CS:GO beta review & gallery
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is expanding its beta phase and has seen numerous updates included recently, so we decided to take a look at how the game seems to be doing right now.
Early on there has been a lot of criticism towards the early beta of CS:GO as players have deemed it too much like Counter-Strike: Source, a game made only for consoles and so on. The game has now seen its first few updates and while still in early beta, we're taking a look at it to see how it is doing.
If I said the game resembles CS 1.6 more than CS:S as it is right now I would be lying, and quite frankly even CS:S feels smoother. It is however worth noting that the game is still in early beta and just about everything is still up to be tweaked, modified and changed. Right now the overall feel of the game is fairly sluggish and you don't feel like you're in control of your character fully, not the same way you feel while playing Counter-Strike 1.6 anyways.
Granted, I played some CS:S for comparison's sake as well, and I do feel like it has been changed a lot and it seems a lot more like 1.6 in comparison to CS:GO right now and even the movement and guns feel more accurate. However, that is not to say this game could not develop into something that could take over competitively, as we have to remember it is still in very early beta stages in its development.
The in-game menu for settings up your game, changing binds, crosshair or volume is really hard and complicated to go through right now and you can tell it's clearly been made with console players in mind. There is no quickly going to the options and changing your name or crosshair from there (and you have to change your name in STEAM Friends to change it, exactly like in CS:S), as it simply takes too much time.
Same goes for the buying menu as well which has seen new numbers for each type of equipment and made buying things much slower, as at least for me after some time playing the easiest way to buy was still clicking on icons with my mouse. The buying menu takes over your entire screen, instead of being small text on the side like the menu you can choose in CS 1.6.
Valve has finally seeminly just copied the CS 1.6 money system over to CS:GO's competitive mode, although the money system, oddly enough, is still ridiculous low in terms of being able to buy weapons in the casual mode. This means you still get $1,400 for losing your first round, and if you lose multiple rounds in a row, you keep getting $500 each time up until you reach $3,300. Something that definitely needs to be changed is how much money you get for a kill, as currently killing someone with an SMG nets you $900 while getting an AWP frag will only get you $50. Average weapons give you $300. Winning a round nets you $3,250, unless it's with a bomb explosion, in which case the number is $3,500.
On top of that, one thing that I feel like should be changed in the competitive mode, is penalizing a player $3,300 for killing a teammate, as in the competitive setting losing a teammate is bad enough, there is no need to take money away from them too. It also still features some odd awards, such as a $300 personal bonus for the defuser/planter (on top of the $800 bonus for Terrorists when planting the bomb but losing the round), which could also make defusing the bomb a part of the strategy in order to give the team's sniper more money.
You also do not have to purchase bullets in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as in CS: Source style fashion any gun you purchase automatically comes with full amount of bullets for it. Also, you can pick up all types of nades from the ground from your fallen teammates or opponents, so only a certain team mate having a flash for a setup and him dying won't actually ruin the round entirely, as another player can simply pick it up and use it instead of him.
Fans of the CS 1.6 style movement will be disappointed to hear that both crouch hopping and bunny hopping have been disabled in CS:GO which slows down the pace of the game quite a bit. The newest update finally makes it possible to make small and precise movements, as opposed to the earlier versions where it felt like the smallest amount you could move was just a chunk, now it feels possible to move precisely. However, the penalty for jumping or crouching is still a lot and even running seems a tiny bit slow to me, so overall CS:GO simply doesn't offer the same kind of fluid movement that exists in CS 1.6.
Generally it is hard to tell where sounds are coming from, especially foot step sounds. They are hard to notice and unreliable, even more so than CS:S. This is one part of the game that needs to be improved on greatly should CS:GO ever become a big competitive title, as right now it seems like sounds add little to nothing to the game. Most of the time you can only hear an echo, making it harder to tell which direction any sound is actually originating from.
The recoil is still way too strong for practically all weapons and it feels like controling a spray is simply impossible. Although it has slowly improved over the updates that have so far been released, currently the recoil is still too hard to control and gets out of control really easily even within short distances. Right now it seems like tapping is almost as hard as well, and the only fully precise way of shooting down your opponents is simply tapping single bullets very slowly, which obviously can not stay that way for a version suitable for competition.
