Counter-Strike always was - and still remains - a PC game. Despite being recognisable and very playable on 360, it feels alien even with a number of changes to the 12 year old formula, designed to make the brutal, unforgiving combat more console friendly. While that means Global Offensive never betters the best-in-class online shooters designed with Xbox in mind (like Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Halo 3) it does offer a cut-price alternative, and often highlights the occasional over-complicated tropes of the genre that 360 owners have grown to tolerate.
For some, Counter-Strike's stripped-back shooting will be a turn-off. There are no perks, kill-streaks, vehicles, scenery destruction or classes here, and every weapon is available to buy at the start of each round. In Classic, the rules are simple: you've got two teams of players (one terrorist, one counter-terrorist). The terrorists need to plant a bomb at one of two sites, and the counter-terrorists need to stop them. The game ends when the bomb detonates, is defused, or one team is wiped out by the other. There are no respawns until a new round starts, so once you've lost your life, all you can do is spectate as your team-mates finish the fight.
Although initially intimidating, Classic is more accessible than it sounds. Despite never playing Counter-Strike on PC, this reviewer finished top of his first match and held his own throughout almost every other session.The series may have built a scary hardcore reputation, but with players using 360 pads, the playing field is as level as it can be. It's very obvious, though, that Counter-Strike's shooting has been fine-tuned for mouse and keyboard. It never feels sharp or tightly-controlled on the 360 pad - although it's perfectly serviceable despite, and anybody who's seen battle in Call of Duty or Battlefield won't have any trouble joining battle.
That said, you'll find the lack of aim assist tough to begin with. Coupled with what - at first glance - seems to be an inconsistent hit-detection system and an unusually high amount of kick-back on most weaponry, newcomers will definitely get frustrated when they empty a clip into an enemy only to see them healthy enough to return a one-hit-kill headshot. Spray and pray isn't welcome here. Thing is, the system is the same for everyone, and once you've learned to adapt to Counter-Strike's foibles, you'll start to rack up the kills more readily.
Well, providing you spend hours learning each map. Counter-Strike Global Offensive is essentially an HD version of CS Source, which launched in 2004. The maps are all classics, excellently designed to reward those smart enough to move quickly and seek clever lines of fire. However, learning every inch of each map definitely yields a massive advantage, and the way to do this is dying repeatedly and learning from your killer who you can then follow as a dead spectator. Or by having played this game since 2004.