Many gamers have been waiting for a major Counter-Strike : Source update for years and that day has finally come. Although, as with most updates released by Valve, the community has been split down the middle; those who believe the update is a long awaited blessing to keep/bring back users to the game, and those who say this will kill the competitive side of Counter-Strike source, thus making them quit. During this review you will see my opinion of all of the changes that have been put into the beta so far, explanations of what each added feature does. Before I start explaining everything, lets take a look at the change log Valve have provided us with.
* 144 achievements added * New lifetime player stats and summary screens * New match player stats and summary screens * New end of round display with MVP and interesting fact about a player * Updated scoreboard with new icons, visual style, MVP stars, and avatar pictures * New cinematic death camera * New domination and revenge system * Added avatar icons to voice chat, scoreboard, and end of round display * Incorporated many source engine updates
Now that you have a basic understanding of the changes, lets deconstruct these one by one.
The new menu:
There is a new menu which holds your player stats and achievements. At first I had thought it would be a lot like the one in Team Fortress 2, but was I wrong, and I'm glad I was. As you can see, the menu in CSS is far more detailed than any other game they've added achievements and such on. The upper buttons are pretty much self explanatory, the default one shows a summery of all of the menu pages while achievements, mach stats and lifetime stats take you to much more detailed pages showing nearly anything you'd need to know in the history of your past games. The area below it shows some more information of your past games. Your K/D ratio, how many MVP stars you've gotten((I'll tell you more about those later.)) On the far left side of the menu there's another set of basic, yet very useful information. Summary shows things such as how many rounds in total you've played, how many you've won, your accuracy, and well..you get the point. Kill History is pretty self explanatory as well, so I don't see a need to tell you about that. Favorite Weapon shows you what weapon you've used the most over all depending on how many rounds you've fired, how many people you've killed with it and so on. Many people wonder what their best weapon is, this will tell you. Favorite Map is another one that needs no explanation, but just as everything else so far it's very useful. Recent Achievements, one of my favorite things on the Summary page. Unlike with Team Fortress 2 where you have to load up the entire thing full of 100s of achievements, which has caused me lag many times, the most recent ones you've earned are just there for you to look at, including dates showing what day you got them on. Last Match, another very useful feature added into this soon to be update. Remember all those times where you had an awesome match and forgot to screenshot the scoreboard at the end, or just wanted to see detailed information about how you did in a scrim? Those days are now over, with this you can see tons of information based on the last match you played, far more than what you could see with just the old scoreboard. Things such as what team got the most wins, what your personal favorite weapon was, how many kills,deaths,stars you got and some miscellaneous information as well are all available for you at the touch of a button.
144 achievements added
Finally they've released achievements for Counter-Strike source and they've put in a lot. Everything from killing a certain amount of people, to having everyone on your team use the same character. I know a lot of people think achievements in games are stupid, but I personally think they can add to the game. Earning stuff such as achievements in a game just give me more of a reason to play, when I do manage to earn one I end up feeling good about myself, which in turn makes me play the game better. But, back onto the main subject, the page for the achievements is really well done. Instead of the more basic drop down menu seen in TF2 and DOD:S, this one has buttons on the side for each category of achievements, it looks far better to me this way.
New lifetime player stats and summary screens
When Valve decided they were going to have something to track the stats of your games, they certainly didn't leave anything out. To go through every last thing would be insane, but I will run you through the basics. There are weapon stats that show you how many people you've killed and hit with each gun in the game, once again a perfect way to tell you what guns you're good with, and which ones you need to practice on. Special skills shows how many knife fights you've won, your headshots, how many bullets in total you've fired, nade kills and so on. Miscellaneous will show you somewhat..useless information compared to everything else, but none the less it's still interesting. Ever wondered how many times you've used your spray, broken windows, how much money you've made and a few other things? Well, Miscellaneous is where you'll want to look. Map Victories is very self explanatory, has a list of the maps in the game and tells you how many times you've won on each one. Missions & Objectives is once again, self explanatory. Shows you how many bombs you've planted, defused, players killed, hostages rescued.
In my opinion, all of the information here is the most useful out of anything in this menu. Not only will it help new players get better by learning what they need to work on, it will also help the seasoned competitive player find out what their weaknesses are, and work on them.
New match player stats and summary screens
This pretty much gives you the same information that the lifetime player stats does, except for a few little things added in so this post will be rather short. Just like in lifetime player stats, there's weapon stats, special skills, miscellaneous and missions and objectives, map victories has been taken out for obvious reasons. This shows what you've done in your last match, what the Terrorist team has done, and the Counter-Terrorist team. It also shows what server you were on at the time of the match.
New end of round display with MVP and interesting fact about a player
Before I can even start talking about this, I have to explain what the MVP stars are. MVP means Most Valuable Player, each time you get that you get a star. So, if you do the best out of the server during a round, that will pop up and show everyone your name, avatar, and a fact about a random person who played in the round. Such as if someone got killed by a gun while they were trying to knife, if they got flashed, how many kills someone got and so on.This is yet another very good feature in my opinion, you'll always be trying to get this, so you'll end up doing better.
Updated scoreboard with new icons, visual style, MVP stars, and avatar pictures
Even the scoreboard got a makeover in this update, avatars, new icons, MVP stars. I like this new scoreboard, it looks more 'clean' to me than the old one,it matches the new style of steam, not to mention having avatars by our names is nice as well MVP stars show up in a group up to 4, once it reaches 5 it goes back down to one star with a number beside it. So after playing for awhile, you might have 20 MVP stars, but only one will show up.
New cinematic death cameraFrom what I can tell, this has been causing more complaints by the community than any other aspect of the community. Competitive players say it will ruin the competitive aspect of the game. But, that is far from true. As with any Valve game with a death camera, servers can turn it off as they want to, I've even been in a few servers in the beta that have it disabled. Not being a competitive player myself, I really like this addition to CSS, hell, I've always liked deathcams.
New domination and revenge system
Sadly, there's nothing I can write about this because as from what I can tell this isn't active yet. I've gotten achievements for dominating players and getting revenge, but I haven't seen any icons, or little popups.
Added avatar icons to voice chat, scoreboard, and end of round display
Nothing much for me to say on this subject, other than I think it's a good addon. If you've seen any of my other screenshots, you will of seen people's avatars on scoreboards and end of the round messages.
Incorporated many source engine updates
Along with everything else, they finally upgraded the game to The Orange Box engine. Below I will post screenshots of all of the things I have noticed so far that have been changed, there are most likely more but I'm not a detective. Bomb Explosion The game now has a more Team Fortress 2 style explosion, fireballs, dust, smoke goes over a large portion of the map when the bomb explodes. The best feature of all is the sonic boom that erupts from around the bomb when it goes off, the screenshots I took do not do it justice, it looks amazing.
Shadows and reflections: No more of those shitty old school static shadows that would stay in one position and vanish through walls. These are the awesome shadows we've come to love in games like Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2 and so on. Shadows bend around objects like boxes. There are finally player reflections in the water, and the water it's self looks much nicer now as well.
I personally enjoy everything this update is going to bring, from the smallest change they made, up to the biggest. I believe it will bring back players to the game who have long forgotten it, perhaps even bring in new people. While I know many people, including myself have had dreams of Valve adding in new guns and maps, at least this is a sign that they haven't completely forgotten about Counter-Strike Source, and that there may be a chance of more updates in the future.