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How Does CS2 differ from CS: GO?

Posted: Sep 28, 2023 in CSGO

mc head By Kevin Lott


A while ago, it was announced that one of the most popular shooter games of all time, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive would be receiving a sequel, or rather a ‘remaster’ depending on who you ask. Counter-Strike 2 is on its way, and although some may have you believing CS2 is just CS: GO with a new paint job, I’m here to highlight everything and anything that I’ve noticed that differentiates the two. Today, we’ll be going over what CS2 has added/changed from CS: GO. Let’s begin!

Smoke Bombs

Smoke grenades have seen a massive overhaul, and will be changing dramatically in CS2. Smoke grenades now form dynamic volumetric entities. These entities will fill in gaps in the environment, responding to various factors such as gunfire, explosions, and illumination. The upcoming smoke grenades in CS2 will adopt a volumetric nature, meaning they have the ability to occupy and conform to the spatial parameters they inhabit. Essentially, they’ll work like water. They take the shape of their container.

cs2 smoke bombs

Additionally, bullets and explosions can briefly clear smoke where they penetrate the cloud. The smoke will also react to lighting and the color around it to appear more realistic. The last change to smoke, which in my opinion is the most impactful change, is the fact that smoke grenades visually will be identical for all players, as they will be rendered by the server. This is amazing because it improves the competitive viability of the smoke cloud as you can be certain everyone is getting the same experience.

Sub-tick rate servers!

So, your average competitive game relies on tick rate for its servers processing information to each other. If you’re unaware of what tick rate is, it can be described as the frequency at which a server processes updates, measured in hertz. The higher the tick rate, the faster players receive input updates from the server, making online games feel more responsive and fluid.

Your average game may have 30hz servers, meaning the game updates its information every 1/30th of a second. This information includes pretty much everything the players need to make decisions, such as player position, health values, projectiles fired, objective progress, and much more. Your typical competitive game, CS: GO included, had around 60hz-64hz servers. For special events and such, this number could have been bumped up to 128hz. It was assumed that the launch of CS2 would have had all public servers bumped up to 128hz, but surprisingly, Valve claims their new servers have ‘sub-tick rate updates’!

Valve states the tick rate no longer matters for moving and shooting, so the server will know the exact moment you fired your shot, jumped your jump, or peeked your peek. The server will supposedly calculate your precise actions between ticks, so what you see is what you get. Or at least they say. These are some pretty bold claims from Valve, but with the release of the new engine and the confidence they say all this with, how can I question them? Although, if they’re telling the truth, that would mean Valve has revolutionized competitive gaming servers forever, and everyone will want a piece of the pie. I can’t wait to get my hands on this game!

Overhauled maps

In CS2, each map present in the CS: GO map pool is slated for a remaster, while certain maps will undergo substantial transformations. Notably, Overpass will experience a comprehensive overhaul, undergoing a complete redesign that involves world objects and textures.

CS2 Overhauled Maps

Maps such as Ancient and Nuke will implement the enhanced illumination of Source 2, featuring a physically grounded rendering system that generates authentic materials, lighting, and reflections. Essential maps like Dust II, Mirage, and Train will see refinements in terms of lighting and character visibility, while their core aspects remain unaltered. Despite how major of a change this is, and how much work must have gone into all of this, it is the least exciting aspect of CS2 to me. I’m more interested in seeing what new maps Valve comes up with, but it makes sense that all of the old content needed a new paint job to stay up to snuff with the rest of the game.

Also, the tools that Valve used are apparently being released to the public which will make it easier for community map makers to build and experiment with the new features. The Source 2 Workshop is bound to be filled with tons of unique and creative maps utilizing these new tools. Can’t wait to see it!

Quality of life

Lastly, the basic effects and visuals of CS2 are going to be a dramatic improvement over CS: GO. All the basic stuff like muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more will all be of higher quality. Bullet impacts will be more easily viewed at a distance, directional blood impacts will offer more information to players mid-combat, and a new user interface will make the game feel fresh. Oh, and of course all skins will be remastered as well.

Audio has also been enhanced, but to be honest, the audio in CS: GO was already incredibly well done due to its simplicity. I’m interested in seeing how it was changed, but I hope any changes or reworks to how it is being altered don’t mess with that effective simplicity.


That’s pretty much everything! Surprisingly, you’d expect the new game to come with a new gun or something like that, but in reality, this game is pretty much a major update for the original CS: GO. In fact, the original CS: GO will no longer exist, having CS2 taking its place, and most likely, all of its players. In any case, I am super excited about this new title and am really impressed with all of the changes. Can’t wait to get my hands on this awesome game!

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