With the recent release of the 1.20.0 Critical Ops update, we are seeing a massive shift in gameplay and aesthetic to many aspects of the game. The update will include the Spooky Event Nights of Horror III, the corresponding game mode, and the Lucky Spin.
Some interesting skins include the gloves and the Balisong knife. There also seems to be several changes to the Manhunt game mode and a new melee weapon called the "Meat Cleaver" included within it. As for the gameplay, Critical Force developers have patched many of the smaller bugs that were pixel glitches that allowed players to see through objects if positioned correctly. They also fixed many of the "stuck spots" on maps where a player can get into but is unable to move out of. This is also true for bomb stuck spots, which means that those pesky teammates in ranked who like to literally and metaphorically throw the round away will be foiled for the time being.
The lighting on pretty much every map was adjusted and the actual player models are somewhat easier to spot. Glass, which previously negated aim assist (as it was an object blocking the view of a player even though it was transparent), now works in full. Notably, the biggest changes are the physical changes to all maps. Each map received changes, but this will be more focused on the designated defuse maps.
By far the most interesting universal change is the object penetration change that will no doubt lead to more wall-bangs and different positioning in the competitive scene. The only map immune to change was Bureau. It received the universal changes stated above, but nothing else. That leads me to think that the developers believe that Bureau is the most balanced map before the 1.20.0 update out of the pool of 7 defuse maps.
As a preface I will state what I believe to be obvious - the Coalition or CT side received a HEAVY nerf throughout the majority of the defuse maps. Increased object penetration is always a two-way street, but the physical changes to each map certainly favor the Breach/T side much more in almost every circumstance. Grounded, which has not always been super one-sided due to somewhat long rotations and many different routes through the map, received a heavy nerf on A site with the solid Wagon position now basically a piece of swiss cheese.
When the update drops, I doubt we will see many people playing from Wagon because of the object penetration. B site on Grounded also supports T side a lot more now that the CT spawn area no longer has visual access to the bomb site. The Trucks are now able to be climbed, which should be a benefit to both sides but especially in the after plant position. Chairs in the mid areas had a heavy damage reduction, but seem to be a lot easier to shoot through now. They have also negated cracks between the chairs that would give Coalition a good angle to catch the Breach of guard. Plants are also now able to be wallbanged, which doesn't help the Coalition much. Overall I think while this map has been a lot more balanced in the past, it has always been CT sided so these changes should be interesting in terms of the meta.
Legacy, notoriously one of the most CT sided maps in the history of the game, also received some unexpected changes. The doors, which were once penetrable, but no longer, were REVERTED. Door spam is back baby! The biggest change to the map itself was the removal of Subway, which may outrage a lot of people who never use it. In my opinion, it has always been the biggest waste of space in the game, and the developers clearly felt the same way.
A few minor changes were made with the vents allowing for utility to be thrown into B Glass, and the sites themselves were also edited. The Statues on B site have an addition to the top (which are penetrable but impossible to see through). B site looks better for CT side than it did before (although it does seem like they have to swing further out now which might be why the pedestals were added, to prevent head-glitching). A site, on the other hand, had some pretty interesting changes for the Breach. The bottom stairs area now no longer needs to focus on being shot from the CT Spawn area/hallway as the wall was extended and the railing also seems to have been adjusted.
With the doors being penetrable, I have to wonder if these changes are in favor of the T or CT side. Especially considering the B site changes and the subtle changes to the Roof of A site that now allows players to run/walk faster on it with less noise. Overall, I think the map is still heavily CT sided and I think that changes to B site are still needed to make the map more balanced.
I will get into the remaining maps in part two, along with some new features and maps being introduced in the 1.21.0 Critical Ops beta. Thanks for reading!