Valve Launches Test for Counter-Strike 2 with Revamped Gameplay and Graphics

Valve has announced the official release of Counter-Strike 2, with a limited test starting today for some players. According to a tweet from Valve, the new game features a comprehensive overhaul of every system and content, promising a new and improved C-S experience. The website for the game describes it as the most significant technological advancement in Counter-Strike’s history and promises regular updates and fresh features for years to come. The full version of the game is scheduled for a summer 2023 release and will be available as a free-to-play game, as confirmed by the game’s FAQ section.

Counter-Strike 2 is built on Valve’s Source 2 engine and boasts several significant updates to the game’s core mechanics. These updates include improved smoke grenades and “sub-tick updates,” which Valve claims will allow servers to register precise moments such as the start of motion, a shot being fired, or a grenade being thrown. Additionally, a video demonstration shows someone clearing grenade smoke with another grenade. Along with these updates, the game will feature revamped maps, enhanced visuals, improved user interface, reworked audio, and more.

Valve has released a video titled “Leveling Up The World,” in which they discuss the changes coming to maps in Counter-Strike 2. The company reassures experienced players that their skills will carry over, even with the new look. They explain that maps in the game fall into three tiers: touchstone levels, such as Dust II, which will have minor visual updates but will remain essentially unchanged, allowing players to experience the new gameplay in a familiar setting. The second tier includes maps that have been upgraded or overhauled, with the addition of Source 2 features or a complete rebuild. Additionally, a tweet from Valve reveals that there will be a dedicated bind to remove the silencer from weapons in the game.

Valve has announced that it will conduct a “limited test” of Counter-Strike 2 on Wednesday, with players being selected based on factors such as recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing. Those who are selected will receive a notification in the CS:GO main menu and will be able to enroll in the test. Players are also allowed to stream and share their experience with others, providing a glimpse of the game’s improved smoke and lighting effects.

Currently, the test is limited to Counter-Strike’s iconic Dust II map in Deathmatch and unranked competitive matchmaking modes, with Valve promising the inclusion of other modes and maps in future test releases. It’s worth noting that the limited test is only available on Windows, and there is no mention of Valve’s Steam Deck handheld in the game’s FAQ.

Valve has confirmed that all items collected in CS:GO will be carried over to Counter-Strike 2, with the added benefit of improved Source 2 lighting and materials. Additionally, Valve has upgraded all stock weapons with high-resolution models. However, the company has also stated that players who have been banned from playing CS:GO will not be able to access CS2 on Valve servers.

Valve spokesperson Kaci Aitchison Boyle has stated that the full range of new features for Counter-Strike 2 will be announced at launch, but during the limited testing period, a subset of these features will be evaluated to prepare for the game’s worldwide release. It appears that Valve has many plans for the game, with the company indicating that there is “much more to come” and that all the details for Counter-Strike 2 will be revealed in just “a few months.”

Sadly I will not be able to have the chance to test out Counter-Strike 2, as I have not played on any Valve official servers recently.


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