Since Valve announced it on March 22, 2023, talk of the much-awaited Counter-Strike 2 has swept the Counter-Strike and gaming community. Millions of players eagerly await CS:GO’s sequel on the Source 2 engine. But what even is Counter-Strike 2? Other than porting to a new engine, what separates the game from Global Offensive? The following article will tackle these questions and explain some of the biggest changes coming with the upcoming release of Counter-Strike 2.
No More Tick Rate
In the past, all Counter-Strike games have had a “tick system.” Every action was evaluated in a specific time interval, called a tick. There was no time between those ticks, meaning that the discrepancy between the time you click your mouse and the time the tick registered could cause you to miss shots. Thankfully, CS2’s “sub-tick” system has removed this issue. Now, there is no time between ticks, and the server will know the exact moment you click your mouse to fire a shot. If all goes well, this change should allow for seamless competitive gameplay with minimal server-based errors.
Valve used the completely overhauled smoke grenades as their initial method of announcing CS2. While in CS:GO, smoke grenades were nothing more than a solid ball of smoke on your screen, CS2’s smokes are a lot more powerful. Not only do they fill the spaces they are placed in to ensure there are no gaps, but they also live in the world as volumetric, three-dimensional objects, meaning that smoke can no longer be manipulated. That’s right, no more one-way smoke abusers in your matchmaking games, since everyone sees the same smoke regardless of their map position. Along with this, smoke can be pushed and carved by bullets to create narrow tunnels of vision through them, and an HE grenade can make the smoke completely blow away for a few seconds.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was known for its simple, gameplay-focused appearance. While you could play with the game on high settings for an excellent visual appearance, most players played on lower settings to optimize performance; they placed more value on the gameplay than the visuals. But now, you don't have to sacrifice visuals for performance! Running on Valve’s Source 2 engine, CS2 offers much more appealing graphics and excellent lighting. CS2 is significantly more aesthetic, while still preserving the style of gameplay that Counter-Strike veterans know and love.
Counter-Strike 2 also introduces reworked maps on the new Source 2 engine. They have taken three separate approaches for reworking each map while maintaining their legacy.
Touchstone maps are classic maps with solid foundations, such as Dust 2 and Mirage. These maps feature minor changes to lighting and appearance but haven't gone through any major changes.
Upgraded maps use new Source 2 lighting and rendering to create realistic materials and reflections. The gameplay on the map will remain relatively the same, but the playing and viewing experience will be much more realistic.
Finally, Valve introduced full overhauls of maps, fully rebuilding older maps with the Source 2 tools and rendering features. These abilities will also be available to community map makers to improve their maps to be better compatible with the new engine.
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CHANGES TO WEAPONS
CS2 has also brought updates to sounds, completely reworking how several weapons and some grenades sound. Some of the most notable changes happened to the Glock-18 and the AK-47. Along with this, sounds have been reworked to more accurately reflect the environment they are passing through.
Every player's CS:GO inventory will be automatically ported over to CS2 when they join the game, and their skins will benefit immensely from the new Source 2 graphics and lighting. Higher-resolution artwork has been added to certain skins, and certain skins look different than they did before, mostly in a good way. Some sticker appearances have also been changed, but it is important to keep in mind that devs are always toying around with stickers and skins to maximize aesthetics, and they are subject to change in appearance.
Thanks to the Source 2 engine’s lighting system, devs have been able to vastly improve the appearance and behavior of water, explosions, fire, smoke, muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more.
Counter-Strike 2 has brought an entirely reworked User Interface, from new lobbies to a new buy menu. Lobbies now show all people in them, similar to Call of Duty lobbies, and at the start of each half and the end of the game, your entire team is shown. The buy menu has been reworked to resemble that of Danger Zone, with a square-themed buy menu that now limits the number of weapons you can purchase. While in CS:GO you could purchase any weapon you want, you are now only allowed to bring a total of 15 weapons into each game for each side: 5 pistols, 5 “mid-tier weapons”(SMGs and shotguns), and 5 rifles. This means players can now substitute the useless auto snipers, and instead bring both an M4A4 and an M4A1-S into the game. Finally, players can refund purchases and get 100% of their money back, so accidental purchases will no longer be an issue!
While it is a relatively trivial fact, some may be excited to hear that Counter-Strike 2 has added to the ability for players to say their own feet, an ability that was not possible in previous versions of Counter-Strike.
As you can see, Counter-Strike 2 is more than just CS:GO on Source 2. It is a whole new game with reworked graphics, maps, weapons, sounds, utility, and user interface. Please keep in mind that all changes aren’t guaranteed, and Valve may revert some changes due to community backlash or other reasons.