Counter Strike 2 logo on CS:GO image
Valve via Twinfinite

5 Ways Counter-Strike 2 Promises to Improve CS:GO

Counter-Strike 2 will be a big upgrade on CS:GO.

Valve’s confirmation that Counter-Strike 2 is set to come in summer 2023 has led to predictable waves of hype and excitement from around the video game world. While CS:GO remains much played and loved, its original release came back in 2012. With that in mind, it’s fair to assume Valve can implement a lot of changes. On that topic, here’s 5 ways that Counter-Strike 2 promises to improve on CS:GO.

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Tick Rate

Counter Strike 2 Sub Tick Updates Screengrab
Valve via Twinfinite

The first, and arguably biggest improvement, will come by way of tick rate. This has been a major part of Valve’s marketing for CS2 so far, promising to be a sizeable upgrade on CS:GO.

Tick rate refers to the number of times a specific server updates or refreshes in a certain period. A higher tick rate generally reduces lag and delay, better reflecting a player’s actions in game.

Specifically, Valve revealed “sub-tick update architecture”, explaining: “Now the tick rate no longer matters for moving and shooting, so the server knows the exact moment you fired your shot, jumped your jump, or peeked your peek. The server will calculate your precise action between ticks, so what you see is what you get.”

Smoke Grenades

Smoke Grenades in Counter Strike 2
Valve via Twinfinite

That’s right – the ever controversial CS:GO smoke grenades will finally be getting an overhaul in CS2. Introducing “dynamic smokes”, Valve said: “Smoke Grenades are now dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment, and react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions.”

They’ll expand to fill spaces naturally and, perhaps most importantly, display identically for all players, regardless of how the smoke grenade detonated and where it’s being viewed from.

New & Improved Maps

Counter Strike 2 character behind an enemy
Valve via Twinfinite

Any FPS gamer will know how important maps are to the feel and quality of a multiplayer environment. Valve acknowledged this in their reveal, saying: “Maps in Counter-Strike are core to the game, and maps in Counter-Strike 2 are being improved in every way.”

They stated that three varying approaches were used to overhaul and improve maps for CS2. ‘Touchstone’ maps boast improvements to lighting and graphics, but remain fundamentally the same in terms of layout and design. ‘Upgrades’ are maps that have seen their visuals overhauled by the Source 2 engine, promising realistic lighting, reflections, shadows and more. Finally, there’s ‘Overhauls’, maps that have been “fully rebuilt from the ground up”.

Easier To Make Community Maps

Counter Strike 2 map upgraded from CS:GO
Valve via Twinfinite

When revealing their improvements to existing maps, Valve also shed light on how much easier it will become for community members to build their own maps.

They promised: “The Source 2 tools and rendering features will be available for community map makers to make it easier to build, experiment and iterate. And stay tuned for the Source 2 Item Workshop, which will be available later on in the limited test.”

In short, we can expect some awesome community maps and custom designs.

Graphics and Visuals

Counter Strike 2 character shooting enemy
Valve via Twinfinite

Finally, and as you may have been able to tell from the previous points, there’s set to be a huge upgrade to graphics and visuals in almost every way.

Maps will look almost photorealistic with lighting, player models and rendering all drastically improved over CS:GO. While graphics are not the be-all-and-end-all in FPS titles, the improvements are sure to be welcomed alongside every gameplay improvement Valve have also promised.

Gameplay mechanics have also been improved drastically too, with the devs saying: “In Counter-Strike 2 the most critical gameplay visuals have been redesigned with readability in mind. Bullet impacts can be easily viewed at a distance, and directional blood impacts (that fade over time) give you more information as you move through the world.”

They also promised improve UI, audio and weapon models. Naturally, there’ll be more to come from Valve but, for now, those are five of the biggest ways Counter-Strike 2 promises to expand and improve on CS:GO.

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Joe Craven
Joe is a writer and publisher based in England. He loves history, video games and football. As you read this, he's probably reading about an obscure war, playing a video game or moaning about Leeds United.