Global Offensive does introduce two new modes, titled Arms Race and Demolition, that slightly break away from the more traditional game types. Arms Race is based off the "Gun Game" mod made popular in previous iterations of Counter-Strike, and instead of rescuing hostages or defusing bombs, sets players up in a full on team deathmatch with fast respawn times. Each successful kill moves you up the next tier in a weapon tree, and whichever player is able to reach the final level and score a kill using just the default knife wins the match for their team. It's a blast to play, mostly because instead of being a realistic, structured mode, it just lets you run around and blow off some steam while getting a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of Global Offensive's varied armory.
Demolition, on the other hand, is a more streamlined take on Counter-Strike's classic defuse mode, but with smaller, more enclosed maps and much faster pacing. Similar to Arms Race, successful kills you give you a new weapon or bonus grenades to use in the next round, making you think on your feet how best to use whatever weapon you're awarded, be it a short range submachine gun or a high-powered pistol. It may not have the complexity of the classic bomb defuse mode, but I found it to be just as engaging and for newer players, it's a good way to get pick up the basics of Global Offensive's realistic combat.
When it comes down to it, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may follow the same old formula of gameplay seen in previous versions of Counter-Strike, but it's still a well-rounded tactical shooter. It may not try anything drastically different or revolutionize the series by taking it in a new direction, but there's still enough there to appeal to newbies and hardcore fans alike.
Bottom Line: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the same robust tactical shooter as its predecessors, but it doesn't feel like a full-on sequel.
Recommendation: If you've never played Counter-Strike before, Global Offensive is an excellent intro to the series, but veterans may feel underwhelmed at the lack of new content.
This review is based on the PC version of the game.
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Developer: Valve, Hidden Path Entertainment
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mac OS X
Available from: GameStop(US)