CS:GO Vs Counter-Strike 2: What’s Changed?

CS:GO is getting an upgrade.

Anwell Patdu
Anwell Patdu - CS2 & Valorant Expert
13 Min Read

The CS:GO vs Counter-Strike 2 comparisons are amazing. CS2 is looking to bring a lot of changes to CS:GO. This has a lot of players excited for what’s to come. At times, CS2 even looks like a completely different game.

I’m sure that not everyone knows what’s going to change and what factors CS2 is bringing to the table. We’re here today to discuss the differences and improvements that we can find between the two games. Here’s our complete CS:GO vs CS2 comparison.

CS:GO Vs Counter-Strike 2: Engine Differences

A photo showing the new Source 2 Engine.

The community has been clamoring for an engine change to CS:GO for quite some time now. The fans are finally getting what they want because CS2 is coming with a new engine.

CS:GO has been running on the Source Engine for over 12 years now. It’s held up pretty well, especially considering its age. However, there’s no denying that 12 years is way too long for a huge game like CS:GO and that it’s overdue an update.

CS2 brings with it the Source 2 engine. Luckily, Valve is more creative with their actual updates than their naming schemes. The Source 2 engine offers some pretty fantastic updates that will change some of the core mechanics that we all know and love within the Counter-Strike franchise.

Here is a list of the updates that the Source 2 Engine will bring:

Here’s a quick summary of everything that changed and won’t change in the CS:GO to CS2 transition.

ChangedNot Changed
MapsWeapon dynamics
Smoke mechanicsAiming mechanics
Smoke interactions with HE GrenadesSkin economy
Smoke interactions with weaponsWeapon models (Enhanced look)
UI, visual, and graphical enhancementsWeapon skins (Enhanced look)
Player ModelsItems in your inventory/ collection
Enhanced weapon modelsAll your previous data (rank, friends, settings, etc.)
AWP Bullet TracersPrime (if you have it enabled)
Buy MenuSmokes still extinguish Molotovs or Incendiary Grenades
Home screen layout 

CS:GO Vs CS2 Maps

As of the moment, Dust 2, Mirage, Overpass, Nuke, and Ancient are the only maps featured in CS2. However, Valve has already confirmed all the maps that will be transferred over to CS2. They have also grouped the maps into three different categories. These categories are Touchstone, Upgrades, and Overhauls.

However, not all confirmed maps are categorized yet. We are yet to see what changes Valve will make to these maps.

Here’s a list of all the confirmed CS2 maps that aren’t categorized yet:

  • Cobblestone
  • Vertigo
  • Shoots
  • Office
  • Canals
  • Lake
  • Shortdust


These maps will not receive any significant changes or upgrades. They will still receive solid lighting updates and visual upgrades thanks to the Source 2 engine.

Here are all the known maps receiving a Touchstone update in CS2:

  • Dust 2
  • Mirage
  • Train


Maps that are categorized under Upgrades will receive major improvements to lighting physics and texture updates. Most of the locations and layouts will remain the same.

Here are all the known maps receiving an Upgrade update in CS2:

  • Nuke
  • Ancient
  • Baggage


Finally, maps that are labeled as Overhauls will receive the most updates. They will basically be reworks that will improve some of the oldest maps the CS franchise has to offer. This includes new lighting physics, textures, models, and even layout updates in some cases.

Here are all the known maps receiving an Overhaul update in CS2:

  • Overpass
  • Inferno
  • Tuscan
  • Italy

Player Models

Player models and physics are going to receive a minor update. CS2 aims to bring more realism to CS. This is why most of the changes will be around gunshot wounds and blood.

Blood splatters are a bit darker and more like drops in CS:GO vs in CS2 where they are a bit lighter on the ground and actually look like splatters instead of drops. Even the blood splatters found on the walls look incredibly realistic.

Wounds used to be red spots on player models. In CS2, bullets create bullet wounds, damaging the clothes, and you can see a visual hole marked by the impact.

You can now also see your own character’s legs and feet as well as a shadow when standing in-well lit areas. No more floating players, am I right?

Overall, the player models will look a bit more realistic. Clothes will have more texture to them. Any skin showing will also show more details like hair and muscle cuts.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Zeus has a new animation that shows electricity flowing through enemies whenever you hit them.

Weapons and Weapon Skins in CS:GO Vs Counter-Strike 2

One of the most exciting updates that CS2 will bring is definitely the visual updates to weapon skins. The visual improvements are amazing and don’t require that much power, so your current gaming PC should be fine.

Weapons show more details than ever with better texture and crazy lighting effects. Some skins look way different in CS:GO Vs. Counter-Strike 2, breathing some life into the already booming CS:GO skin economy. This has the community extremely excited, and some are already buying weapons skins for CS2.

