Danger Zone, Valve’s take on the battle royale genre in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, dropped into the game last week, and so far it’s an overall lackluster mode.
The new mode throws 18 players onto a somewhat large map called Blacksite, where they need to properly navigate the map, collect loot, and eliminate players—much like other battle royale games, such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds. Danger Zone, on the other hand, overcomplicates simple aspects of the game that made its counterparts so enjoyable.
Upon arrival into Blacksite, players must scurry around their specific drop area to look for money, guns, and ammo crates. If they can’t find anything substantial to fight enemies and survive, players must resort to their trusty tablet, which contains a buy menu for money. The money system, similar to the economy system in casual and competitive CS:GO, requires players to buy essentials for survival, such as a knife, kevlar, and a MediShot for health. Then after buying an item, a drone flies by and drops it off in package form.
The process of setting yourself up for a 10-minute match is tedious and can be extremely rage-inducing when you get eliminated. In other games, you drop, pick up weapons lying around, and start shooting at opponents. In Danger Zone, you drop, find money for weaponry, and maybe you can fire away at approaching enemies if your gun or knife arrives on time.
On the other hand, engagements in Danger Zone feel the same as traditional Counter-Strike, but bullet management can be a pain when dueling against players with better weaponry. When weapons are picked up, they have little-to-no ammo, and the ammo lying around in crates sometimes isn’t even enough for a whole clip. The ammo crate bullets are universal upon pick up, but don’t transfer over when you switch weapons. So tapping guns is a huge must in Danger Zone, unfortunately.
If and when you win, it doesn’t feel that rewarding either. A first-place plaque shows up on-screen, a killcam replay follows, and a scoreboard shows up. Congrats, you survived versus 15 to 17 players for 10 minutes, depending on if you’re playing solo, duos, or trios. It definitely doesn’t feel as fulfilling as outlasting up to 99 people in a game and racking up kills over a longer period of time.
Overall, Danger Zone needs a lot of improvement for it to be a fun battle royale mode. It’s fair that Valve got into the fad of implementing the mode to attract players (by also making CS:GO free-to-play), like what Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 did with Blackout, but Danger Zone feels like an unfinished product.
It all makes sense when considering the MP5 | Lab Rats skin, which is given to any player that accumulates 250 XP in Danger Zone. Danger Zone is an experiment, and CS:GO players are essentially Valve’s lab rats. Hopefully the experimental conditions will improve, or else the battle royale will soon be forgotten and regarded as a failed test.