CS:GO vs Counter-Strike 2: What Are The Differences?

Abhimannu Das
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Counter-Strike 2</p></div>
Counter-Strike 2


While the core gameplay of CS:GO and CS2 are the same, there are some important changes that set the newer title apart.
Important changes have been made to smokes, networking and we can also expect a more polished experience thanks to Source Engine 2.

Counter-Strike 2’s (CS2) release date is approaching fast and countless players are already playing the game thanks to the ongoing Limited Beta. While the core gameplay of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and CS2 are similar, there are some important changes that Valve has implemented to offer a more refined experience. If you want to try out the game yourself, check out our guide on how to enter the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Beta.

Counter-Strike Rating system

Your Counter-Strike Rating aka CS Rating, is a visible measurement of your Counter-Strike performance, and it will determine where you stand on global and regional leaderboards. To get your CS Rating, play matches in the updated Premier mode (Active Duty Pick-Ban competitive mode) either on your own or with your friends.

Your rating will be used to rank you in your regional, friend and global leaderboards. We have an in-depth guide on the CS2 leaderboards in case you want to know more about the new system.

Unlike CS:GO which gives you a specific rating similar to other popular competitive titles, CS2 shows your rank differently. You get a “% Rank” on top of your CS Rating, which tells you in what bracket you fall in. For example, if you have 11,000 CS Rating and a %Rank of 30%, it means that you are in the top 30% of the playerbase. CS:GO on the other hand has names for its ranks like Supreme, Global, DMG instead and CS2 seeks to simplify the ranked system’s nomenclature.

Changes to Smokes

Smoke now has the ability to interact with other gameplay events, creating new opportunities. Bullets and HE grenades can push smoke to briefly clear sightlines or expand occlusion. Now the smoke will seep out of opened doorways and broken windows, go down and up stairs, as well as expand in long corridors and combine with other smokes. 

In CS:GO, these dynamic smokes are not possible due to the engine limitations in CS:GO. With Valve upgrading to the new Source 2 engine for CS2, Smokes can work dynamically.

Networking Changes

Sub-tick updates are the heart of Counter-Strike 2. Previously, the server only evaluated the world in discrete time intervals (called ticks) in CS:GO. Thanks to Counter-Strike 2’s sub-tick update architecture, servers know the exact instant that motion starts, a shot is fired, or a ‘nade is thrown.

The game will respond immediately to your commands consistently. It does not look like Valve will increase the tick-rate of the official servers to 128 Hz or higher, but the introduction of Sub-ticks in Counter-Strike 2 will help improve the responsiveness of actions for all players. CS:GO does not have sub-ticks and the new feature should lead to a better experience for all players.

Customization Changes (Rumored)

The aforementioned changes are confirmed by Valve but this one is not. The only customization players had in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was through skins for all of the guns and knives. But characters were not customizable and that might change in the near future according to datamined information. 

Some players discovered a line of code in Counter-Strike 2’s game files that says LOADOUT_POSITION_CLOTHING_HANDS.’ Upon discovering the code, keen-eyed fans went through game files and discovered that there are multiple cosmetic types that are referenced including facemasks, hands, eyewear and more. It is possible that we will get more character customization when the new game launches. CS:GO only features weapon skins and there are no player skins that can be equipped.

These are all of the key differences between CS:GO and CS2. In addition to the new features, you can also expect better graphics and performance on modern hardware so if you want to get the best performance possible, it might be time for an upgrade. You can check out our system requirements guide to find out if you need to upgrade your system.

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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.