While there are definite differences between the globally iconic CSGO and the brand new Counter-Strike 2, besides some subtle visual changes, many players may not immediately understand some of the major gameplay overhauls and small integrations the game has made outside of many menus looking vastly different. Veteran CSGO players were immediately taken aback by the menu changes upon booting up the game post-update on September 27th with the massive UI changes that were put into place.

Many of CSGO 2's changes have been regularly celebrated online as well as through the official Counter-Strike 2 website, but the angle that many of these sites miss is how many of these subtle changes affect gameplay for players. While the website shows off example images of map visual/lighting changes, they seem miniscule for players until you're mid-match and need to quickly identify a target. With the newest changes players have much better target acquisition, the ability to interact with incoming fire and utility, as well as cleaner map definition.

Dust 2 Counter-Strike 2 Backplat

Counter-Strike 2 Smoke Changes

The most infamous of all the changes to Counter-Strike 2 is the changes to smoke grenades due to it's online popularity and near-ground-breaking technology in multiplayer gaming. There essentially isn't another game on the FPS market where you're able to interact with smoke grenades in a similar way to the way that CS2 allows, providing for a uniquely fulfilling and competitive based environment like no other. The recent changes to smoke grenades aren't simple a small change either as smoke grenades are an integral part of any competitive CSGO play.

For those who aren't aware, the major changes to smoke grenades is that the smoke is entirely malleable to almost everything in the game, being able to be manipulated by bullets, grenades, and even people. Shooting through an open smoke will temporarily open a small open where both sides are able to see through the smoked zone, allowing for unique opportunities of attack and gun fights within CSGO that had never before been possible involving smoke grenades. HE grenades do the same thing, pushing back an even farther area of the smoke for view.

CSGO 2 Smokes Gif
An HE grenade opens the first line of sight, with bullets opening up the second for two free frags!

CSGO 2 Changes: Visual Effects and Lighting

As shown in the Dust II image shown above, the lighting in almost each and every map of Counter-Strike 2 looks massively different, with the difference being even more apparent using the slider on the CSGO2 website. The lighting isn't exclusive to the maps either as the entirety of the game has received a complete visual overhaul, much to the dismay of many skin collectors. Characters, weapons, edges, and bullets all appear just slightly more vibrant and appealing in the game world drawing player's eyes even quicker to their close details.

As said previously though, there has been a LOT of controversy regarding CSGO2 skins and the accompanying visual changes. The changes and skins affected were covered in our Counter-Strike 2 Skin blog post as well, but many skins had grown a community-wide accustomed look in the original Source engine that has since been changed with the implementation of Source 2. Many skin owners are upset about a wide variety of minor changes, whether it be the new glare on a knife, or the shine on a skin's sticker than hadn't originally existed.

CSGO 2 Skins Source 2

Counter-Strike 2 Movement and Gunplay Changes

Counter-Strike 2 has been compared heavily to CS:GO's early stages when it comes to player's thoughts on the current release's movement and gunplay feel. Many pro-players and popular online content creators have had a lot of negative reactions towards the popular shooter calling it "Clumsy, slow..." and "at best, awful." This is former pro-player Jacob Winneche's words in the first few weeks of CS2's release, with many other creators disliking the gameplay changes.

In fact, the CSGO reddit has collaborated to create a collection of online personas that dislike Counter-Strike 2's changes, with many high-level players saying they have ruined the fast-paced perfection that CSGO worked so hard to accomplish. Despite CSGO2 reaching player peaks higher than it ever has before and many more continually flooding back to the game for it's most recent rendition, veterans are hesitant; particularly if they are married to the series' longstanding gameplay.

Counter-Strike Menu / UI Changes

The unmistakable menu that players have spent years getting used to and falling in love with is now gone with the surprising update to CS2 as well, leaving veterans with a sense of loss, albeit excitement with the new system briefly covering that feeling at the same time. While players will still feel immense nostalgia for the old CSGO menu, the community has given widespread applause for the UI updates, as they are significantly cleaner and more new-player friendly than they were for CSGO. Items are more obvious and playing games is easier than ever.

The UI changes also highlight a lot of areas in which the original CSGO was able to improve in subtle ways such as viewing guns in far more detailed fashion without entering games and having a per-side equip menu rather than a single inventory. Alongside the colors chosen to make the game itself more vibrant, the team also very intentionally brightened many menus and modernized the UI across the board, making things function as expected and glow when hovered satisfyingly. Despite some negativity, CS2 is obviously a next generation game.

CSGO 2 Menu

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