Gaming: Counterstrike

Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network

STARTING life as a mod for Valve Corporations smash hit Half Life; Counter Strike exploded into a phenomenon unto itself and became one the first military based online shooters. It’s still incredibly popular on the professional gaming circuit and is often credited along with StarCraft in helping launch the e-sports movement. The game has gone through several major updates the most recent being Counter Strike: Source released eight years ago. Now Valve has released Global Offensive utilising the same Source engine but has been given a bit of a tweaking and graphical update.

The premise has not been changed since the original, for which long-time players should be glad about. One team fulfils the role of a counter-terrorist force while the other is a motley crew of terrorists. The classic mode is about either team fulfilling a certain objective such as bomb planting for terrorist or hostage rescue for counter-terrorist before their team is wiped out. One of the new modes is Arms Race which is a version of the classic gun game where each kill gains a new weapon. The other Demolition is a hybrid of the two modes but on a much smaller map leading two quick gunfights only seconds after spawn.

A quick word of warning, if you are new to the series prepare to die… a lot. Only Arms Race has re-spawns and you will regularly be shot in the face by someone with hand cannon from the other side of the map. However there is an offline mode where all the players are replaced by bots of varying difficulty which makes excellent practice. There is also a casual version of classic mode where players are given body armour and more cash.

There’s a reason that this series remains so popular after 13 years. The gameplay while unforgiving is deep and rewarding provided you put the effort in. It’s not a game for instant gratification like Call of Duty but Valve has once again proved that venerable series has a lot of life still in it.