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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Bringing Counter-Strike to the masses

Valve's near-perfect PC multiplayer shooter hones formula for PS3

With fans chanting "Half-Life 3!" at decibel levels loud enough to drain out a nest of Antlions, Valve have responded in typically unhurried fashion by releasing Portal 2, two Left 4 Dead's, Alien Swarm, DotA and now - sorry, Gordon - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Valve's multiplayer PC shooter has enviable heritage, rated by Braid's Jonathan Blow as one of the most influential games of all time; a shooter so subtle and well-designed, even the texture of the walls affect gameplay. Barring the 2004 remake, this PSN title is the first major entry in the franchise for 12 years.

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GO ignores a decade of first-person progress, with one-shot kills the selling point. A burst from an assault rifle is enough to send you sprawling, making for tense games of brain and firepower - harsh but always fair. In fact, it's watertight. Counter-Strike has been used in the competitive pro-gaming circuit since 2000.

Don't rely on respawns and revives, either. Bread and butter Counter-Strike boils down to assault - terrorist vs counter terrorist. The former tries to plant a bomb, the latter tries to stop them. Bite the bullet and you'll turn spectator, but between-round weapon purchases keep things interesting. Survive and keep your weapon; die and forfeit everything.

COUNTER-LIKE

The barrier for entry is lower in deathmatch, which grants you unlimited lives and split-second respawns to keep the action flowing. To those weaned on unlockable helicopter gunship perks and Warthog-driving, it sounds like basic stuff. But that's the beauty. Take the new Molotov cocktail - done to death in a hundred different games. Here, though, it's literally aflame with tactical potential. Use fire to block routes, fence teams in, and manipulate their movement.

New and returning maps like Nuke, Aztec, Inferno and Italy are built for this sort of strategic planning. Something as simple Valve widening the underpass on Dust drastically alters flow, but in deceptively simple tweaks lie massively meaningful changes.
Global Offensive may not appeal to those shooting fans looking for instant gratification, but what's here - every gun, map and mode - has been tuned to absolute glorious perfection.

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