Counter-Strike VS. Modern Warfare 2Posted in Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike Source
Counter Strike is the ultimate classic – more modern first person shooters may come and go, often twice in one year with almost undetectable differences, but ninety-five thousand people are playing Counter Strike servers right now (and that’s only counting official servers.) Every moment you spend reading here is instead of dashing for de_dust, which we take as a major compliment, so to make it worth your while we’re comparing the eternal CS against Modern Warfare 2. Which should you play, and which will still survive after another decade?
We’re starting with a bye: to say Modern Warfare 2 wins on graphics is to say an elephant has a slight advantage in a tug-of-war. Only a fool would deny that Infinity Ward has polished the graphics to an incredible photo-realism, especially the weapons, each one of which uses more memory for it’s scuffed surface than an entire Doom server did back in the day.
There may be some slight differences
Whether graphics actually matter is another question entirely. Sure, they’re essential for the XBox-armed frat crowd most companies chase after these days – where a lovingly rendered riot shield is more important than game modes – but many hardcore CS players still sniff at Source servers – preferring the tighter hitboxes of the 1.6 classic and accepting limited graphics for the sake of sharper play. It turns out they’re here to for the game instead of pretty pictures.
Just as Modern Warfare gets the graphics, Counter Strike surges ahead on servers. In their quest for mass-market domination IW crippled MW2, banning players from even touching their precious server controls. This means you’re at the mercy of whatever they feel like letting you play. Which is a little odd considering how you’ve already paid them for the game.
Counter-Strike servers, on the other hand, are more numerous than snowflakes and more varied to boot. The game itself started as a mod and it’s stayed true to that root ever since: there are an incredible array of server styles, game mods from GunGame 5 to insane sniper/knife fights, and an infinity of extra levels to ensure staleness simply doesn’t happen. If you like doing what you’re told, go ahead and buy MW2. If you like actually choosing what to do, Counter-Strike will always be ready.
3. Equipment and Upgrades
This is a more interesting difference: MW2 offers a whole host of perks and upgradeable equipment, allowing you to level up over days or weeks of play and bringing those advantages with you wherever you go. Great fun for the players who’re ahead, but a bit rough on those just starting who have to go up against those with an entire armory on their back. There’s also the issue of glitches and unbalanced items: the average player is helpless against the “Witch” build, a combination of perks which turns one man into an unstoppable lightning fast knife-dispenser, and the Javelin glitch allowed people to suicide bomb the opposing team. This also demonstrated the server attitude of the game: players couldn’t prevent it, and the official servers simply started banning people (because they couldn’t patch their own game fast enough.)
Counter-Strike servers depend on clans and regular players to provide the long term appeal. There are only a few weapons, and you have to save up for each every time you play. This is limits the variety but ensures a purely skill-based playing field every time you log on. On the downside, it just doesn’t have the fist-pumping appeal of achievements which reward long term play. Which approach appeals to you depends on your style.
We’ll end on an equalizer, though the attitudes involved do differ. Modern Warfare 2 deliberately courted controversy – or as they’d call it, free advertising – with their terrorist-massacre “Airport Level.” Counter-Strike is also incredibly famous in terms of “deez games brainwash kids!” idiocy, but only by implication with publicity hungry public officials looking past the actual guns criminals were able to buy and on to any games they may have happened to have at any time.
So which should you play? Both, of course! They’re great games which offer all kinds of amusement, miracles of modern technology which connect you to like-minded gamers across the globe. But if you want to know which one you should run a server for, well: Modern Warfare 2 won’t even allow you to, while Counter-Strike servers are actively encouraged and still supported by legions of fans.