Since the announcement in March, CS:GO fans have been patiently waiting for Counter-Strike 2.

From overhauled maps and upgraded weapons to stunning visual effects and an enhanced listening experience, CS2 is expected to bring incredible things to this long-awaited game.

Now that Valve has officially confirmed it'll hit Steam this summer, it’s time to recap everything we know about CS2 so far.

When will it be released?

The game has been confirmed for release this summer, but unfortunately, we don’t have an exact date. Since June has been and gone with no drop, you can probably put bets on a July or August release.

But some lucky tactical shooters have already been granted a taste of the new gameplay. A few CS:GO veterans were given beta access to help fine-tune the game before its release. If you have a high-standing Steam account, keep an eye on your inbox – an invite could pop up any day.

How much will it cost?

One of the reasons CS:GO was so groundbreaking back in 2012, is that it’s completely free. And fans will be happy to know that Counter-Strike 2 will continue that tradition.

What are people saying about it?

You’ll be glad to know that CS2 is already amassing plenty of positive feedback from gamers and reviewers who were granted early access. Anomaly called the game “insane” during his play-through, saying that, “It’s very different, but it still feels like Counter-Strike” – exactly what we want to hear!

Shroud, Tarik, Fl0m, n0thing, and Skadoodle also teamed up for their first game. The new volumetric smoke grenades impressed them (don’t worry, more on that later), but they weren't a fan of the follow recoil and spectate mode lagging – though, with the game still in beta, this isn’t much cause for concern.

What’s new?

We’ve been waiting for more than a decade, so we can expect a fair few changes. Overhauled by the Source 2 game engine (announced in 2015 and previously developed Dota 2 and Half-Life: Alyx), Counter-Strike 2 should benefit from smoother gameplay. We’ll also see additional tools and features that make building, experimenting, and iterating easier. And stay tuned for the Source 2 Item Workshop, available later in the limited test.

With the housekeeping out of the way, let’s dive into the major changes between CS:GO and CS2.

Map overhaul

See familiar locations in a whole new light with the reimagined UI. Maps have been fully rebuilt from the ground up to emphasise the crisp graphics and realism, while maintaining many of the original locations that CS:GO players have come to know and love.

Source: Counter-Strike

Upgraded weapons inventory

Don’t worry – you can carry over your beloved weapons collection from CS:GO, but players will see their entire arsenal has been given a fresh look. Much like the location design, inventory items have benefited from a rebuild with Source 2 lighting, so they look sharper and more realistic. Plus, all stock weapons have been upgraded to higher-resolution models.

In particular, smoke grenades will look more dynamic with “volumetric technology,” meaning they’ll react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions in a better, more realistic way.

Source: Counter-Strike

Visual effects reimagined

Source 2 lighting strikes again. The game’s UI has seen a complete overhaul. Not only does the game look better visually, but enhancements make it easier to infer important information.

Bullet impacts are more realistic and fade over time as they move through the map. And environmental effects have also been redesigned – explosions, fire, and C4s take on a whole new look.

Source: Counter-Strike

Audio like never before

Players can expect an entirely reimagined listening experience, with audio effects rebalanced for realism and comfort as you move through the world. You’ll hear every gunshot and explosion with complete clarity.

Source: Counter-Strike

New skins (sort of)

Valve has been particularly quiet about updates to weapons’ skins in the new game, despite much pleading from fans (though we do know that the whole collection of CS:GO skins will be playable in the new game). However, it seems as if the Zeus, a one-shot taser gun, will be getting a skin overhaul – could this mean more skins are to come? Only time will tell.

Tick rates are changing

CS:GO players will be familiar with the challenges that tick rates pose, with server updates controlling how accurately your actions reflect in-game responses. But sub-tick updates mean players can expect fewer problems with CS2.

In fact, according to Valve, “tick rate no longer matters for moving, shooting, or throwing,” meaning any action within the game will be pretty much instantaneous from when you perform it on your keyboard. So you can forget slow servers affecting your gameplay in the future.

Don’t let servers slow you down

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