All differences between CS2 and CS:GO

Things will never be the same.

Image via Valve

The day that Valve announced Counter-Strike 2 is one that will live in history, representing the most monumental change to the iconic FPS series in over a decade. The “next era” of CS will officially launch this summer as a free upgrade to CS:GO, but some players can start playing now during a limited test period.

Valve has billed CS2 as “the largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history,” thanks to the long-awaited implementation of the Source 2 engine. With this monumental update, it goes without saying that a lot is going to change when CS:GO turns into Counter-Strike 2.

Here are all the noted differences between the two games.

All differences between Counter-Strike 2 and CS:GO

New volumetric and reactive smokes

In CS2, smoke grenades will become dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment, and will be affected by other elements like gunfire, explosions, and lighting. Smoke grenades in CS2 will be volumetric, meaning they will fill the space they’re in and react to objects around them. Smokes will appear to everyone the same way as dynamic objects, meaning no more one-way smokes.

Additionally, things like HE grenade explosions and bullets can briefly clear sightlines and move the smoke for a short time. The smoke will also react to lighting and the color around it to appear more realistic.

Sub-tick server update architecture

Many expected 128-tick servers in CS2, but the real revelation is that tick-rate will supposedly not matter when it comes to moving, shooting, or throwing grenades thanks to the new sub-tick server update architecture. Servers in CS2 will know the exact instant an action occurs, rather than evaluate short time intervals to determine when said actions occurred.

Valve said “your moving and shooting will be equally responsive and your grenades will always land the same way.”

Overhauled or upgraded maps

Every map in the CS:GO map pool will be getting an upgrade in CS2, with some receiving major overhauls as well. Overpass, for example, will receive a major overhaul and will be “fully rebuilt from the ground up” with new objects and textures.

Maps like Ancient and Nuke will “use new Source 2 lighting, including a physically based rendering system that produces realistic materials, lighting, and reflections.” “Touchstone” maps like Dust II, Mirage, and Train will have “improvements to lighting and character read, but otherwise haven’t been changed.”

New Source 2 tools for map making

The new tools introduced in Source 2 will make it easier for community map makers to build and experiment with new features. The Source 2 Item Workshop will be available later on in the limited test.

Audio and visual effect upgrades

All visual effects have been upgraded in CS2, including “water, explosions, fire, smoke, muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more.”

Bullet impacts will be easily viewed at distance, and directional blood impacts can give more information to players. CS2 will also have a freshened-up user interface. Audio effects have also been reworked and balanced.

About the author
Scott Robertson

VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.