The release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has most competitive CS players hot under the collar as they eagerly anticipate the game picking up as a competitive title and hopefully fusing together the shattered 1.6 and CS:S communities once and for all. One of the major talking points has been whether - and if so, how - Valve will manage to recreate the maps that have served as the battleground for competitive players for the past 10 years. They are the maps that hosted the epic duel between fnatic and Magnitude, which gave birth to the "Shot heard around the world" and which have been used and exploited to such a degree that every crevice of every pixel has been analysed and learned by players who are serious about the game.
People have tried and failed - on most occasions - to create new maps to fit into the competitive scene as they learn that trying to please CS players is an extremely difficult task. Valve face the same problems when porting the maps over to the latest incarnation of the CS series and a community backlash is the last thing they will want to deal with. Until now the only two maps available to beta testers have been de_dust (a map that hasn't been on the competitive cycle for god knows how long) and its brother de_dust2, arguably the most popular map for all Counter-Strikers. The developers have been keen to keep the rest under wraps until the beta begins to grow but thanks to the investigatory skills of one of our many un-named sources we've had a run around on most of the core maps that make up the competitive circuit.
As a special Christmas treat for our lovely users I'm going to be taking a look at dust2 inferno, nuke, train and aztec on each game and highlighting the major differences - or lack of change - before they are released in the closed beta. It's worth keeping in mind that the maps we got hold of are from an earlier build of the beta and they may well have been changed more drastically a la de_dust2, but of course the other scenario is that Valve are completely happy with them and are just holding onto them until the time is right, either way it'll be nice to take a look at what the developers have been up to. Let's start off with the one everyone has the chance to play, de_dust2.
Perhaps the most important is the sand covered desert that has played host to innumerable battles down the years which date back to before the Y2K bug was even a concern. de_dust2 has been around almost as long as Counter-Strike itself and it remains, even to this day, the most played map in competitive play. The reason for its success in the competitive circuit is because of how well balanced it is and unlike other maps such as de_nuke, the sun-covered paradise neither favours the Counter-Terrorist nor the Terrorist side, which in turn throws up some spectacular matches - from 16-1 romps to 16-14 thrillers depending on who is playing who.
It's vital then that they get this one right, messing up the face of competitive CS would prove costly even for Valve. The developers have made a wise decision in touching up the finer details, rather than tearing it down and rebuilding it completely. The B bombsite remains pretty much unchanged save for a couple of boxes being added or moved whilst A is also a carbon-copy of the CS:S A bombsite. The only major difference noticed is that the box on short-A has been lowered to waist height, which makes peeking from behind it incredibly difficult and will make short-A re-takes much more challenging.
Long-A has saw some minor changes to the materials and surrounding buildings but players are still able to play from the same positions they do on CS:S, as they are in middle - with the only real hindrance being the incredible amount of fog and dust when trying to shoot from distance. Another area of the map which has undergone a major revamp is the B tunnels, which now resemble that of an abandoned palace and offer much more cover for the particularly stealthy terrorists among us. The main game-changer on de_dust2 isn't actually anything to do with the rebuilding of the map, it's actually the fact that they have re-added the sky boxes that were removed in an early CS:S patch, meaning many of the flashbangs and smoke grenades that players worked on will now be useless.
I can't see it being to difficult to remove the sky boxes though and once they do de_dust2 should and will remain a very well balanced, and now great looking map.
You can find a gallery of de_dust2 HERE.
We may as well start with what appears to be the showcase map for CS: Global Offensive. de_aztec, although never really popular on CS:S is one of the oldest maps around and has been featured in numerous press releases, trailers and posters advertising the latest CS incarnation. With the graphics set to high and some decent PC specs the map - set in the colourful jungle somewhere in central Mexico - looks nothing short of stunning and it just goes to show how advanced this now rather old engine is as it truly does stand up to the likes of CoD:MW3 and other new titles on the market. Of course, none of you really care what it looks like, you just want to make sure that it's not imbalanced as it was found to be on CS:S and it's actually fun to play.
The map is renowned for being notoriously difficult on the attacking side and although the developers have made some minor changes - a box moved here, a pile of bricks raise there - nothing drastic has been done to alter that. Although it's impossible to tell how it will play in a 5v5 match the choke points remain the same, as do the spawns, as such I can see the map being shunned by competitive players as it was in CS:S and nowadays in 1.6. Still, I don't think the company mind much and as a platform for showcasing the games graphical abilities it's pretty damn good.
You can find a gallery of de_aztec HERE.
Moving on from the sands of de_dust2 we find ourselves in the pristine looking town of de_inferno. The ancient Mediterranean city looks like it hasn't been occupied in years, but hidden in one of the bombsites is enough explosives to take out a city ten times its size. The map was only recently updated on CS:S and although the changes forced teams to make some minor adjustments to their game there was nothing that caused any significant problems, in fact the community asked for more changes to be made. After testing out the map on CS:GO it's clear that Hidden Path were merely waiting to implement the requested changes to this version, rather than ruining the surprise and updating CS:S.
Most of the map remains the same as the latest CS:S version but the lighting is a hell of a lot better and the choke points in middle and apartments seem much more open and free of clutter. Vietnam - the small cubby-hole half way down middle - has been covered by some metal fencing which seems highly penetrable whilst the developers have removed the far side exit from T spawn, as well as the windowed house at the bottom of middle, the position that was widely known as "Beta Window" in the UK scene. This may cause some problems for Terrorists looking to set-up early in the round as many of the positions that are commonplace in CS:S have either been removed or changed slightly, whether it will have a huge impact on play remains to be seen though.
