Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Game Poster Image
Dated online shooter drowns in cesspool of toxic behavior.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 75 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players are split into teams of either “Terrorists” or “Counter-Terrorists”, but there’s little more to those labels other than which team sets/diffuses bombs or holds/rescues hostages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although there’s technically a good guys vs. bad guys theme, it’s little more than an excuse to get people shooting at one another.

Ease of Play

The game's a relatively straightforward team-based first-person shooter. Coordination with teammates is important for success but can be an issue if matched up with random players. The pre-match setup for weapon loadouts can be frustratingly complex as well.


The game's a steady stream of violence, with players killing each other using a variety of real-world style weapons. While the violence is constant and there's blood shown onscreen, there’s a general lack of overly graphic gore.


While profanity isn't built into the game, the combination of its online requirement, its reliance on team communication, and the heavily toxic behavior of many players, means that being exposed to offensive comments and profanity should be expected on a regular basis.


While the game began its life as a full retail priced package, it has since shifted over to a free-to-play release, complete with microtransactions that allow players to buy random skins for alternate versions of the various guns, knives, and other such weapons, which can be traded to other players.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a free-to-play competitive, team-based first-person shooter available for download on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux-based computers. Players are split into teams of either terrorists or counter-terrorists, competing online in a number of scenarios including keeping or rescuing hostages and setting or disarming bombs. Violence is a staple of matches, with players using a variety of realistic weapons, such as guns and knives, to eliminate the opposing team. While there's some blood and realistic violence, it’s not overly graphic. Parents should be aware that, as a competitive online game, there's a heavy reliance on online communication, which can expose kids to toxic behavior, offensive comments, and profanity from other players.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPTAKaren September 15, 2019

Karen Approved

There’s really nothing on this game that your kid hasn’t seen in movies or television. The point of it is to fight against terrorists and work as a team. My son... Continue reading
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byturtle96 August 4, 2019

It has changed

I play this game a lot and I noticed how the community changed. I thought that the community was a big no no. But more kids started playing and less people talk... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byparzival1232131 June 28, 2019

Listen here

Ok... this is ridiculous. this games community is pretty much dead and there are several people I have met that are just fine and not toxic. Every game or two t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byup_North January 25, 2020

Best FPS I’ve Ever Played

I started this game over a year ago. I started because of a recommendation from a friend. Only he and I played it but we were close. I changed schools and got a... Continue reading

What's it about?

COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE is a highly competitive, team-based first-person shooter that puts players on the frontlines of the war on terror. The game pits teams of terrorists against counter-terrorist military units in online matches in multiple different combat scenarios, including hostage rescue and bomb disposal missions, with each team utilizing guerilla and military-style tactics to gain victory for their side. Players will choose a team, choose a side, and choose their weapons as they set out to be the last team standing when the smoke finally clears. And to the winners go the spoils. In this case, players can earn unique cosmetic skins or custom weapons through gameplay or by buying items via the in-game store, even swapping out with other players through in-game trades.

Is it any good?

While the action in this shooter is fast-paced and okay, the dated gameplay and toxic nature of this community really ruins the enjoyment for virtually all gamers. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tries to take the older team based ideas of "Cops and Robbers Cops and Robbers” with players splitting off into teams and competing to prove which side was better to the next level. It takes that formula and gives it a more modern flavor, pitting teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists against one another with recreations of real-world weapons and tactics in team-based matches. While the shooter has evolved somewhat over the years, most notably ditching its retail package in favor of a free-to-play model, the core mechanics haven’t changed much. Unfortunately, that also means it’s built on a framework that’s well past its prime and is starting to show its age. Compared to other shooters, it's starting to feel like a bit of a relic that’s struggling to stay relevant.

Although CS:GO is still a serviceable shooter, its gameplay is quick, dirty, and very repetitive. Outside of some very recent additions, such as the Danger Zone battle royale mode, the bulk of the game is little more than slight variations on the same two or three objectives. That wouldn’t be so bad if not for the overwhelmingly toxic community that’s built around the game over the years. There’s no way to avoid getting flooded with offensive language and poor sportsmanship before, during, and after matches. Not only is this hyper-competitive atmosphere not inviting to newcomers, but it’s often an almost prime example of how NOT to behave in any social setting. Worse still, there’s very little that can be done when confronted with such behavior. For the more jaded veterans of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive combat, this might just be par for the course, but for anyone else looking to just have some competitive fun, there are many better quality opportunities out there, with much less toxic environments to put up with.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online behavior. What are some ways to manage your behavior during online interactions? What should kids do when faced with toxic and offensive behavior in an online environment?

  • What are some positive ways to be a part of competitive play? What makes a “good sport”, both when winning and when losing? How can poor behavior affect others’ enjoyment?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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