Counter-Strike 2 is now available as a free upgrade to CS:GO

It has enhanced graphics, upgraded maps and more believable smoke.


Valve launched Counter-Strike 2 today. The long-rumored game, officially announced in March, has replaced Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as a free upgrade. It uses Valve’s in-house Source 2 engine, leading to sharper textures, more believable lighting and new geometry.

Valve said it broke down maps into three categories. First, “Touchstone” maps are classic scenes “with solid foundations” left mostly untouched so players can check out fundamental gameplay changes from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Counter-Strike 2. Next, “Upgrade” maps focus on Source 2 lighting for more realistic-looking reflections and materials. Finally, “Overhaul” maps are fully rebuilt from the ground up, showcasing Source 2’s full capabilities.

Smoke grenades should also appear more realistic. Valve says it overhauled how they function, making them more dynamic. “Now not only do all players see the same smoke regardless of position, but the smoke can interact with the environment in interesting ways,” Valve said in a behind-the-scenes video. “It reacts to lighting [and] grows to fill spaces naturally. The shape of the smoke cloud can be pushed and carved by bullets and grenades.”

Valve says Counter-Strike 2 also supports sub-tick updates. That means the server will process player actions in between primary (64Hz) tick updates. The company says this will let servers know the moment you fire a weapon or chuck a grenade, leading (at least in theory) to more responsive sessions.

Counter-Strike 2 is a free upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam. Any cosmetics collected in CS:GO will automatically transfer to CS2.