CS2 vs CS:GO: How is CS2 different from CS:GO? All differences explained

Two characters holding guns in Counter-Strike 2's posterValve

CS2 is making waves in the Counter-Strike community as it replaces the age-old CSGO. Among the biggest features in Valve’s brainchild is the Source 2 engine upgrade, but there are many other improvements and new additions in the latest title, so here’s every difference between CS2 and CS:GO.

Valve has introduced tons of changes and additions with their CS:GO successor, CS2. Although Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was formerly the most popular game on Steam, Counter-Strike 2’s release has significantly increased the player count.

With Valve confirming CS2 to be the “largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history,” it’s important to know all the upgrades, new mechanics, and gameplay changes that come with the latest title.

With that said, here’s a comprehensive comparison between CS2 and CS:GO.

Anubis map in CS2Valve
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is now Counter-Strike 2 on Steam after the big update.

All differences between CS2 & CS:GO

Here are all the differences between CS2 and CS:GO:

Game EngineSource 2Source
Server tick rateSub-tick64
ModesPremier, Competitive, Wingman, Casual, Deathmatch, Private MatchmakingCompetitive, Wingman, Casual, Deathmatch, Private Queue
MapsUpgraded graphically: All maps
Overhauled: Overpass, Inferno, Italy
Classic CS maps with a few overhauls since its release
Gameplay and mechanicsDynamic volumetric and reactive smokes, Upgraded grenade mechanicsStandard smokes and grenades
UI Game menu, HUD, and buy menu revampedClassic HUD and buy menu
Matchmaking RoundsMR12, each half gets 12 maximum rounds with an Overtime option giving an additional 6 rounds in case of a 12-12 drawMR15, each half got 15 maximum rounds, with the match ending in a draw in case of a 15-15 scoreline

Now that you know all the key differences between CS2 and CS:GO, let’s take a look at new additions and improvements in Counter-Strike 2.

Game engine upgrade for CS2

CS:GO used the Source engine for over 11 years. However, with Source 2 ready in 2015 for DOTA 2, fans of the franchise wanted an upgrade in CS:GO’s game engine.

Source 2 in CS2 brings a ton of improvements to the franchise. Along with the better and brighter visuals, it also improves the visual effects like the blood splatter and how the environment reacts to the in-game activity. 

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Additionally, there are new Source 2 tools that community map makers can use, allowing for easier map builds and iterations.

Server tick rate in CS2: Sub-tick explained

Player shooting at a Terrorist on the new Inferno map in CS2Valve
Shooting and movement feel a lot smoother with the servers using sub-tick.

While a majority of CS:GO players expected Valve to upgrade the matchmaking servers to 128 ticks in CS2, the devs introduced a new server architecture instead.

With the implementation of sub-tick, Valve claims that the tick rates between moving and shooting don’t matter, as now the server can calculate every player’s “precise actions between ticks.” As a result, servers in CS2 will know the exact time for each player’s actions, as compared to evaluating the short time gaps in the tick rate system.

New CS rating and Premier mode in CS2: Competitive vs Premier difference

Along with a new Premier mode, the devs have also introduced a new rating that determines your skill level. Unlike CS:GO, you’ll be able to see your skill rating, as well as figure out which match will give you a rank up or down in CS2.

You can check out Premier vs Competitive differences in CS2 to get an idea of what to expect in the new mode.

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CS2 map changes: Upgrades, Overhauls, Touchstone

Here are all the maps in CS2, along with the game mode they are available in:

Game ModeMaps
PremierAncient, Anubis, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Vertigo
CompetitiveMirage, Overpass, Vertigo, Ancient, Inferno, Nuke, Anubis, Dust 2, Office
WingmanOverpass, Vertigo, Inferno, Nuke
CasualDefusal Group Sigma: Mirage, Overpass Vertigo, Ancient
Defusal Group Beta: Inferno, Nuke, Anubis
Dust 2 (separate category)
Hostage Group: Office, Italy
DeathmatchSame as above

Additionally, the iconic maps in CS2 are classified into three categories in terms of changes:

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  • Touchstone Maps – Dust 2, Mirage, and Vertigo: These legacy maps have remained fairly unchanged, going from CS:GO to CS2. The only changes are the minor visual improvements that come with the Source 2 engine.
  • Upgrades – Nuke and Ancient: These maps have received significant changes to their graphics with the help of the Source 2 upgrade.
  • Overhauls – Overpass, Inferno, Italy – These maps have received major changes to their layout, including the bomb sites.

Gameplay and mechanics changes in CS2

Shooting through a smoke on Dust 2 in CS2Valve
The ability to nade and shoot to reveal the other side of the smoked area will allow CS2 players to create interesting plays.

One of the most exciting features to come with CS2 is how the smokes react with the environment and players’ activity. While CS: GO was prone to smokes glitching and revealing enemies on rare occasions, you can shoot through the smokes to create a gap in CS2.

Here are all the notable smoke changes in CS2:

  • Smokes are volumetric, which simply means they occupy hollow spaces instead of blocking the area they land on. They also look less dense as compared to the CS:GO smokes.
  • Players can interact with the smokes to create gaps for a brief period. You can do this by shooting through the smoke or using a grenade to clear a larger space.
  • One-way smokes are harder due to volumetric changes and the smoke appearing the same to everyone on the server.

Other grenades have also received small visual updates, with the grenade and flash sounds getting a more realistic feel to them. Further, jump-throwing nades consistently is easier in CS2.

UI changes in CS2 vs CS:GO: New buy menu & HUD

CT side buy menu in CS2Valve
The new buy menu in CS2.

The home screen layout in CS2 is significantly different than CS:GO. While CS:GO featured its news and events on the home screen, CS2 has a different tab for it. CS2 players can find their friends’ list towards the left, just like CS:GO, however, the ‘Play’ button has been moved to the top-center of the screen.

When it comes to the buy menu for purchasing your weapons during a match, the layout has been revamped. Similar to Valorant, CS2 players can see all the purchasable items and categories at once.

Finally, the CS2 HUD displays your money at the bottom left, and the armor and health positions have also been shifted toward the bottom center of the game’s screen.

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Matchmaking round system in CS2

CS2 features an MR12 system, which simply means that the Premier and Competitive mode matches will have a maximum of 12 rounds for each half. The first team to get 13 rounds secures the win. If a game ties with a score of 12-12, the match will go into Overtime, with 3 rounds for each half.

However, if neither team manages to secure 4 rounds during the Overtime, with the score being 15-15, the match will end in a draw.

Quality of life and additional improvements in CS2

Along with the several audio improvements for guns, footsteps, and more, Valve have introduced a plethora of changes to help improve the player experience in CS2. Here are some of them:

  • Ability to sell the purchased weapon in the buy menu
  • New inspect grenades feature
  • A new loadout system
  • Match ends if a cheater is detected
  • Visual footsteps’ audio indicator on the minimap/radar
  • Improved Bots with new interactions
  • Ability to enable crosshair movement with the recoil of the gun
  • Improved player models

So there you have it! Those are all the differences between CS2 and CS:GO. For more content on CS2, make sure to check out the following:

How to convert Valorant to CS2 mouse sensitivity | Best CS:GO & CS2 crosshair codes used by pros | Is Counter-Strike 2 on macOS or Linux? | How to show FPS in Counter-Strike 2: Enable & disable commands | Best Counter-Strike 2 PC settings: High FPS, resolution, and more | Counter-Strike 2: All map changes | How to change FOV in CS2 | Can you play CS2 on console? Is there a PlayStation & Xbox version? | Best NVIDIA Reflex settings for CS2

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