Rahul is a video game addict who can't get enough of Battle Royales. You can find him skulking around in PUBG or Fornite.
Valve’s initial foray into the gaming industry was in the form of Half-Life, a ground-breaking, story-driven game that laid the foundation for many modern titles.
Half-Life was easily moddable with a great focus on the community aspect of gaming. It was the spawn of many great community-created servers and standalone games, the most pertinent of which was Counter-Strike. It was so good, in fact, that Valve bought the rights to the game and continued to develop it themselves.
Counter-Strike triggered many people’s obsession with gaming, and despite its age, it still enjoys an impressively lively player base. It frequently tops the Steam charts and maintains a highly-regarded Esports scene.
That being said, Valve’s latest entry to the series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, was released a decade ago, and it’s fair to say that gamers are anxiously anticipating a new release. To quench that thirst for something new but familiar, I’ve compiled a list of similar games to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the hopes that you find your gaming fix.
Games Like CSGO
- Insurgency Sandstorm
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Seige
- Team Fortress 2
- Black Squad
- Escape From Tarkov
- Halo Infinite
- Battlefield 5
Developed by Riot Games, the people behind League of Legends, Valorant mimics the gameplay of Counter-Strike to the dot, albeit with a few added twists. The game sports a simplistic and cartoonish look with little focus on realism, and the art style is highly reminiscent of League of Legends.
Immediately upon starting a game, you begin to notice the stark differences between Valorant and CSGO. In Valorant, you get to choose a ‘Hero’ from a selection of playable characters, each with different special abilities and characteristics.
Speaking of heroes, the game offers four genres of characters, each with its unique specialties. As a team, you need to coordinate and try to have at least one of each so as to not be disadvantaged.
Valorant also offers a set of game modes to play, each with unique gameplay and objectives that set it apart from the rest. To mention some, 'Unrated' and 'Competitive' are essentially the same as CSGO’s casual and competitive game modes. On the other hand, 'Spike Rush' is a short, fast-paced version of the standard game mode with more power-ups and special abilities. If you’re coming on the heels of CSGO, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with the game and its intricacies before you can reach the same skill level.
Not long ago after its launch, Riot Games quickly set up multiple high-status Esports events for the game, and unsurprisingly, it caught traction rather quickly. Several well-renowned Esports athletes jumped ship from their respective games to join Valorant’s Esports scene, which now boasts viewing figures that rival CSGO’s.
In essence, Riot Games played their cards to absolute perfection, teasing the game before its name had even been made public. Several marketing strategies and deals with high-profile streamers and Counter-Strike content creators saw Valorant become a focal point among gamers.
2. Insurgency Sandstorm
This game’s predecessor, Insurgency, was built using Valve’s Source engine, the same engine used to make Counter-Strike. So, people were quick to draw comparisons between the two titles. However, despite both games being tactical shooters, Insurgency was poles apart from CSGO, and its Unreal Engine 4 successor is no different.
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Insurgency: Sandstorm is a tactical first-person shooter with an utmost focus on realism and strategic combat. The level design, sound design, atmosphere, graphics, and fluid animations significantly add to the game’s unmatched realism. Plus, the heads-up display is distinctly minimal, lacking a health bar, ammunition counter, or minimap.
The unforgiving gameplay might be a deterrent for some but for many, it is quite the opposite. The growing player counts pay dividends to the game’s unique gameplay and realistic interpretation of tactical shooters.
Unlike CSGO, Insurgency: Sandstorm is available on both current and new-gen consoles and PC.
To sum up, Insurgency: Sandstorm is akin to Counter-Strike in many aspects. However, the overly realistic approach and wide-open maps mean that it effectively sets itself apart from CSGO. If you're looking for a viable alternative to CSGO, look no further.
3. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
As CSGO’s oldest and fiercest competitor prior to Valorant, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege enjoys a healthy number of active monthly players and a lucrative Esports scene, with many well-known Esports athletes taking part.
Unlike Valorant, this game had quite the rough start, with several criticisms regarding the lack of content and unpolished progression system. Eventually, Ubisoft reacted and started dishing out updates and free downloadable content that saw Rainbow Six Siege become a household name among tactical shooters.
You’re presented with two teams with separate objectives. As of the time of writing, Siege offers three game modes — 'Secure Area', 'Rescue Hostage', and 'Bomb'. The last two are identical to CSGO’s two original game modes, whilst 'Secure Area' is more akin to Call of Duty’s 'Control' mode.
The ever-growing list of Siege's Operators offers players plenty of replayability, each with their own roles and equipment, allowing for a new element of teamwork and coordination.
Additionally, the fast-paced nature of the gunplay allows for quick and easy-to-digest rounds without any compromises on the strategic aspect of the game. Graphics-wise, it’s no surprise that Rainbow Six Siege sports a more modern and polished look than Valve’s offering.
