CS 1.6 has a long history of being one of the most popular competitive first-person shooters, and there's a reason for that. Its precedence of skill over RNG (random number generation) has made it a game where high-skill players aren't held back by frustrating mechanics. As such, it has endured the test of time as an eSport title.
But the truth is that the original CS is now 15 years old. While its gameplay isn't necessarily dated, it looks every bit of its age.
CS: GO does exactly what CS 1.6 fans would hope for from a proper installment in the franchise: it adds a fresh coat of paint to gameplay that didn't need more than a few minor adjustments. It may appear to be a totally new beast, but it plays remarkably similar, with recoil control transitioning well between games, and physics feeling largely the same. You can even quick-scope with sniper rifles, something most shooters these days have nerfed with scope delays. If you spent a lot of time in CS 1.6, you'll feel right at home.
Moving things forward.
CS: GO does make some minor adjustments to ensure that it isn't the exact same game as CS 1.6 outside of its visual upgrade. One example of this would be crouch peaking, which previously allowed players to quickly tap crouch to check above crates and other obstacles. Now, if you want to peek over an object you have to commit to a full jump, which produces noise and leaves you much more vulnerable. Also, smokes are now extremely effective, making them a vital ingredient for cover and decoy.
Then there are the new weapons. The previously popular MP5 is gone, now replaced by an MP7 and MP9, both of which serve the role of close range firepower during round two and three, but feel quite different in the hands. In the handgun department, the Five-Seven has been modified to be an effective option for CT, and the newly introduced T counterpart, the Tec-9, is capable of devastation with its 32 round magazine. Meanwhile, the molotov cocktail and incendiary grenade have added costly ($400/$600) options for deterring pressure.
For CS 1.6 veterans such as myself, CS: GO's formula of 80% CS 1.6 and 20% new flavor is a great blend that has not only brought veterans back to the franchise, but made long-time players transition from the old to the new.
The gap in skill between a good and a great player in CS has always been significant. If you have slightly better aim, faster reflexes, and more experience with a map than your foe, the odds are always in your favor. Because of this, for years it's been difficult to match up with and against people of your skill level.
With the introduction of ELO, a calculated skill level assigned to each player in competitive play influenced by its Chess counterpart, it's easier than ever to find a challenging match. As long as you make the effort to ensure that you're playing with and against people of a similar ELO, you're in for a good game. In-fact, five of my last 30 games have resulted in a 15-15 tie.
Competition at the touch of a button.
Back in my day, if you wanted to play a competitive match, you had to install mIRC, and idle in #FindScrim while posting messages with the information related to what sort of match you're looking for, and that was after assembling a five man team.
In CS: GO getting into a match is as easy as deciding what maps you want to play on, and then clicking a button. To think that 10 years ago I would spend most of my time searching for a scrim makes me appreciate it so much more.
There are a couple factors that make matchmaking even more convenient than the inherent simplicity of auto-searching for a match. For one, you can queue solo, or with up to four other players—I suggest queuing with friends to avoid the occasional toxic players. Additionally, it uses your team's overall ELO average to find a similarly skilled group. So, not only do you get into matches far quicker, but they tend to be competitive rather than the blowouts commonly encountered in previous CS games.
Keeping you busy.
In November 2014, Valve added its first content package for CS: GO. It was called Operation Vanguard, and it did wonders for the casual side of the game.
Operation Vanguard offers a variety of missions that are completed in a distinct order. You are tasked with objectives such as killing with a particular weapon, or earning a certain amount of bonus points on an Arms Race map.
The missions take advantage of CS: GO's large library of maps, and new game modes. They also reward players with skins and chests, making them a great option for hardcore and casual players alike.
Taking a note from Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, Valve added skins to CS: GO around a year after release. These skins are merely for vanity, but strangely addictive to collect.
The first time I saw a fully decorated M4A1-S I knew that my bank account was in trouble. Since then, I have spent over a dozen hours completing missions for skin drops, and have invested $20 in buying keys to open chests for random skins, hoping for an ultra rare and valuable knife to trade on the Marketplace.
As much as I've had fun trying to collect my favorite skins for my most used weapons, I've equally enjoyed checking out what others are using. In some cases, the weapons have StatTrak, allowing me to see how many confirmed kills the player has with the weapon.
Overall, skins have added some RPG-esque flair to mix things up a bit without compromising balance.