Tracers are also visible in CS:GO, meaning you can literally see your bullets flying as you're shooting your opponents, which I'm personally not a fan of. I've seen the same feature in various single player games and I'm sure it's yet another feature that has been made with console players in mind. Hopefully it will be possible to turn it off in the future with a simple console command, but right now it just seems like another pointless feature.
WallbangingWallbanging works sort of like in CS:S in CS:GO, as you can spam doors and boxes (both wooden and metal) from close range. It is also possible to spam the very corners of walls which makes the game a lot better as you can no longer simply take one step to the side and save yourself from getting killed, so while not perfect to most of CS 1.6 fans, it's a step in the right direction. Personally, regardless of how realistic people think it may or may not be, I think spamming is a great feature in CS and should not simply be cut out just like that. It adds a ton of strategy, and let's be real - shooting someone in their upper torso ten times and them not dying, or inbetween the eyes once isn't realistic either. And honestly, games do not need to be realistic.
Equipment and weapons
The game already features a wide variety of guns and more will be added as the beta gets closer to completion and the actual game rolls out. Currently featured for pistols are Glock-18, Desert Eagle, Tec-9 (for Ts) and P2000 (CTs) and for heavy, the Nova shotgun and an M249 (Para). for SMGs available are PP-Bizon, MP7 and UMP-45. In rifles we have AK-47 (for Ts), M4A4 (Colt, for CTs), AUG (for CTs), SG 553 (SIG for Ts), SSG 08 (Scout) and an AWP. Finally, under gear you can purchase a Defuse kit (CTs only) HE grenade, Flashbang, Smoke grenade, Decoy grenade and a Molotov cocktail (for Terrorists) or an Incendiary grenade (for Counter-Terrorists).
The newest update to the game finally added Defuse kits as items that can be purchased (though for the hefty price of $400) as opposed to randomly given to two team members at the beginning of the round. It also finally separated kevlar vest and kevlar + helmet from each other as two separate items, so you can purchase just a kevlar for $650 now.
Radar is very similar to CS:S in the sense that you can see your opponent's last known location on it, the bomb, defuse kits and your teammates. If you do get blind, there is no radartype command to make the radar stay visible. It also looks more like a small map than a pure 1.6 type radar, as you can see the elements of a map on it graphically as opposed to just a big green area with dots. Also, the scoreboard currently covers your entire HUD, so it's impossible to see anything at all while looking at the new decked out scoreboard that even shows your and your teammate's money.
The HE grenade is clearly overpowered right now, as a single grenade can take out a player with 100hp, therefore making nades must buys on pistol rounds as you can easily score frags without even touching your opponents with a weapon, thus making HE stacks on save rounds extremely powerful even against terrorists with armor. There is a chance this is just a temporary glitch however as they were not as powerful in the alpha version of the game, but that remains to be seen.
Flashbang is very similar with the one in CS:S, meaning it makes you deaf, blinds your entire screen (including radar and crosshair) and once it's finally wearing off, it'll still be next to impossible to tell what is going on as your last vision (flashback) before getting blind is sort of stuck in the eyes of the player, overlapping with the real image of what you see. You can at least dodge the flashes slightly better than in CS:S, but they still seem a little too powerful for competitive play as flash executions should almost guarantee round wins in CS:GO.
Decoy grenade is a new addition to Counter-Strike and it basically fakes the sound of whatever weapon you have at the time. For example, as you hear Terrorists coming out long A on de_dust2, if you're behind the corner of long, you could throw a decoy grenade in the pit and it would sound as if you were shooting there, thus likely to fool an opponent. This also now works two ways, as once people get used to Decoy grenades, it might also work to throw one right under you, and making the other team think that is not where you are.