One change which will most definitely impact play is the removal of the archway at the banana bombsite. The pillars and archway have been the cause of untold problems for Terrorists down the years and have played a part in stopping 80% of all banana rushes in their tracks. The area has now been blocked off by a wall close to the bombsite, leaving a small opening behind which could be used to hide and pick off rotators pushing down from the B bombsite. Sadly the car remains at the top of banana which means a solid AWP players will still have a huge advantage when peeking down towards middle, but with the removal of the archway he would be open to a flashbang rush or early peek from an opposition sniper.
That's most of the major changes out of the way and Hidden Path have done a fantastic job in implementing the best parts of both CS:S and 1.6 to the latest update, creating an altogether fresh and challenging map.
You can find a gallery of de_inferno HERE.
This is where the changes get pretty mega and it's no doubt going to create very mixed opinions, however what they are doing is brave and shows that they are looking to improve on the previous Counter-Strike titles, even if it means revamping maps completely. De_Train has always been a "love it or hate it" kind of map which has favoured solid AWP players heavily due to the openness of both bombsites. It's widely accepted that the perfect version of de_train is the one used in CS 1.6, with easy to define trains, wide open alleyways and brightly lit bombsites. On CS:S things are very different and the dark underbelly of the many trains work as perfect camouflage for CT models whilst at the same time protecting them from incoming fire (thanks to the seemingly impenetrable wheels). It makes rushing the outside bombsite an absolute chore and on the same token heading inside isn't much better. Under cover of darkness the entire site is filled with unused carriages which can be hidden under, jumped upon or simply used for cover from oncoming Terrorists.
It's little wonder the map much favours the Counter-Terrorists but by the looks of things that's all about to change. The development team have been smart enough to rip the trains almost directly from 1.6, meaning it's actually possible to see if someone is hiding underneath. At the same time the inside bombsite is much more brightly lit than it is in CS:S which makes hiding much more challenging for the Counter-Terrorists and will mean we're much more likely to see well balanced match-ups on the map that every CS:S player loves to hate. Again though they haven't stopped at just cleaning up the map and making things easier to follow, they have reworked the entire outside bombsite, moving it from the traditional connector-side flatbed to the middle of outside.
Each bombsite is discernible by the large white silo's on top of the smaller flat-loading train carriage. On the outside bombsite the positioning means that it's going to be extremely difficult to get cover from CT connector in order to plant the bomb, but on the other hand that is one of the few places that have clean vision of the site. Inside it's a bit different and only three trains obscure vision of the bombsite - unlike the 8 trains on CS:S. This means that taking control of the bombsite should prove much easier than in CS:S, however holding it and fending off the re-take from the Counter-Terrorists should make for some interesting viewing.
As with de_inferno the map looks much cleaner, with less clutter around to distract players and many more open spaces, which promotes good old fashioned fighting, I can't wait to try it out in match conditions.
You can find a gallery of de_train HERE.
De_Nuke is the last of the core maps that we managed to have a play with and as soon as we connected it was clear that it had undergone more surgery than Katie Price, only Hidden Path seem to be better surgeons than whoever the glamour model hired.. It looks fantastic. The changes can be seen as soon as you leave CT spawn where the old school ramp has been replaced by some steps and a safety barrier - you must always be careful when transporting dangerous chemicals and this plant is full of the unstable nasties those Terrorists plan on blowing up. That appears to be the only part of outside that has been changed on the map save for a few newly positioned boxes.
On turning the corner towards main I felt a twang on my heartstrings though and I beg Hidden Path to rethink their decision that will no doubt have the community up in arms: they have painted "Yellow" white and red - what on earth are we supposed to call it now? The major changes aren't really noticed until you step into the building though and notice that the small boxes that used to occupy the middle of upper bombsite have been replaced.. By two enormous silos. The new additions offer Terrorist instant cover from crows nest when they push out of the hut and will make it incredibly difficult to defend a bomb-plant from nest when it's on the other side.
It also makes defending the upper bombsite a bit of a nightmare for the Counter-Terrorists, however the new silos do offer plenty of cover from flashbangs and bullets when the upper rush does inevitably come. Another cool feature is that both the squeeky door (looking onto upper bombsite) and the window-side door are destructible and when shot through a small gap will appear, offering sight from both sides and throwing up some potentially hilarious exchanges of fire between T and CT's. Ramp remains almost entirely unchanged although it has been redecorated to keep up with modern day FPS titles whilst lobby has undergone a bit of a makeover too.
Bad news for AWP players is that they will no longer be able to pick people through squeeky door to lobby and vice-versa due to the inclusion of three large storage containers, blocking sight of the lobby from squeeky room. Another huge change is that back-steps has been removed, as has the back of the vents at lower and toxic side, this means that the only access points to the lower bombsite are down the vents and through ramp, it also means that when taking back the bombsite the Counter-Terrorists will only have to concentrate on one side of the bombsite, I can already hear the huge sigh of relief from players around the world.
My gut instinct is that, although taking control of the upper bombsite just got a hell of a lot easier and holding it won't take much effort, the changes made to the lower bombsite and back steps heavily favour the CT side. It's going to be interesting to see the newly developed strategies teams can come up with and I'm looking forward to seeing de_nuke more than any other map. Remember to check out the front page of our website for entire galleries of each map, exclusively on Cadred.org.
You can find a gallery of de_nuke HERE.
|Michael Mcghee // Rickeh|
Posted 1 year ago: Mon, 05 Dec 2011 14:41:16 +0000
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