Here are some other minor updates about weapons going from CS:GO to CS2:

  • Stock weapon models have been updated.
  • The muzzle flash is a bit brighter and has more details.
  • Bullet marks are more realistic and have more texture, depending on the object they landed on.
  • You can also see bullet shells flying out from the side when spraying.
  • Finally, bullet tracers from AWPs are way more visible. They now show their complete flight path through a stream of air.

CS2’s Volumetric and Reactive Smokes

Another new mechanic that excites the entire CS community is how smokes react to the environment and other grenades. This brings an entirely new level of strategy and tactics that weren’t even possible before.

Most CS:GO players have been vocal about how much they love the change. It adds this dynamic element that everyone will have to learn and react to.

Here are the changes you can expect to see in smoke grenades:

  • Smokes will fill up hollow spaces instead of just blocking them.
  • Smokes look a bit lighter compared to CS:GO but are more cloud-like as well.
  • Shooting through smokes creates small holes as each bullet passes through them, allowing for extra visibility.
  • One-way smokes are now officially dead because they will appear the same way to everyone, thanks to their dynamic nature.
  • Smokes also react to HE Grenades. The smoke clears up after the explosion and slowly returns once it settles.
  • Smokes still extinguish Molotovs or Incendiary Grenades.
  • Any player running through smokes will have remnants of it when they first exit.
  • T smokes should now be a bit darker than CT smokes, giving more contrast and allowing players to know who threw what smokes.
  • All smokes blocks sunlight and reacts to muzzle flash.
  • Zeus electrifies the smoke killing everyone hiding in it.

Other grenades have received minor visual updates, which include better textures, more details, and better graphics. When flashed, all sounds will have a deeper and muffled sound for a more realistic feel.

The CS:GO Vs Counter-Strike 2 Buy Menu and Loadouts

A couple of welcome updates that CS2 brought are the new buy menu and loadouts. It wasn’t initially a part of the open beta but was part of a patch on June 7, 2023. Although CS:GO’s buy menu wasn’t exactly broken, it’s just a bit hard to navigate, especially for newer players.

The updated CS2 buy menu looks like it took a few notes from Valorant’s weapon system, where everything is already laid out in front of you once you open the shop. This makes it a very straightforward system with an easy-to-understand UI. Gone are the days when you’re scrambling to find where each weapon is located.

CS2 is also introducing a new loadout system where you can pick five pistols, five mid-tier weapons, and five rifles. The loadouts will determine what weapons you can buy in-game. This adds an extra layer of strategy because you can only use a total of 15 weapons throughout each game.

The mid-tier weapons consist of SMGs, shotguns, and other heavy weapons. You can pick any weapon you choose, but weapons like the AK-47 and M4A4/M4A1-S will only be accessible to their respective sides.

Sub-Tick Server

Now this is a change most beginners probably won’t notice. However, if you’ve played the game for a while, you probably know that official CS servers have a 64 Hz tick rate. Tick rate refers to how fast a server processes and updates inputs within your game. This means that the higher the tick rate, the smoother your actions will feel.

Most players prefer playing on 128 Hz tick rate servers hosted by third parties. Unfortunately, Counter-Strike 2 servers will still retain the same 64 Hz tick rate. However, they are introducing a Sub-tick, which makes the game remember your actions, regardless of tick rate. This should result in an overall smoother and more consistent gameplay.

Better Audio and Visual Effects

It goes without saying that CS2 will dramatically improve all visuals and audio from CS:GO. CS2 has an improved lighting system that makes everything clearer and easier to see. You can expect a lighter and more colorful general environment in CS2 compared to those in CS:GO.

We’ve already mentioned a lot of the visual changes above. However, there are some additional minor ones, like new UI and HUD effects and upgraded environment reactions to weapons, explosions, and fire.

The audio has been reworked to resemble a more realistic feel while still providing a comfortable listening experience. Players should be able to tell where sounds are coming from more distinctly and accurately.

A new feature added to the minimap shows a range of how far the sounds you make can be heard. This feature is similar to Valorant’s sound ring and is useful when sneaking up or flanking.

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By Anwell Patdu CS2 & Valorant Expert
Hey, awesome game enthusiasts! I'm Anwell, diving into the gaming world from the days of the Game Boy Advance SP with Pokémon FireRed, evolving into a pro strategist in the intense showdowns of Valorant and CS2. It's a thrill ride I never want to get off! But hey, I'm not all about the competitive scene. Sometimes I'm kickin' back with the latest indie farming sims, where my farm designs—though not award-winners—bring a quirky kind of peace. As for the tech side, yeah, I've put together a PC or two, and it's a blast. But let’s park that for now; we're all about the gaming vibes here! All this joystick joy turned me into a wordsmith in the gaming universe, with a sea of articles to my credit. And the journey, with you all by my side, just keeps leveling up. So, stay tuned, stay connected, and let’s keep this game-night rolling! Ready for more action and less talk? Onward to our next virtual adventure!
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