Mar 22, 2023
Mar 22, 2023

What is Counter-Strike 2? CS2 Explained

What is Counter-Strike 2?

What is different from Counter-Strike 2 to CS:GO?

Can I use my skins CS:GO in Counter-Strike 2?

When can I play Counter-Strike 2?

What is Counter-Strike 2? CS2 Explained

After weeks of the CS:GO Twitter account hinting at its release, Valve have officially announced Counter-Strike 2. The sequel to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has all the features many were expecting from Source 2, but Valve have also given us some interesting new details.

Responsive Smokes in Counter-Strike 2

The first new gameplay feature is responsive smokes. In CS:GO, smokes are static, and will fade only after the time on them expires. Counter-Strike 2 adds another level of tactical depth by making smoke grenades dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment, and react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions. It is now possible to shoot into a smoke, or use a high explosive (HE) grenade to gain line of sight through a smoke. Not only this, but smoke will now expand to fill spaces more naturally, whether this is through doorways, or going up and down stairs. Smoke grenades will also look more realistic as they react to light and colour, depending on what map you’re playing.

Tick Rate

CS:GO has always had its in-built matchmaking feature criticised due to its use of 64 tick servers, whilst third party platforms like FACEIT and ESEA offer 128 tick. Counter-Strike 2 removes this problem by introducing “sub-tick updates”. The server will no longer operate in discrete time intervals, but instead know the exact timing of your actions. This means, regardless of whether you play matchmaking or FACEIT, moving and shooting will be just as responsive. Something many who look to take the game to the next level will be happy about - grenades will now work the same no matter the tick. That means no excuses for missing the Mid Window Smoke on Mirage!

What does Counter-Strike 2 look like?

Source 2 is going to change how the game looks. From the example images, we are going to be getting the same maps, but they will look cleaner, brighter, and better. Maps have been categorised into Overhauls, Upgrades, and Touchstones. An example of an Overhaul can be seen here in Lower Tunnels on Overpass:



An example of an Upgrade can be seen here on the A Bombsite of Nuke:



And an example of a Touchstone map can be seen here at Long Doors on Dust II:



Map developers will also be pleased to know that Source 2 tools and rendering features will be available to all. This should give room to see some interesting custom maps over the lifespan of Counter-Strike 2.

Will my CS:GO items transfer to Counter-Strike 2?

A fear for many of us with a lot of money spent on our inventories was: will skins carry over into CS2? Fortunately, the answer is yes! Not only will they carry over, items are getting a whole new look. The lighting and material upgrades from Source 2 will apply to your items, making them feel brand new… even if they are Battle-Scarred. All legacy models and stock weapons have been upgraded with high-resolution models, and it’s even being hinted that some weapon finishes take advantage of the new models.



Reinvigorated VFX - Visual improvements in CS2

All visual effects, for both UI and gameplay, are being updated and rethought. Water, explosions, fire, smoke, muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more will all be receiving a new look. Players will have more of an idea where they’re being shot from with the introduction of directional blood impacts. This will be something especially useful when the game enters the esports scene.


Every Terrorist side player’s favourite thing to throw at the start of the round, the C4, is getting a few changes. The look of C4 is changing to take advantage of lighting, and the explosive will look better than just a black fog coming towards you as you try to save your weapons. Hopefully the shiny new look will make players want to keep hold of it for a little bit longer.


The UI is also getting some changes. This isn’t something all that unfamiliar to CS:GO players, as it wasn’t too long ago now that we received a complete UI overhaul. The fresh visuals to track how many enemies you have killed is a cool feature. Another feature for all of you ranked fanatics is the shiny gloss around the Global Elite badge, a rank we’ll all be dreaming of achieving in Counter-Strike 2.


Audio Improvements in Counter-Strike 2

Audio is a problem for many competitive titles. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was notorious for having poor audio. Even Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s biggest competitor, VALORANT, released with audio issues. Counter-Strike 2 doesn’t want to be known for this, and as such has reworked the way the game sounds. Players will now have audio that better reflects the physical environment, making it more distinct. They are also rebalancing the sounds to give a more comfortable listening experience. This change is good for all of you who play with 100% volume.

When does Counter-Strike 2 release?

Counter-Strike 2 has a release date of Summer 2023. Many will be itching to get their hands on it before then, and you can! The Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test is an invite based beta system, where a select number of players will receive an invite via CS:GO’s main menu. If you get an invite, hit the “ENROLL” button and you can download the “Limited Test”. If you get an invite for the “Limited Test”, Valve have said it’s fine to share gameplay and we’d love to see it, so tag us on our Twitter @PinnacleEsports. Let us know what you’re most excited for in Counter-Strike 2.

Esports Home
See the latest Counter-Strike odds here

About the author

Archie Henry

With a background in film production, Archie began his esports career specialising in content. He has followed CS:GO and League of Legends since 2014 and looks to share his insight with Pinnacle.

Show more Show less