Spiritual sequel to Counter-Strike enters open beta

Counter-Strike co-creator Mihn "Gooseman" Le has been working on a sequel to the iconic multiplayer shooter for what seems like forever. Now, it appears he's finally finished. Tactical Intervention is due to be released on March 28, and you can get in on the open beta for the next two weeks. To whet your appetite, check out the latest trailer:

Tactical Intervention has a definite Counter-Strike vibe, and the graphics look similarly dated. However, less-than-stunning visuals don't seem to be bothering the over 60,000 players currently playing CS on Steam. It's all about the gameplay, right?

Although Tactical Intervention's core mechanics don't appear to stray too far from the template, the game does offer some interesting twists. The VIP escort mode dropped from Counter-Strike long ago has been resurrected, this time with vehicle chases. Attack dogs have been added to the mix, and so has rappelling.

Somewhat surprisingly, the game seems to include only five maps. The locations are fairly diverse, but two of the maps are limited to team deathmatch, and another works only with VIP escort. I expected more from a title that Le has apparently been working on since 2006. Then again, an awful lot of Counter-Strike servers seem to repeat the same map ad nauseum. It's also worth keeping in mind that Tactical Intervention will be free to play even after the beta closes.

If you want to check out the game for yourself, you should be able to download the beta via the official Tactical Intervention site. I'm getting a "We'll have the Game test client available soon!" message right now, though. Thanks to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for the tip.

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