Year of release: 2004
Development House: Valve Software
Publisher: Valve Software
Game score: 92
Replay ability: 5
Learning Curve: 5
Patch version: Dynamic
Modability / Community support: 0
What do you get when you cross a 1998 Mod for Half-Life, which has become the most played online game of all time, with what has the potential to be the most powerful game engine of 2004? A trip to the emergency room suffering from a heart attack.
To be honest pictures show the majority of the changes, since it's quite literally CounterStrike as it always has been, but with a new engine and revamped maps. The comparison would be the long string of "NFL Insert Year Here" games which come out every year on consoles. Nothing new on gameplay, just updated as suited for the year noted on the box. I personally have never been a huge fan of the CounterStrike gameplay, but let's be honest. You dont get game of the year awards when you're not a stand-alone game, nor become the most played game of all time unless you have something which other people love, especially when it's six years out of date graphically and still the most played game online.
Okay so the meat of it is graphics. With that I have some screenshots from one of the most played maps, de_aztec from both CounterStrike 1.6 and CounterStrike: Source. These were unscientifically taken from roughly the same position on the map. The difference is obvious. From cool looking rain effects, to the two APCs in CSS Aztec 3.
Counter Strike 1.6 - Aztec1
Counter Strike: Source - Aztec1
Counter Strike 1.6 - Aztec2
Counter Strike: Source - Aztec2
Counter Strike 1.6 - Aztec3
Counter Strike: Source - Aztec3
But wait, there's more! Let's look at one of my personal favorites, cs_office for some features.
Windows XP! Evil!
Although it has infected the computer itself...Realistic bullet holes depending on object shot. Die Files!
Shooting Out Windows is suprisingly fun.
As is splitting Coffee Tables
Physics just add that extra touch.
So we have ragdolls, better detailing, a good physics engine, some dynamic shadowing and lighting [not fully dynamic but on everything that moves, reducing the CPU load]. One of my screenshots didnt take but attack the computer some more and you can shoot out the ram, CPU, graphics card, hard drives, and sound card. Shoot the keyboard and keys will fly off. The kind of mayhem you would expect from shooting things in an office complex.
There are some sore points though. Those hostages are about 2 feet too tall for humans. Often the physics dont work quite like you would expect them to in the real world, Havok just isnt where it should be yet. Lighting often causes oddities as seen with the very dark half of the broken coffee table. Still some minor bugs rarely ruin the experience when you're running around alone with your glock trying to kill the last four Counter-Terrorists hopefully before they rescue the hostages.
Performance is the best part though. Unless you have one of the really new cards [Radeon X--- class or GeForce6---] you will get AMAZING performance. We'll do some comparisons using my computer
Deus Ex: Invisible War - Average 10fps at 640x480 everything off
Doom3 - Average 15fps at 640x480 everything on low in advanced settings
KOTOR - Average 10fps at 1024x768 default settings
CSS - Average 30fps with everything on high except water at 800x600 using the DirectX 8.1 Codepath.
And to be quite honest, of the four, CSS by far looks the best. The Engine is VERY optimized, to levels where I thought Id have to blow $165 on a new graphics card to get what I'm getting now.
Good stuff: Amazing Graphics, Good Physics Engine, Really Optimized Engine.
Bad stuff: Some Physics Errors, some places where the lowER quality of textures seems out of place with the overall HIGH quality.
Reviewer System Specs:
CPU: AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1333 (1600+)
RAM: 640mb PC133 SDRAM
Video Card: ATI Radeon 9200 128 @ 800x600 No FSAA/AF, DirextX8.1 Codepath
Sound Card and Speakers: Hercules Fortissimo II w/ Quad Surround Speakers