solution to their desire for more accurate shooting. Buying weapons at the start of the round involved the Y button and a selection wheel overlay.
The Dust map we played centered around planting the bomb or defusing the bomb. While I had wracked up a fine kill count in the preceding four rounds, the final face-off between CTs and Ts was a defining moment. Having flanked the enemy team, I stood alone as the last CT alive.
Hearing the bomb tick down signaled trouble, but I had equipped a reliable shotgun and started my entry into the new bombsite, moved from its old B site in Dust and Dust 2. I scanned my surroundings as I made my way through courtyard doors and around corners. Not knowing how to check the score off-hand, I couldn't check how many enemies were left, but that wouldn't matter if I didn't defuse the bomb in time. After spotting the device, I took a second to blast a Terrorist hiding behind a crate, camping the site. I immediately moved to defuse. As the bar slowly started to fill, I heard shots from behind me. The terrorist was firing wide and as soon as I felt a bullet grace me, I held the left trigger to crouch down and finished my defusal, winning the round.
With the long line of PAX-goers oohing and awing behind me, I took a moment to wave to the defeated Terrorist squad on the other side. Gloating about a spectacular one-man win felt so natural after all this time, so long-time fans shouldn't worry. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will enter beta this October.