Whether you’re a gamer or not, you must have heard of Counter-Strike at least once in your lifetime. For almost a decade, it has been Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, popularly known as CS: GO, that dominated our childhood days. In more recent years, we saw a herd of esports tournaments using it as a platform to look for the best gamers around the world. However, it was evident that CS: GO was ageing fast and that its creators would, in all likelihood, be working on a new version of the popular game. Right on cue, Valve withdrew CS: GO and introduced Counter-Strike 2 as its next iteration.
Counter-Strike 2 is another free-to-download, online shooting game that could spice up the esports arena for the next few years. While several improvements have been made to the gameplay dynamics, there are a whole bunch of CS fans who, in a few months if not a few weeks, might start wondering about the next iteration after Counter-Strike 2 aka Counter-Strike 3. After all, online shooting games have made some massive strides lately in terms of storytelling, gameplay mechanics and graphic design and with Counter-Strike 2, the changes aren’t substantial enough to satisfy those who were seeking more of a revolution than an evolution.
Hence, we’ve decided to take a look at all the possibilities Counter-Strike 3 can offer and how Counter-Strike 2 could lead the way to its successor.
What do we know about ‘Counter-Strike 3’?
Frankly, we know next to nothing about Counter-Strike 3 right now. Counter-Strike 2 is currently the latest offering from Valve and it’s likely to remain the same for some time, probably an entire decade if CS: GO’s shelf life is anything to go by.
At most, we can expect Counter-Strike 3 to be based on an improved Source 3 game engine that could not only improve the visual effects and lighting but also introduce the franchise to several modern features such as ray tracing. Valve could also work on improving the gameplay mechanics and physics in a way that makes the sequel to Counter-Strike 2 more accessible to players with decent gaming PCs and laptops with minimal (albeit necessary) graphical processing capabilities.
Most importantly, we expect Valve to keep the next iteration of the game free to download and play (save for the in-game items that can be purchased).
So what does ‘Counter-Strike 2’ bring to the table?
While we await more information about Counter-Strike 3, we know a lot about the new Counter-Strike game you can actually download and play right now on your PC and Steam Deck console. Unfortunately, Counter-Strike 2 isn’t available on the Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
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‘Counter-Strike 2’ – minimum PC requirements
OS: Windows 10/ Windows 11
Processor: Intel Core i5 750 or higher
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: GPU with 1 GB VRAM or more, should be DirectX 11-compatible
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 85 GB available space
What’s new in ‘Counter-Strike 2’?
While Counter-Strike 2 is largely an iterative update to CS: GO, the changes are enough to enhance the gameplay experience. In essence, this is almost the same game as CS: GO but based on the new Source 2 game engine and decorated with prettier textures and special effects.
Most CS: GO players will immediately notice the graphical enhancements that have been applied to the game. All the popular maps have been overhauled with better textures and layout revisions to make for a much superior gameplay experience. To put it in Valve’s words, the maps are “cleaner, brighter and better.”
The developers have also worked on the smoke effect and players can use it as a combat weapon during their matches. The smoke is more dynamic in nature and fills up the space naturally. As it stays there, the updated physics engine allows bullets and other explosive weapons to change the shape of the plume for a brief period. For expert players, this could change the gameplay dynamics entirely.
Additionally, the audio experience has also been redesigned to allow for more intense and realistic sounds.
Tick rates don’t matter anymore
A new sub-tick update architecture now takes note of the moment you made a movement, threw a grenade or fired a bullet. This should allow for a more responsive gameplay experience.
‘CS: GO’ players can carry forward their items to ‘Counter-Strike 2’
If you have been playing CS: GO for years and proudly flaunt your inventory collection, there’s some good news. Players can carry forward their weapons, weapon skins and suits/dresses to Counter-Strike 2 while setting up the game for the first time.
Additionally, these weapons and skins also take advantage of the new game engine and graphics. Be it stock weapons or your specially crafted gear, Counter-Strike 2 will be able to render them in modern graphics. Valve says that the new finishes will also have an effect on weapon performance.
A new rating system
Counter-Strike 2 also comes with an all-new rating system that is split into two modes.
The classic competitive mode doesn’t offer many changes, allowing players to progress from Silver 1 to Global Elite ranks. However, the ranks are now divided amongst maps, which means you could have the top-most rating in one of the maps and a lower rating on other, more difficult (for you) maps.
The other ranking system is called Premier which introduces an active pick-ban system. This allows a player to ban certain maps before the start of a match. Once a couple of placement matches are played, the game awards a CS rating with a numeric level to denote your skills. This rank can be shared with your friends and online rivals to determine what levels of matches you’re eligible for.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– What is Counter-Strike 2?
Counter-Strike 2 is a free-to-play online multiplayer shooting game and the successor to the popular CS: GO.
– When will Counter-Strike 2 be released?
Counter-Strike 2 is already available to play on Steam.
– Will Counter-Strike 2 be free to play like the original?
Yes, Counter-Strike 2 will be free to play like its predecessor.
– Will my CS: GO skins and items carry over to CS 2?
Yes, CS: GO players can carry over their inventory to CS 2.
– What platforms will Counter-Strike 2 be available on?
Counter-Strike 2 is available on Windows and SteamOS.
(Hero and Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Valve via Steam)