Smoke grenades are like the ones in CS:S as well, so they're very powerful, much more so than in CS 1.6. A single smoke grenade will cover a large area of the map and completely block a player's vision. Much like every other grenade in CS:GO, the physics are exactly like in CS:S, as far as throwing them goes. It also explodes instantly just like in CS:S and in CS 1.6, so you can quickly block out entire areas of a map with just one Smoke grenade.
Molotov cocktail/Incendiary grenade are the same exact thing, just named differently as the Counter-Terrorists in real life would not be using a Molotov cocktail to stop Terrorists. It seems very powerful as you simply can not run through one if another player throws one into any specific spot, and is priced at $850. The problem I see with either one, is that it seems like a grenade that will only make the winning team win more, as a team that is losing would not spend their money on it, but it would give an even bigger advantage to the team that is already up in score, and money.
P-2000 (USP-like but with a 13 bullet magazine) and Glock-18 resemble the guns they originated from and seem to function quite well. Desert Eagle might be a little too strong as of right now just like in CS:S, but it's still at least reasonable. However, I do think the newest addition, Tec-9 for the Terrorists, is way too overpowered especially for its $400 price tag. It features a 32 bullet clip, semi automatic rate of fire and it seems to do quite a bit of damage as well.
AWP and Scout have a really annoying feature when zoomed in and walking, as the motion blur makes it nearly impossitble to see anything that is going on in your screen, so clearing areas while zoomed in is extremely hard in CS:GO. This makes both weapons much more stationary in comparison to CS 1.6 where you can easily walk into areas zoomed in and clear spots while going for picks as a Terrorist. Overall both guns act fairly similar to their earlier counter parts.
AK-47 and M4A4 are also similar to their CS:S versions, although the Colt does not feature a silencer just yet in the beta. Recoil patterns for both are still too high, but at least tapping feels better now and if you can single bullet tap the other team, you're guaranteed to get kills.
Same goes for SG-553 and AUG (which were added in the latest update), both seem fairly similar to their earlier versions and luckily their zoom feature (which is the same as GALIL's will be once introduced) has not been tarnished by the motion blur that is sure to appear when moving with a Scout or an AWP. Recoil patterns feels sligthly worse than with an AK or a Colt just like in CS 1.6.
M249 or Para was also added in the newest update to the game and seems to have the same features as it always has; 100 bullet magazines, being able to buy 200 bullets on the side and slightly slower rate of fire than other rifles. The Nova shotgun seems a bit too powerful from close range as you can simply shoot a guy in their torso once to score a kill. Although it's surely just Valve's way to try to make the gun more useful, I don't think it's really necessary for the competitive side of things.
In SMGs we have MP7 (MP5, for CTs), a PP-Bizon (for Ts) and the UMP-45 for both teams. All SMGs seem to do fairly little damage but the one that definitely sticks out is PP-Bizon which comes with a magazine size of 64 bullets, clearly superior to its counter part or the UMP-45. Precision wise none of the guns are great; they're SMGs after all, but offer some cheaper options to teams low on money.
In the earlier version of the game played in the all stars match held at IEM6 Global Challenge New York and DreamHack Winter the game featured a wider variety of weapons including GALIL (which now has an AUG-like zoom function) as well as FAMAS. Most of the old weapons will be added to the game later on, but simply do not exist yet. This also is the case for Taser.
The maps seem to be modified versions of the CS:S maps overall, with de_inferno and de_dust2 being practically just ported over with very small modifications, while de_nuke and de_train have seen some changes made. The original de_dust has also seem some changes, but probably still won't see much play time in the competitive scene. The annoying fog that was present in CS:S makes its reappearance in CS:GO as well, making it impossible to see far away and ruining your FPS in the process.
Dust has seen some changes as they have included a new tunnel from the underpass going up on the Terrorist side of the sniper deck, but the map still heavily favors the Counter-Terrorists and will undoubtedly be forgotten just as quickly as it was years ago in CS 1.6. To make matters worse, the best spawn from the defending team can always push into the tunnels and get a free pick on the Terrorists trying to enter the area, or throw an early Incendiary grenade in to slow the map down even more than before. There is also a helicopter in the CT spawn which takes off at the beginning of every round, leaving the area full of dust as a result.
