Right after Valve verified that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was indeed in the works, Craig Levine from the ESEA published his hands-on, providing a better insight on what the latest Counter-Strike edition will bring to the series next year. He said that Valve initially made it clear that Global Offensive isn't Counter-Strike 2, but rather a a multi-platform team based FPS similar to its predecessors.
"It is designed on the updated Source Engine, but is not built off of Counter-Strike: Source and due out in early 2012 with beta access beginning this fall," he writes in his report. "It will maintain the traditional de_ and cs_ map types and will not include new game modes. Valve was keen on hearing the input from top CSS players to make CS: GO an e-sports title and that is reflected by the game featuring both casual and competitive game modes with a built-in match-making system and support for dedicated servers."
He goes on to say that CS: GO didn't feel like 1.6 and – despite being built on the Source engine – it didn't feel like Counter-Strike: Source (CSS) either. "By design, Valve wanted to create a game with a different feel, and overall it was really smooth," he writes. "The pro players seemed surprisingly happy with the player movement and feel of the game but thankfully they weren't short of feedback and most weren't shy to share it. Tweaks and adjustments are needed, but in my opinion, it was a great sign that it didn't grossly offend anyone. Player movement is arguably one of the most important elements of any FPS game and I applaud Valve for the decision to create a new feel that both 1.6 and CSS players can hopefully each enjoy."
By the end of his hands-on report, he reminds readers that the game at hand was still pre-beta. He also expresses concerns about how what apparently seems to be a console game built on the Source engine will port over to the PC. Regardless, at its current state, the group that tested the game – including himself – felt that the weapon system still needed more balancing.
"Many pro players voiced concerns about the spray control and recoil patters, feeling that it was too easy and simple, and unanimously felt that the first three bullets of the M4 and AK in particular were too inaccurate, which took out the art and skill of 'tapping,'" he writes. "In the pro players' points of view, headshots were difficult to score and came at a premium - another area that needs tweaking. The developers eagerly listened to feedback, prying for explanations and more information to improve. They informed us that the game is built to have adjustable weapon variables and made it seem that everything the group was pointing out could presumably be tweaked based on our feedback before launch and even before beta."
Levine was one of a small group of hand-picked top CSS players and community leaders who were flown in to Valve's headquarters to give feedback on the new Counter-Strike game. This group included UK, German, Slovakian, and French CSS pro players, representatives from ESL, Zblock, and Levine from ESEA.
To read Levine's full (and lengthy) report, head here. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is slated to hit the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam (for PC and Mac) in early 2012.