Counter-Strike Xbox Review
If you’re disinterested in PC games you may not of heard of Counter-Strike, one of the most popular online titles that the world has ever seen. Counter-Strike was in fact born from a modification of the seminal Half-Life – later gaining a huge reputation as one of online gaming’s most important titles. Now attempting to make waves on the Xbox after years of PC exclusivity.
The Xbox version of Counter-Strike has had a bit of a facelift, but sadly little has been done to elevate the graphics anything above mediocre. The game is functional enough but is lacking the next-generation polish we have come to expect from our Xbox games. At least the maps are nicely laid out and varied enough to shutout any further blandness, including the likes of castles, banks, deserts, towns and more. In total there are 18 maps, this includes two downloadable areas – with hopefully more to come in the future.
Whether you choose to play as a counter-terrorist or terrorist, objectives are kept clear and simple. Each of the teams has a centric mission that can be played and completed. When playing the Demolition mode for example, the terrorists are able to plant a bomb at one of two specific locations, whilst the counter-terrorists have the ability to defuse the bomb if they are given the chance and plenty of time remaining before an area goes up in smoke. Hostage Rescue on the other hand has the counter-terrorists entering terrorist patch and escorting hostages to a safe area.
Whatever mode you’re playing the objective can be simply wavered if you take out every man in the opposing team using classic death match rules. Completing an objective or doing the aforementioned ‘gunning down all opposition’ will reward you with the win of the round, and then it’s into a fresh round to try and do it all over again. It’s so simple to get to grips with and proves that ancient looks can easily be forgotten when the game takes a hold.
Counter-Strike is more reality-based then other FPS’s that allow you to run in and get shot 100 times and still be somehow standing with 80% of your health still intact, attempting anything like that here will see to a very quick demise. Health depletes rapidly and if you don’t seek out the sanctuary of whatever cover you may find then you’ll not only be a sitting duck but a rather dead one. Strategic play is called upon on every occasion and forgetting to employ such play may see you having to sit around until a round comes to some sort of obvious conclusion, which isn’t particularly enjoyable.
Even the weapons and tools provide you with potential strategic and creative ideas. At the start of each round you are able to purchase your choice of weapon, granted you have the available funds (you can earn extra money by killing foes and winning rounds etc). The game limits you to carrying only a pistol and a heavier weapon such as a machine gun or rifle at one time, which works perfectly fine, furthermore your choices obviously influence the round with how you decide to utilise them. A sniper rifle for example allows you to take out any opposing forces from afar, whilst a machine gun is for much more up close and personal matters. The use of grenades is also paramount to a team’s success – blinding any online foes with smoke or flash bang grenades is quite possibly one of the most satisfying things you can do on Xbox Live.
Primarily a multi-player title without doubt, if you are hooked up to Xbox Live (allowing for up to 10 players simultaneously or 16 on a dedicated server) or are able to use System Link play then Counter-Strike is ideal, otherwise there’s little to recommend for the lone gamer. There isn’t any exclusive single-player missions or story campaign to speak of, which is naturally a major shame. The game remains the same as the multi-player mode, which isn’t quite as fun against AI. What it does manage to do is showcase some very intelligent AI that does very well at measuring up to human behaviour for the most part and it also serves as a good training mode (although there is a proper tutorial present that explains the rules). As clever as it is, nothing is as satisfying as taking out a loud American.
Counter-Strike is a superb multi-player title that is deserving of the huge amount of dedicated players the game has conjured up. For those with a Xbox Live account or System Link play, we highly recommend this as a essential purchase, for anyone else it’s a questionable buy that is only really worth checking out for the astonishing AI.