CS2 vs. CS:GO – What’s new? What are the differences? cover image

CS2 vs. CS:GO – What’s new? What are the differences?

The CS2 release is imminent and everyone’s excited to see how it fares vs. CS:GO and what’s new with the game’s upgrade to a modern engine.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has been around for over a decade now and is soldiering on against many modern first-person shooter (FPS) titles. Thankfully, Valve has finally announced CS2 as an update for CS:GO, that released on September 27.

It appears that CS2 will update the engine from the aging Source Engine in CS:GO to the more contemporary Source 2. More often than not, an engine upgrade means a lot of improvements to a video game. These improvements aren't just visual improvements but can also mean gameplay changes. Here's our CS2 vs. CS:GO comparison:

Improved Smoke Grenade Mechanics in CS2

Among the biggest changes in CS2 is the smoke grenades. The smoke grenades in CS2 are "dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment and react to lighting, gunfire and explosions" as described by the developers. A few highlights of the new smoke in CS2 include the following features.

  • Dynamic LOS - LOS through smoke can be manipulated using bullets and grenades, which can briefly dissipate the area of the smoke screen they're aimed at to grant temporary line of sight.
  • Expands naturally and interacts with terrain - Smoke grenades don't just create a static cloud of smoke but expand naturally and interact with the terrain around them. They also seep through openings like doors and windows.
  • Reactive to lighting - The new smoke screens react to the game's lighting system and this makes the smoke look and feel more natural to fight through, engaging with the colors of surfaces, objects and lights around it.

Several players in the CS2 limited test are already coming up with creative ways to utilize the new smoke screen system to their advantage in the game. The new smoke screens open up opportunities for unique plays and clutch moments.

CS2 vs. CSGO Maps - Brighter and better looking

The maps in CS2 have also received major improvements from CS:GO. The maps are divided into Full Overhaul, Upgrade, and Touchstone categories. Full Overhaul maps are maps that are completely reworked from the ground up, leveraging and demonstrating all of the Source 2 Engine's new tools and improvements. Upgrade maps are maps that make use of the Source 2 engine's improved lighting system and generally look better than their CS:GO counterparts.

Finally, Touchstone Maps are maps that have improved lighting and character reads. Other than this, these maps are untouched as compared to their CS 1.6 and CS:GO design. According to the developers, these maps allow players to get a feel for the gameplay changes in CS2 in a more controlled environment.

Improved server performance in CS2

The Source 2 engine performs some magic on game servers that improve overall performance. As such, the server no longer computes the tick rate. Counter-Strike 2 makes use of an improved sub-tick update architecture. This allows the servers to know exactly when a player moves, fires a shot, or throws a grenade. All actions within the game will be equally responsive regardless of tick rate.

High-res models, Improved VFX, and UI

Naturally, an engine upgrade will mean visual improvements. CS2 brings improvements to the game's textures, object models, and general user interface (UI). Weapons and characters have high-res models with improved details and lighting. The UI has received a major overhaul and boasts some fancy animations. In addition to the smoke grenade effects, the game features improvements to animations, blood-spatter VFX, and muzzle flash. The comparison in a video by HS Top makes a great demonstration of the game's visual improvements.

Valve has announced that CS2 is due a Summer 2023 release, which means it is imminent and could go live soon. As of now, players with access to the limited testing version can play the game.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest CS2 and esports news.