The Counter-Strike 2 maps have been truly transformed with the implementation of the Source 2 engine, resulting in a variety of visually stunning environments. After weeks of speculation, Valve has peeled back the curtain on its hotly anticipated FPS that has been under development for three years.
Counter-Strike 2 is a free upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, reusing a number of important elements that fans know and love such as CSGO console commands and the CSGO ranks system. While the free PC game retains the same competitive energy, Valve has put a fresh coat of paint on maps and visuals. Here are the confirmed Counter-Strike 2 maps we know about so far.
Valve has divided the new maps into three categories based on their design changes: Overhaul, Upgrade, and Touchstone. Overhaul are maps that have been revamped from top to bottom, Upgrades represent maps with improved lighting, and Touchstone maps fine-tuning to areas that need some attention. Officially, the developer has yet to reveal all maps, but some maps have been revealed in the Counter-Strike 2: Leveling Up The World trailer.
Here are the competitive Counter-Strike 2 maps revealed so far:
- Dust 2
Ancient was added to CSGO as a replacement for Train, and it’s going to be sticking around in Counter-Strike 2. The jungle aesthetic of Ancient was already a treat for the eyes, but it looks even better in Source 2.
Ancient is popular for its greenery and puddles. In Counter-Strike 2, the water appears more textured, adding a pleasant touch to the map scenery. However, since Ancient is a new map, it may not get a lot of design changes, landing in the Upgrade or Touchstone category.
Dust 2 is a Touchstone map in Counter-Strike 2, meaning Valve has kept the layout the exact same while improving the lighting in a few key areas.
The most noticeable lighting change is in CT-Spawn and Tunnels. Previously, both areas were lit with a dim silver light but that has been replaced with fresh yellow bulbs. Other areas of the maps are also much brighter to drastically improve character read, making it easier to spot enemy models. Due to Source 2 rendering, Dust 2 looks much more spacious, even though the layout is the same.
CSGO’s Inferno map has always been a feast for the eyes, but with the latest upgrade to the Source 2 engine, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. With minor Touchstone tweaks, Inferno will be joining the list of competitive maps in Counter-Strike 2.
The cobbles are brighter, and due to light shifts, the alleys appear much wider than they actually are. Since Inferno is famous for its quirky chickens, it’d be interesting to see what Valve may have in store for these feathered friends in the latest iteration of the map. Some keen-eye Redditors spotted Inferno being played on a build of CS2 at the Paris Major 2023, but it appears this was a false alarm as the map was ported over by a fan.
Nuke is in the Upgrade category due to its heavy enhancements. The location’s layout remains the same, but the textures and models used to build the maps have been through a transformation.
The bulk of the upgrades seen on Nuke take place inside the main buildings – Valve has worked hard on improving the corridors and both bomb sites. The reflections on the floor and ramp are also very noticeable. The A site is basked in sunlight, whereas the underground B-area retains the gloomy blue but with better visuals. The reds and yellows are also much brighter, a detail that was missing in CSGO.
Mirage in Counter-Strike 2 is a visual spectacle to behold. Compared to CSGO, the palace in Mirage is glistening with expensive tiles. The reflections are so crisp it appears as though the tiles have just been meticulously polished to a mirror-like finish.
Outside the palace, Mirage looks mostly similar to its CSGO counterpart, besides the colours. However, the reflections and rich colour palette breathe new life into the dusty location, offering a stunning and immersive gameplay experience.
Overpass has undergone a complete overhaul, according to Valve. As a result, the German park looks much fresher, with major visual tweaks in Counter-Strike 2.
The changes made to Overpass are so drastic that players will find it hard to believe they ever played the map without them, particularly the underpass which was difficult to lock down for a long time due to poor lighting. The congested area looks much more spacious in decent light. The developer has also planted new balloons in the party benches, adding a pop of colour to the bleak scenery.
Finally, Train, a map plucked out of active duty, will stay in Counter-Strike 2. It’s unknown if Train will return to the dynamic competitive pool, but fans will be glad to know that Valve isn’t completely getting rid of it.
There are also a handful of extra maps that aren’t playable in Counter-Strike 2’s competitive mode for players to experience in a casual setting. Modes like FFA (free-for-all), Wingman, and Arms Aace feature different maps due to the fast-paced nature of the modes.
Here’s a list of the non-competitive maps confirmed for Counter-Strike 2:
- Short Dust
Those are all of the confirmed Counter-Strike 2 maps we know about right now. You don’t have to wait much longer for the Counter-Strike 2 release date as it will officially be playable in Summer 2023, and the next Counter-Strike 2 beta test should arrive before the main game launches. For those still unsure about the Counter-Strike 2 changes coming to the FPS game, it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s in store – including map reworks, reactive smokes, and many other exciting features that promise to make Valve’s latest FPS a game-changer.