Highly anticipated: Since Valve began the Counter-Strike 2 beta in March, uncertainty has surrounded its public launch details and the fate of Steam's most popular title – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The sequel's full release brings all players into the latest chapter with numerous fundamental overhauls.

All Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players received an update that replaces the game with Counter-Strike 2 this week. Although CS:GO is no longer available, and the new version completely rebuilds certain elements, Valve stresses a sense of continuity from the experience veterans have known for years.

Every item from CS:GO carries into CS2, so players won't lose rewards they spent hundreds or thousands of hours earning, but achievements have reset. Furthermore, while some classic maps received significant renovations utilizing the Source 2 engine's advancements, others, like the iconic Dust II, feature minimal changes so experienced players can easily test gameplay differences.

One of the most significant shifts is the removal of the tick-rate system that governed how CS:GO detected inputs. CS2 acknowledges player actions between ticks, enabling more precise gameplay where mere milliseconds can make the difference more often.

Valve also turned smoke into a central new gameplay mechanic. Unlike other first-person shooters, CS2 treats smoke as a volumetric object that physically interacts with walls, light, bullets, and shockwaves.

Players transitioning from CS:GO will find the deathmatch, casual, wingman, and competitive modes intact, but Valve overhauled the Premiere mode and ranking system. Additionally, a new offline training mode provides an introduction for novices.

Although CS2 has exited beta, Valve hasn't yet enabled all of the features it initially promised, as some community-oriented aspects of CS:GO are still missing. The company announced plans to significantly upgrade mapmaking tools in CS2 but hasn't revealed when they'll be available. Community servers are also not yet open, but Valve says they're coming soon.

System requirements have dramatically risen compared to CS:GO but remain extremely light. While its predecessor hung onto DirectX 9, the new game requires at least Windows 10 and DirectX 11. Any processor with four cores and GPU with 1GB of VRAM will suffice. CS2's only onerous demand is for 85GB of storage space.

Another potentially significant effect of the upgrade is the removal of macOS support. Valve hasn't indicated when it might introduce a Mac version but didn't close the door on the prospect. The company hasn't ported any of its titles to Apple Silicon, so it could be a while.