Counter-Strike 2 is finally here!!!!!

It’s out. After what has felt like the longest “summer 2023” known to man, Valve have officially released the latest game in the Counter-Strike series.

It’s free to play, and arrives as an update for the existing Counter-Strike Global Offensive game, so if you have it installed already, you don’t need to try anything new. Just open up your Steam account and Counter-Strike 2 update will install automatically.

It’s been a long journey. Valve initially released the trailer on March 22nd, before opening up a “limited test” branch for the game’s top players. The trailer promised a number of new features, including changes to smokes, graphical upgrades to maps and assets, and a “subtick” system to ensure consistency of inputs. Maps from Global Offensive’s “active pool” were tested in stages, before all were added to the game in the most recent release. It’s not yet clear what the Active Duty map pool – the one used in competitive matches – will look like, but all seven maps currently used in Global Offensive have been added to CS2.

Other new features include a matchmaking mode that seems firmly to park its tanks on the lawn of matchmaking services such as ESEA and FACEIT, with its own ranked leader board using a “CS rating”. The other big change has been a change from MR15 – max 15 rounds – to MR12 in CS2, with Valve confirming that this will be the case not just for matchmaking but for Majors as well, with the rest of the competitive circuit expected to follow suit.

It’s not clear what will happen to outstanding pro matches. The Global Offensive servers have been shut down, which means players cannot access their loadouts resulting in Complexity and Monte playing out the remainder of their ESL Pro League series without skins or loadout weapons such as the M4A1-S. Tonight was a default night for ESEA play-offs, with teams currently in the dark on when their fixtures will resume. K10 have opted to reschedule their fixture to tomorrow, while it’s unclear what will happen to Endpoint’s fixture against Singularity scheduled to start three hours ago.