Counter-Strike 2 (again)

Alrighty. Not to belabour this point, but I have been a CS player for many years and it's an important part of my own gaming experience. Particularly with my primary platform-of-choice, the PC.

I spent a bunch of time this weekend grinding competitive in CSGO. I've not done this in so long that I began unranked. Don't worry, my skill level is still low, so I wound up in silver tiers. Which is about right.

What's striking going to CSGO from CS2 is that the audio is so, so buffed. It's genuinely quiet. Too quiet. Yes, it's accurate enough to know when someone is in some area of a map, climbing a ladder, shooting, etc. But it's nowhere near as obvious as CS2.

The other striking thing - and I mean really striking - is the graphics. They're shit. Legitimately awful when you come from CS2. It's dark, flat and lacking any vibrance at all.

And then the real thing is the gameplay. Smokes are much more impactful. When playing CSGO with a competent set of team-mates, in order to truly use util, you need multiple smokes in a similar area. Because you just don't know if you're seeing the same thing as the enemy. A good example is the A site on Mirage. It's a big, open space with 3 entry points from the CT side. As a T, smoking the left side spawn entry still opens a gap somewhere for a sniper. Similarly, smoking the entrance from Connector or sniper Window leaves a lot of wiggle room that you just don't quite know what the opposition is seeing. In CS2 that's not ambiguous at all. And it can be countered with a quick grenade.

One wonderful play I saw in CS2 was a smoke followed quickly by a grenade to shoot through to the enemy who was repositioning based on the smoke. Amazing, high tier play taking advantage of the new smokes and the tactical ability to clear it with a 'nade.

And all of this means I'm extremely excited to play more maps in CS2. Dust2 is one thing, and it's an old friend at this stage. But playing new maps or even just updated variants of current roster maps will be amazing. Dark and dingy maps like Ancient will be revolutionised in CS2. While old familiars like Italy will just stand to feel better with an overhaul.