Counter Strike 2:Everything We Know - Counter-Strike 2 Guide - IGN (2024)


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A new era of Counter-Strike is here. While some of its maps, features, and mechanics may feel familiar, much of Counter-Strike 2 has been overhauled to its very bones. With new environmental lighting, map reworks, and dynamic effects such as smoke grenades or blood splatter, the way you play CS:GO has fundamentally changed with the debut of Counter-Strike 2.

Though Counter-Strike 2 has yet to release, a little taste of what is to come is available for a lucky few CS:GO players. Until Counter-Strike 2 launches in Summer 2023, you might be given the opportunity to play the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test.

This beta for Counter-Strike 2 gives a sneak peek at Deathmatch and Unranked Competitive game modes, flaunting all the shiny new improvements implemented in Counter-Strike 2. On this page of IGN's Counter-Strike 2 wiki guide, we explain how to join the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test and break down all the new features you can look forward to in Counter-Strike 2.


  • Counter-Strike 2 Release Date
  • How to Join the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test
  • What is the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test?
  • What is New in Counter-Strike 2?

Counter Strike 2 Release Date

The official release date for Counter-Strike 2 is unannounced, but it is confirmed to launch in Summer 2023.

How long will the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test last? This Limited Test beta started March 22, 2023 and will run until the full game is released this summer.

How to Join the Counter Strike 2 Limited Test

You're probably raring to test out the new Counter-Strike 2 for yourself. While you don't need to opt-in to the Limited Test beta, only players who have been selected will be able to access the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test.

How can you tell if you have been selected for the Counter-Strike Limited Test? If you have been chosen to participate in the Limited Test beta, you will receive a invitation notification on the main menu of CS:GO.

To check your Limited Test acceptance status:

  • Launch CS:GO.
  • Check your notifications from the Main Menu.
  • If you have an invitation in your notifications, select "Enroll".
  • Download Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test.
  • After the download completes, select "Limited Test" from the launch options.
  • Launch Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test.

If you have not received an invitation to join the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test, don't sweat it! New invitations will be rolling out throughout the next couple months until Counter-Strike 2 releases in Summer 2023. Check back in to CS:GO every once and a while to see if you made it into this next wave of invites.

Additionally, there are some other factors that may bar you from receiving a Limited Test invite, including:


  • Recent playtime on Valve official servers
  • Steam account standing
  • Previous VAC or game bans

Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test is only available on Windows.

What is the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test?

The Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test is a limited open beta for the new Counter-Strike 2 game. Players who receive invitations to test out Counter-Strike 2 are selected seemingly at random, so long as they meet a certain threshold of trust factors.

If you are chosen to partcipate in the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test, you will have access to Deathmatch and Unranked Competitive on the Dust II map. As the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test progresses, and more waves of invites are sent out, more game modes, maps, and other Counter-Strike 2 features will become available in Limited Test.

You can also play a valuable role in testing out Counter-Strike 2 by reporting bugs! If you notice a bug while playing the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test, you can notify the CS2 team directly by emailing cs2team [at] valvesoftware [dot] com. Be sure to title your email "CS2LT Report".

Just like in the intended full-release of Counter-Strike 2, all of your weapon finishes, stickers, and other inventory items from CS:GO will be available in Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test. Any XP you earn while playing Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test game will additionally carry over to CS:GO.

Can you livestream or record video of the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test? Yes! You are free to livestream your sessions or create video content from the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test.

What is New in Counter-Strike 2?

The most important question remains, what is the difference from CS:GO and the new Counter-Strike 2? Right off the bat, you should notice a huge technical leap forward in this rendition of the Counter-Strike franchise. Environmental lighting and detail rendering have been massively improved, transforming the often dark and gritty locales of CS:GO into a much cleaner and colorful world.

Perhaps some of the most noticeable improvements and additions in Counter-Strike 2 include:


  • Responsive smoke
  • Sub-tick updates
  • Map upgrades and improvements
  • VFX and UI improvements
  • New Source 2 Item Workshop

What does responsive smoke mean? In Counter-Strike 2, the smoke clouds generated from smoke grenades are "dynamic volumetric objects". Smoke clouds now react to fit their environment, spilling out of openings such as windows or doors, or filling up long spaces like corridors instead of just remaining in a fixed area.

Dynamic smoke also means that it reacts not only to the environment, but to any changes in the environment. Explosions and gunfire now have the ability to pierce through smoke grenade clouds, creating holes and brief openings to see what dangers might lurk on the other side.

Counter-Strike 2 introduces a new sub-tick update system, with the intention of creating more accurate and precise combat. By shortening the time between your inputs and the in-game tick rate, every shot you take will count.

What about the CS:GO maps you know and love? Don't worry, they're not going anywhere. In Counter-Strike 2, all of the classic CS:GO maps will make a reappearance, but this time with some tweaks.

Some maps will be completely overhauled, maintaining the bare bones of the map structure while remodeling much of the finer details. Others will simply be upgraded by introducing Counter-Strike 2's new physically based rendering system or by simply revamping the environmental lighting. If you are selected to participate in Counter-Strike 2's Limited Test, you can experience these new improvements to lighting and character read on Dust II, the map currently available for Deathmatch and Unranked Competitive.

While it won't be available in Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test right away, you can also expect to find new tools for map creation in Counter-Strike 2! Get ready to make new community maps with the Source 2 Item Workshop.

Up Next: CS2 Beginner Tips for New Players

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