Again, like Insurgency: Sandstorm, this game is available on both current and new-gen consoles, and, of course, PC. It would be remiss not to give Rainbow Six Siege a try, especially if you’re a fan of CSGO as it’s the closest you’ll get to Counter-Strike-like gameplay whilst enjoying something new.
4. Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 is another of Valve’s offerings, the successor to the original Team Fortress mod for Quake. Despite the game’s age, it still holds up quite well with modern games, thanks to its addictive gameplay and charming art style.
Team Fortress 2 is pretty similar to Counter-Strike: Source, primarily because both the games are powered by the same engine. Whilst the technical nuances of the game are by no means comparable to CSGO’s, it still demands strategy and teamwork.
On the mention of teamwork, Team Fortress 2 offers a broad range of playable characters, each, part of a specific class and equipped with individual skills, abilities, and weapons. Surprisingly, the game has a fairly sought-after Esports scene, with multiple leagues and lucrative prizes.
TF 2 went free-to-play in 2011, which led to a massive increase in revenue for Valve. On top of that, the addition of a competitive game mode that pits players against others with similar skill levels only added to the value of the game and demonstrated Valve’s commitment to maintaining Team Fortress 2 and equipping it with all that is required to survive in the modern competitive gaming scene.
Ultimately, Team Fortress 2 is a polished, fun-to-play game with plenty of similarities to CSGO and one that is universally accepted as the spawn or inspiration for popular games like Overwatch.
5. Black Squad
Previously known as Viper Circle, Black Squad is a tactical first-person shooter that was released a year after Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game shares many gameplay elements with CSGO and, at one point, even looked to rival it.
The game is strategy-oriented across all five game modes, TDM, Demolition, Assassination and Destruction. Teamwork is paramount to the enjoyment of the game as it’s a necessity to reign victorious over the opposing team.
One unique facet of Black Squad is the custom community-made game modes hosted on the game servers, which are greatly reminiscent of Counter-Strike and Half-Life’s community-hosted servers. This significantly increases the game’s lifespan and sustains a fresh feel to the game every time you play it.
Black Squad takes inspiration from many first-person shooters that came before it. It includes the ability to deploy Call of Duty like airstrikes with artillery support within a Counter-Strike kindred game mode and setting.
The game’s attempts to dethrone CSGO were unsuccessful, but not for the lack of trying. The game itself is a fairly decent competitor, packed full of features, maps and weapons. But despite their best efforts and extra exposure from the former CSGO Esports player Shroud, it just wasn’t to be.
Irrespective of their status in comparison to CSGO, Black Squad remains a very competent FPS game with great value on offer. The game is available to the player at no additional cost. So, should you be looking for a Counter-Strike-like game, I recommend that you add Black Squad to your library for free and give it a run.
Initially launched in 2009, BlackShot started as a casual first-person shooter, mostly targeting gamers who weren’t too keen on Call of Duty’s creative direction at the time. But it has since received countless updates and overhauls to both its gameplay and its looks, making it a fierce contender and viable choice for many competitive gamers.
Despite the game’s ancient release date, the graphics on offer hold up exceptionally well to the current industry standard. All thanks to the tremendous work from the developers over the years to maintain a consistent frequency of updates.
The game’s updates brought more than just visual improvements, with dozens of additional maps, new game modes, new playable characters, and a remarkable arsenal of weapons, both old, new, and futuristic.
BlackShot tries to set itself apart from other FPS games via unique concepts and game modes. 'Throwing', one of its peculiar modes, for instance, limits players to melee weapons and throwables, further emphasising the need for perfect aim and reflexes. Similarly, 'Running Man', another mode exclusive to BlackShot, sees players frantically race towards the cash bag and then collectively hunt the possessor.
To add to the positives, the game is free-to-play, albeit with an ungodly focus on microtransactions and a desire to shill you out for every last penny —a deal-breaker for some players. Still, the game enjoys a lively player base with short wait times, irrespective of the game mode.
Powered by Crytek’s CryEngine, Warface is another free-to-play addition to the list. Developed by the team behind the Crysis series, the critically acclaimed PC-melting FPS, Warface falls a little short of steep expectations at times.
Despite the game’s age, however, Warface looks captivatingly good, thanks to the continuous updates and the timelessness of the CryEngine. A flurry of new weapons and modes makes their way into the game consistently, keeping the game feeling fresh.
On the topic of game modes, Warface features both casual and competitive game modes, in order to cater to as many potential players as possible. Teamwork is a common factor between all game modes on Warface, much like any tactical first-person shooter. The inclusion of different classed characters, with different abilities and roles, further emphasizes the importance of teamwork and coordination.
In addition, Warface boasts unique game mechanics, such as buddy climbing and assisting, allowing you to scale high structures and push heavy objects with the aid of your teammates. Mechanics like these grant players more room for creative approaches to certain situations.
Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of Warface's weapons tier system as it renders certain weapons of the same class more effective than others and effectively promotes the use of microtransactions.
Despite its shortcomings, Warface is a well-optimized shooter like CSGO. Most people should have no issue running this game on their computers.
Developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the same people behind Left 4 Dead, Evolve is another entry built on the CryEngine. Evolve is a co-op first-person shooter that takes great inspiration from Left 4 Dead—something that's dead apparent in its heavy focus on teamwork and strategy. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
While Evolve is visually more appealing than Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it holds no candle to CSGO’s customizations and skins offerings.
Evolve pits two teams of Hunters and Monsters against each other. The hunters have to work together to complete certain objectives, whilst the monsters do their best to hamper their progress. Each team enjoys a set of characteristics and abilities that aid them in achieving victory. Players on the monsters’ team have a choice of five characters to choose from, each with distinct abilities and special attacks, whilst those on the hunters’ team get to choose from 24 characters out of 4 different classes, each with abilities and roles that are exclusive to that class. Teamwork and cooperation are critical to either team’s success.
Despite the stark differences between Counter-Strike and Evolve, the two share a comparable level of difficulty, a similar emphasis on teamwork and promote a tactical approach to defeating the opposing team. If you enjoy playing CSGO then you’ll certainly enjoy playing Evolve as well.
9. Escape From Tarkov
For a game that hasn’t even had a full release at the time of writing, Escape From Tarkov enjoys a remarkable number of current monthly players. However, you need to pre-order to get into the ongoing closed beta. While I don't usually recommend half-baked games, Escape from Tarkov is worth every penny, even in its early state.
The continuous updates and added content throughout the 5 years of the beta’s existence are to thank for the game’s polished look and feel. Despite the lack of a full release, Escape from Tarkov already enjoys a lively marketplace and in-game economy due to the multitude of gear and special items available in the game
Much like Insurgency: Sandstorm, Escape From Tarkov aims to deliver the most realistic and hardcore first-person shooter experience to the player. The gameplay is unforgiving and rewards patience, strategy, and good communication between teammates. Additionally, the heads-up display is minimal, with none of the gauges and indicators present in other FPS games. To quote the critics from 3DJuegos “Escape from Tarkov is one of the hardest and [most] punishing games of today”.
The game also features an intricate health system, complex ballistics, and several other peerless mechanics, such as weapon malfunctions, adding to its one-of-a-kind approach to realism. As of the time of writing, story, open-world, and arena modes are all currently on the developer’s road map for the game.
If you're looking for a game like CSGO but want something more challenging, you can't go wrong with Escape From Tarkov.
10. Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite is a tactical first-person shooter, with fast-paced gunplay that should keep you on the edge of your seat.
343 Industries’ latest installment to the Halo series was a turn of fortunes for the developers who found themselves on the receiving end of much criticism from the public. However, Halo Infinite proved to be a success and made many critics bite their tongues. Halo Infinite includes a plethora of playable maps to boot, both old and new, providing a hit of nostalgia without compromising on the game’s graphical fidelity.
The multiplayer gameplay is representative of the adored Halo games of old, sporting many of the features that made Halo a household name but with the addition of cross-play and cross-progression, allowing players to carry customizations and progress across all platforms. The incorporation of microtransactions strikes as no surprise, seeing as the multiplayer is free-to-play on all platforms.
The game also offers a single-player campaign set in a semi-open-world, picking up where Halo 5: Guardians left off. However, unlike the multiplayer section of the game, the story mode comes at a premium price. The good news is that it's available on Xbox Game Pass. If you're subscribed to the service (who isn't?), you get the whole package for free.
11. Battlefield 5
It took a while for fans to warm up to Battlefield 5, but thanks to consistent updates that overhauled the gameplay and frequent new content, the game found its way back to the players’ hearts.
The game’s multiplayer mode saw a massive overhaul compared to the previous title. Character classes were expanded and tweaked to add more balance to the game and encourage players to practice class interchangeability, whereby the more varied your team is, the more likely it is for your team to reign supreme.
Battlefield 5’s arsenal of weapons and gadgets is extensive and well-varied with an utmost focus on historical accuracy. The attention to playable maps is equally as impressive, maintaining an assorted feel to them.
The single-player mode enjoyed as much attention from the developers as its online counterpart, with an expertly-written campaign that tells a collection of different war stories, assuming relative historic accuracy. The story mode, however, is not exclusive to single-player, as you can play it with a friend through the co-op campaign mode.
In summary, there’s heaps of fun to be had playing Battlefield 5. If you’re coming on the heels of games like Counter-Strike, Battlefield 5 might take some getting sued to before you feel at home.
© 2022 Rahul Pandey