Wednesday, 12 May 2010

CS:S Beta/Upgrade

Yes i was one of the lucky fucks who got into the beta of this. Ok just to oblige for the stupid CS:S stands for Counter Strike: Source, and it's an online FPS currently owned by valve. The basic principle behind the game is that you play as either terrorists or counter-terrorists and are charged with a challenge. You get a fairly impressive and expansive array of weapons to choose from. But none of this has any bearing in this review since it's old news, and has been reviewed to death and beyond. (Oh and if you don't already have a copy of CS:S and would seriously call yourself a gamer, smack yourself very hard across the face and go buy it).

(here's a link for you to do just that Counter-Strike: Source Via Amazon and here it is on steam CS:S)

Ok the new stuff; Valve got together with Hidden Path and went about bringing the old girl up to date, because yer it's only been 6 years. What I think has happened is the guys at Valve noticed that people are still playing it after so long and decided to throw the community a bone or something. What they gave us was 144 achievementssome source engine upgrades, a revenge/domination system (like you needed another reason to hate someone on this game), lifetime stats and finally some dolling up of the in game stuff.

First on the agenda, the achievements and the new stats, these have been a long time coming and the game has desperately needed them. The achievements themselves are pretty well thought out and everything, with each aspect of the game having some achievement involved with it, for example there is a set to do with bombing and a set to do with hostages (for both teams). They also follow the same basic achievement model, there are a few you can get on the get go, and then some that will take time or skill (luck), and then there are lose that take either a lot of time or a lot of skill (luck).

To mark the changes they've also rolled out a new UI for checking your achievements and stats as you can see above. If I say so my self it's all pretty epic, it looks nice, easy to navigate and it tells me just about what I want to know. The achievements section is just as nice, splitting them into categories and whatnot, you can't hide already achieved ones though, but that'll probably be fixed by the end of the beta. All in all this is exceptional work, and I wish other games like TF2 had something like this.

Next up is the in game stuff and Revenge/Dominations, I'll just start off with the one bad point I have with this section, the MVP system. It's just that under this system you need to win and get the most kills in your team to be awarded it. This may seem pretty fair and standard but imagine it's a 5 v 4 match, and you kill 4 out of the 5 and then get shanked by a noob camper (and you were the last guy on your team) that guy would get the MVP no mater how little damage he did or how many kills he got.

In the myriad of pictures above you'll see the basic aesthetic changes that have been made, they all give it a much more modern feel to the game, and thankfully while they were galavanting off bringing 2010 into the game they left the HUD alone, because that was perfect, portal perfect in fact. You may also notice that it uses my steam name now, as opposed to having to get me to type one into the options.
Now the Dominations system; all I'll say is if you liked it in TF2 you'll like it here. If you didn't, then you'll rage slightly more since it's a bit more of a realistic shooter here (you'll die quicker and more often).

Ok the source engine updates, this was the only part I didn't really notice all that much, I'm sure it's there and I'm glad but if you were to ask me to do direct comparisons from memory I'd be pushed to tell you jack. I guess this is just like having ABS in your car, you don't notice it and you not even sure it's there sometimes but you'd be bollocked if you didn't have it when you needed it.

Beta special

This is a review of a beta so I feel honour bound to mention some of the bugs and faults I've noticed, and there are only really two things I've noticed so far:

1. You can't add bots when creating a server, it says you can and will even let you run through the motions of picking the number of bots and setting their difficulty, but when the game starts low and behold they're nowhere to be found. Another thing is the bots options from the create server section is gone too, this may be down to beta, and I hope it is. I will say you can still add bots via the console so don't worry.

2. Graphical instability, I am 100% prepared to blame this on my craptop, but the graphics on all settings seemed jittery and lagged, I did manage to fix this by turning the DX level to 80 though so who knows.
On a side note the bots seemed to be a bit schizophrenic when it came to difficulty. Sometimes they'd stay still and wait for you to shoot first, next they're firing as they turn the corner like expert bots do.

Ok overall there's some great work here and nothing really to spoil it, and if my above comment didn't make you buy it you really should after this update, it's going to be a hell of a game. Valve and Hidden Path have really kept this game to the high standard that it started with 6 years ago, and I'd love to see what else the combination can do.

I'll give it 5 out of 5 (Really superb work here)