Counter-Strike Source Full + Autoupdater Install v188.8.131.52 (PC/ENG/2012)
English | Platform: PC | Release: September 11, 2012 | Publisher: Valve | Developer: Valve | 2.11 GB
So this is it, the official multiplayer portion of Half-Life 2, version 1.6 of CS given the Source Engine treatment with hi-res textures, detailed character models, more realistic physics and lighting, support for up to 64 players, shiny water effects, hi-poly objects, and a few subtle gameplay tweaks.
For those of you who've been living in a bomb shelter for the last five or six years, Counter-Strike is an insanely popular mod for Half-Life that eventually became a retail product published by Sierra (now part of Vivendi). CS distinguished itself from other multiplayer shooters by implementing realistic damage and weapons, and no respawns. No more blasting away at someone for a solid minute with a plasma rifle.
The gameplay is still essentially the same, with no major tweaks made to the maps, although there are numerous tactical adjustments, such as re-organized stacks of crates and slightly altered spawn locations. The new particle effect system adds a lot of tactical possibilities to the smoke grenade, as does 5.1 surround sound--assuming you can get it to work. There have been many reports of 5.1 not working. I can't get it operating on my work rig, but it's flawless at home, even though the only major difference in the setup is the motherboard. Being able to knock things over is so far just for kicks, except perhaps for the Office map, where there are some filing cabinets that offer handy cover for the terrorists.
I think one of CS's greatest advantages is meticulously designed levels. There are precious few spots where you can safely hide or camp a point. There are always multiple routes, with Aztec being a great example. A terrorist can head through the double doors, or across the bridge, or take the canal--with two ways to get to the canal and two ways to get out. The mapmakers also did a great job of avoiding long sight lines so that the snipers wouldn't be too powerful. To top it off, it's apparently been quite difficult so far to hack the game. People have discovered exploits, with two of them patched within a week and a half of CS:S's release--and you can tell that this level of attention means that it wasn't meant to be a bone to throw to the audience while we waited for HL2. And it means that we can take a look at the game now that a few kinks have been worked out.
However, there are indications that this version of CS:S is not, in fact, final. Attempting to add bots is not only impossible but pops up a message stating that bots aren't available in the beta version. Say wha? It's too bad, too, because a lot of people are being introduced or re-introduced to CS and could probably use a refresher course that didn't involve a lot of time spent roaming around the map with your camera on account of dying early and often.
Because rest assured, you'll be playing against some extremely good players who know all the tricks, like grazing bullets through corners and wood, hopping around corners, cooking grenades, and getting headshots. Getting headshots while using a weapon without a scope is, against these people, a work of art, especially with the pistol. No one lugging around an expensive SAW they just bought wants to get popped by someone with the starter pistol--but it happens. This is another way in which CS differs, even now, from most other multiplayer shooters that give the player near-useless default weapons.
On the other hand, the first map load takes a surprisingly long time. In the game of life, thirty seconds or so is the blink of an eye, but sometimes it takes so long that the match has already started by the time you pop in, meaning you have to wait until the next round starts before you can actually play. This is bad because you have no influence on the outcome of the round, and since the armory costs money, you can get off to a slow start sometimes.
Speaking of the armory, I find myself sticking to the AK-47 as a terrorist, and an M4 as a counter-terrorist. They're just so versatile and relatively inexpensive that there isn't much incentive to get anything exotic. Good rate of fire, damage, and accuracy--can't really complain. The semi-automatic shotgun is fun, but not as consistently useful. The smoke grenades also last a pretty long time, which stifles gunfights for both sides. All in all, though, there are few major problems with CS:S, besides the annoying one that has character models dragging against each other in a way that feels like a string of disorienting lag pockets. That's just got to go.
As it stands, CS:S isn't different enough, in this editor's opinion, to justify a review. At its heart, it is the same engine with a new chassis. Same maps, same weapons, same mechanics from top to bottom, and it doesn't look as though the gameplay is going to see any significant changes. Like, oh, revolvers and mines.
Added a new command "kickall" which kicks all connected clients except for HLTV and the listenserver host if applicable
Fixed a bug that allowed malicious servers to execute restricted console commands on players
Fixed a bug that allowed malicious servers to prevent players from executing console commands
Updated Steam binaries; fixes Linux crash on shutdown or restart