A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.