How Does Counter-Strike 2 Play Nearly 8 Months After Launch?

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Spoiler, It's Far From Perfect!

Story Highlight
  • Counter-Strike 2 was the updated version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that launched last year.
  • It suffered from a poor launch and came with various missing features and performance hiccups.
  • Nearly eight months after its launch, the game is in a better state but still far from playable due to the rampant cheating.

In the first-person shooter market, the biggest spots are dominated by only a few titles, such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Counter-Strike. Valorant was a newcomer that gave Counter-Strike a run for its many on PC, but Valve’s IP remains dominant on the platform.

CS:GO’s longevity was something no other game in this IP will probably benefit from. The game had over a million concurrent players before the release of Counter-Strike 2, which would shift the IP over to a new engine while retaining the core strengths.

However, Counter-Strike 2 was a mess when it first launched and encountered various issues despite being an iterative sequel. It was even a letdown for many professional players.

Now that the dust has settled and it’s been nearly eight months since the launch, how does this first-person shooter play today?

Why It Matters: For a franchise like Counter-Strike, a new entry was anticipated by fans for a decade after CS:GO debuted. The community seemed to agree that CS2 was not the ideal sequel for such an iconic game.

Launch Experience 

counter strike 2 gameplay
Counter-Strike 2 Gameplay | Image By Tech4Gamers

Not much was different about Counter-Strike 2 at release, except for an engine change that resulted in prettier graphics and some gameplay changes that could have been added as a major balance update.

You might think nothing could go wrong with such a safe sequel, but you’d be wrong. CS2 was a mess at launch, coming with countless issues. The game lacked MacOS support; several maps and entire modes were missing, such as Arms Race and Flying Scoutsman, and the servers became another problem.

The servers were so problematic that I would get much higher ping than usual, and the rubberbanding lag made me want to quit the game altogether. Even professional players like S1mple suggested that the community stay away from the game.

Further proving this point, the player base fell from over a million to 723K concurrent players in just a few months.

Counter-Strike 2 Today

Counter Strike 2 Gameplay
Counter-Strike 2 Is Not Fundamentally Different From Its Predecessor

CS2 is far from perfect today but much better than at launch. Updates have added various maps and modes, fixed minor bugs, and improved performance issues.

Much-needed gameplay changes have also been made, such as reducing the price for the M4A4 and adding a left-hand holding weapon option, which was surprisingly removed at launch despite being available in CS:GO for years.

However, the server issues remain quite troublesome. This is mostly because of the sub-tick system that debuted with Counter-Strike 2. The new servers are updated more frequently, making the gameplay smoother.

However, this doesn’t work well with monitors running lower refresh rates.

The Cheating Problem

counter-strike-2
Counter-Strike 2 Has Been Unable To Address Its Cheating Problem

Like any other multiplayer title, Counter-Strike 2 is crowded with cheaters. I would argue that this is Valve’s biggest problem for the time being, with many players considering stepping away from this series for good due to the rampant cheating.

On many occasions, I have struggled to find a single match without a cheater or two ruining the experience for everyone. Making matters worse, the cheats aren’t just limited to your typical aimbot or wallhack.

You’ll often encounter cheaters who will shoot 5 AWP shots at the same time. Several cheats are being sold openly for a relatively lower price, and even big YouTube channels are showcasing Counter-Strike 2 cheats.

Ultimately, it is clear that the first-person shooter is due for an anti-cheat update. Support for this live-service title is also not the best.

This is simply unheard of for a game with millions of daily players, so I hope to see Valve taking meaningful steps toward improving the experience as Counter-Strike 2 approaches its first official anniversary.

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