Counter Strike 2 has taken the world by storm with it's massive surprise release by Valve, completely replacing CS:GO, formally known as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, on Steam. The game has quickly risen to the top of Steam charts, almost peaking at around 2 MILLION concurrent all time high for the series since it's initial release decades ago with the original Counter-Strike: Source. Even 3 weeks later as the game begins to settle into normalcy, concurrent player-counts remain well above a million players during peak hours.

What is this hit shooter though and what sets it apart from many of the classic shooters of the era? Longtime shooter veterans of series such as Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and many more are left scratching their heads when they enter the ultra-realistic atmosphere of Counter Strike 2. Not to mention Overwatch players who will be ultimately unfamiliar with many compounding factors that separate Counter Strike from other shooters in the genre. What is Counter Strike 2?

What is Counter Strike 2?

What is Counter Strike 2?

Counter Strike 2 is an ultra-realistic team-based shooter where every match has an overarching economy that is influenced by how well each team is performing. It is based on CS:GO, which was the origin for the game "Valorant," which many gamers may also be more familiar with. Hilariously, some players compare the Counter-Strike series to a "Point and Click" game of the 1990s as the most important part of the game is pointing your weapon at enemies and clicking on their head. As it turns out however, this is much easier said than done.

Another key point of Counter Strike that sets it apart from other shooters in the industry is it's dis-incentivizing of movement during combat. Unlike Fortnite, Apex Legends, and many other modern shooters where erratic movement during combat provides an inherit advantage, Counter-Strike actually makes bullets more and more inaccurate the more a player is moving, meaning a player must be standing completely still to have perfect accuracy.

CS2 Bullet Spray Gif
Friendly almost got his head taken off there during demonstration.

Counter-Strike 2 Game Modes

Counter Strike 2 has a handful of game modes that players might be unfamiliar with, even if you're a seasoned veteran of CS:GO. Longtime Counter Strike players will feel most comfortable in the usual "Competitive" ranked mode where players can climb the ranks (blog post detailing Counter Strike ranks here) in round-based matches of 5 versus 5. The unranked version of this game mode is called "Casual" in Counter Strike and is a great way for new players to get used to the game.

Then we start diving into the newer (and wackier) game modes of the game. The newest CS2 Premier Mode is a ranked mode exclusive to Counter Strike 2 where players play normal Competitive matches but climb ranks according to their performance on specific maps and according to a global numerical ladder rather than bracket tiers. This game mode was introduced with the release of Counter-Strike 2 and may be unfamiliar to even the longest fans of CS:GO.

Counter Strike Premier Mode

The lesser mainstream game modes of how to play Counter Strike 2 include two game modes: Wingman and Deathmatch. Wingman is another Competitive based game mode that tracks player's wins and tiers players based on a bracket system of ranking. This game mode is exclusive to 2 versus 2 though making it extremely unique in terms of multiplayer. Alternatively is the casual online "Deathmatch" game mode which is essentially a free-for-all shootout.

CS2 Game Modes

What is Counter Strike 2? - An FPS Economy?

Regular players of the game Valorant may find a lot of similarities between Counter Strike and the game, but the economy aspect has very minor changes that make it's impact on the game even more important in decision making. The economy in Counter Strike rewards a team for winning by providing additional income to players for winning rounds and planting bombs. The game also provides a small relief fund to teams who have repeatedly lost rounds.

The biggest difference in economy between these two titles however is that in CS2, individual weapons provide differing income to the player when a kill is achieved with them. This is important as a player who is looking to earn as much money as possible may want to opt for a Shotgun due to it's $900 per kill payout, rather than a machine gun with only the $300 per kill payout. Keeping this in mind, SMGs provide a nice $600 per kill payout and knives provide a whopping $1.5k each.

Counter Strike Gun Payouts
All other Pistols, Rifles, and Machine Guns, fall under 300. Kills with a Zeus earn no reward.

Counter-Strike 2 Changes: Smokes and Sight

Due to Counter Strike 2's "point and click" nature, players caught in the open is often a death sentence against an enemy armed with anything other than a pistol. Sometimes even in early rounds when players aren't able to afford their regular armor upgrades, a single step into enemy sightlines can mean certain death without any ability to react. Fortunately each team comes equipped with the ability to purchase 2 vision-altering equipment which are perfect for manipulating the battlefield.

These vision altering items are the flashbang and the smoke grenade. While these aren't as flashy as the Valorant character special abilities or the Overwatch ultimates, they are game changing in their impact on such lightning fast portions of each match, making them a vital item for new players to get familiar with. Throwing a pre-emptive flashbang around a corner before charging in, or a smoke grenade into a commonly guarded alley can and WILL save your skin.

Counter Strike Smoke

Interested in Learning more about Counter Strike?

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