Dust2 seems almost like an exact port of its CS:S version including the B doors that are turned around. Although I haven't played CS:S much, I can't think of a single difference in the map in comparison to its Source counter part. It is no longer possible to flash over giant areas of the map however which is a pleasant update, but other than that the map still features the cars in the B bomb site, crossing of long, lots of small objects on top of the A bomb site and in B tunnels, et cetera.
Inferno would be hard to describe for anyone who has not seen the CS:S version of it, as the CS:GO map resembles its CS:S version quite a bit. Banana has seen some changes and you can no longer AWP all the way down from the B entrance as you'll now have to push towards the old headbox area to see far down. Small pit no longer exists, the same quick way towards B from CT spawn arch has been included that is in CS:S and makes splitting into the B site much easier.
Nuke has seen the backstairs area from outside to the lower bombsite removed completely, thus rendering outside al ot less useful for Terrorists which gives the Counter-Terrorists a chance to focus on the upper bomb site and ramp area that much more. On top of that, the lower bomb site no longer has the back room nor the short hall way linking the two areas. Apart from the giant barrels added in the middle of the site (and the forklift from CS:S), the upper bomb site resembles its CS 1.6 version fairly well. Both the glass door in lower and the squeeky door can be blasted open with a HE grenade as well. Up until the newest update vents were exactly like in CS:S where you could simply run through them,but Valve has changed that now to more 1.6 like where you have to crouch.
Train's newest version has seen a lot of the trains removed on both bombsites (thus making the sites a lot more open), a secondary tower added on the Counter-Terrorist side of yard as well the bomb train moved to the area previously known as between five trains. On top of that, it's no longer possible to go under any of the trains on the map, which removes a lot of the lurking aspect of the map. Ladders are still on the sides of the trains as opposed to their ends just like in CS:S, and overall it doesn't seem like de_train even resembles it's CS 1.6 counter part anymore, but is rather just a large aim map with small objects here and there blocking the way.
Visually the game is pleasing to the eye on 1920x1080 resolution, although the graphics are not up to date with today's newest game releases. However, on top of requiring much better hardware to run than CS 1.6 or even CS:S, it is sometimes extremely hard to notice things around the map. This makes me wonder if players would eventually simply config their games out in Quake style fashion in order to make the maps better playable, as Valve has added a lot of unnecessary little things around the maps to make them better looking with tiny details.
The game has a neat feature in the freezetime (which is completely useless though) where your game has almost all of its saturation taken away which then comes back as the round actually begins. Although this offers much more contrast to the colors than normal, it still feels like CS:GO is a little black and white to me, and doesn't offer as many different color schemes as CS 1.6. Personally I'm a big fan of Inferno's and Tuscan's color schemes, and although Tuscan doesn't exist yet in CS:GO and I can't comment on it, overall CS:GO lacks saturation.
Motion blur is another annoying addition although I would hope you can turn it off fully (or rather, you're allowed to) once/if the game hits real competition. To me it feels like I'm playing the Need for Speed -series rather than CS, and it seems like a truly worthless feature for a computer game. For a console game however, it definitely makes sense.
With both ESEA and ESL already hosting online tournaments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it seems clear that tournament organizers hope for players to switch over and it begs the question; Will CS:GO take over CS 1.6 as the dominant FPS title in today's eSports? As of right now, even though Valve has so far denied plans of hosting a tournament such as "The International" for DotA2, it seems that event organizers are very much interested in the game.
On the flip side of the coin, World Cyber Games recently announced voting for its games for the 2012 event to be held in China, and while CS 1.6 has been listed as a potential candidate, both CS:S and CS:GO are missing from the list. It's definitely too early to say for sure, but if CS:GO managess to get in a lot of new players as expected, chances are high that tournament organizers will at least try to have it take over CS 1.6 just like with CS:S back in the days, but whether or not it will be successful remains to be seen.
For over 130 screenshots of CS:GO, visit our gallery here. Do you have more requests for CS:GO related content on HLTV.org or an opinion on the game? Leave a comment below and let us know how you feel!