Late to the Party: Counter-Strike

With all these LTTP posts some of you at this point might wonder if I even play video games. As I usually explain, each of these cases has a different reason as to why I haven’t played them. Counter-Strike – the first multiplayer-focused game I’m parachuting into, has had its own barriers to entry over the years.

The thing is, I imagine the longer I kept from trying Counter-Strike the harder it would get. What other online multiplayer game has had this stable a rule set last over multiple console generations? Starting out the latest Gears of War game against people who’ve been playing since the original is one thing, starting a single game on which many players have over a decade of experience is another.

I was pretty much just always afraid that I’d get destroyed the moment I set foot in Counter-Strike. I can’t even maintain a positive kill/death ratio in Modern Warfare, and going into the Counter-Strike Global Offensive free weekend I was already aware of the game’s no respawn and high lethality rules.

Luckily – and if I buy Global Offensive in the future this will be a prime reason, the game includes bots which will at least help me practice the weapons and maps. So by the time I tried to jump into deep water I was at least familiar with the controls and basic rules.

Rule-wise the only game I’ve played even remotely similar to Counter-Strike is the source engine mod NeoTokyo (which recently got greenlit on Steam and should be releasing there this year), which had similar lethality, respawn, and round rules. Like that game, what I appreciate most about Counter-Strike is how the nature of the game itself drives everyone to actually work as a team.

I should put up a disclaimer here revealing that I actually only play Team Deathmatch in Modern Warfare, but in that game I’ve never seen groups of teammates stacked at one entryway firing into another full of the opposing team. I’ve never seen flash and smoke grenades used to actually cover a whole team’s push into a hallway. Things like this make Counter-Strike matches feel a little bit more like actual team-based tactical operations. Like in NeoTokyo, the high lethality and round-based rules instill an actual sense of self-preservation in most of the players which encourages more cautious and defensive tactics.

Adapting to this mentality alone does not get me through matches however. There seems to be a ton of minutia that I just haven’t picked up on yet that’s unique to Counter-Strike. These are things like the effect crouching has on offense and defense, weapon recoil, bullet pierce – things that would probably take me weeks of constant play to get down. That’s the learning curve that has scared me away from Counter-Strike for so long.

I’ve found that the best mode for acclimation is probably Arms Race where each player cycles through every weapon in the game upon each kill. That has to be the most self esteem I’ve had while playing an online shooter, as well as an easy way to learn the weapons and maps aside from bots. When it comes to the main modes though I’m still at a standstill.

I’m actually nearing the point of just giving up on competitive shooters altogether. My main reason for even maintaining an Xbox Live Gold account right now is Gears of War 3’s horde mode – I haven’t so much as touched multiplayer in that game. The reason I play Modern Warfare is because it’s my go-to game for quick gameplay, responsive controls, and modern automatic weaponry. I feel that for me to fully buy into Counter-Strike it would have to dethrone Modern Warfare in those areas.

I probably should’ve predicted this for obvious reasons, but Global Offensive handles ever so similarly to Left 4 Dead 2 – a co-op focused game that doesn’t frustrate me at all, so I could just stick with that. Heck, I haven’t even had the chance to try Team Fortress 2’s Mann vs Machine mode.

Another option is searching for modes in modes in multiplayer games that encourage the kind of cautious, tactical team play you see in Counter-Strike and NeoTokyo. I’ve been told Search and Destroy mode in Call of Duty set to hardcore is a good choice. When I first tried out Halo multiplayer I quickly discovered that my favorite mode was Team SWAT.

Either way, I’m sure now the main problem is the sheer availability of multiplayer gaming compared to how little time I have for them all. Counter-Strike maybe a staple for people reading this, but for me it’s another thing on the pile that has to compete.


  • The PSP and PS2 Persona games (excluding 4 I think) are on sale on PSN now. If you like insanely long JRPGs that actually have good character development, I don’t think you can find many better deals.
  • Vanquish is also up there for $20 now. It’s Gears of War with the speed of Ninja Gaiden.
  • Kind of surprised to see Street Fighter Alpha 2 on GoodOldGames. What other classic games does Capcom have that they happened to release on the PC back in the day?
  • At some point I’m gonna have to get Okami HD. I’m hearing that not only is it 1080p native, its internal framebuffer is actually 4k resolution. I won’t believe that’s possible on the PS3 until I see it.
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One thought on “Late to the Party: Counter-Strike

  1. the picture in header is very nice

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