Counter-Strike 2 has finally been released for all to enjoy, and with it comes some brilliant map upgrades.
The Counter-Strike 2 release for PC introduces some overhauls to legacy maps, but some have received more love than others. Luckily, Valve has boiled it down for fans by grouping all the upgrades into three categories; Touchstone, upgrade, and full overhaul maps.
Overhaul maps are the ones that have been fully rebuilt from the ground up completely with Source 2 tools and rendering features. Then there are the upgrade maps which use the Source 2 lightning and physically-based rendering system; this means that materials, reflections, and lighting all look polished. Finally, there are the touchstone maps. These have hardly been touched at all except for minor lighting and character-read changes. These maps will be the best for players to evaluate in-game changes in the sequel.
Counter-Strike 2 maps list
There are plenty of active-duty Counter-Strike 2 maps confirmed, meaning fans will still be able to relish in highly competitive locations that have been playable in professional CS: GO tournaments. There are also a couple of fan-favorite hostage maps that have made an appearance in the sequel for all to enjoy. Here are the maps that we now are confirmed at the time of writing:
- Dust II
There are a couple of map types included in CS2, including the iconic Dust II. They'll either fall into hostage or bomb defusal types. In hostage, you are tasked with either recovering the hostages as counter-terrorists or preventing them from being rescued when playing as terrorists.
Bomb defusal with most maps falling under this type. This aim in bomb defusal is pretty self-explanatory. If you play as a terrorist, you must plant a bomb and ensure it isn't defused, while counter-terrorists aim to defuse the bomb and kill all the terrorists.
You'll also find most maps divided into either active duty or reserve categories. Active duty maps are those which are currently playable in professional CS tournaments. The kind of maps in the active pool are directly determined by Valve. There tend to be only seven maps in this pool at a time, with 11 maps being included in total. On the other hand, reserve maps are the leftover ones that aren't currently in competition pools.
Ancient is classified as an upgraded map thanks to its polished physics and textures; however, not much else has changed here. Players will still be able to enjoy this bomb defusal map in CS2 with its mossy green dilapidated walls and remote location.
Ancient was first released as part of Operation Broken Fang in a 2020 update. At first, it was released as part of the Reserves Group, but soon after, in 2021, it was moved to the Active Duty map group, replacing Train in the process.
This community-made bomb defusal map is returning to CS2, and this, the most recent addition to the map pool, has been given a noticeable upgrade despite not being confirmed by Valve.
This means that players should be able to enjoy racing around these supposedly ancient Egyptian ruins with even higher-quality lighting and in-game physics.
Players will be happy and most likely unsurprised to know that Dust II will be appearing in CS2. This classic bomb defusal map is the successor to Dust and was one of the most popular maps in CS:GO.
This popularity may be one of the reasons that it is remaining as a touchstone map. This means that Dust II has received no further adjustments except for some lighting upgrades. Hopefully, this will allow players who have become familiar with this sandstone town to play around with the new in-game changes as a kind of base test.
One of the oldest maps in the game, Inferno, will obviously also be making an appearance in CS2. However, the small European town is getting a serious facelift this time.
Classified as an overhaul map by Valve, this means that Inferno will be getting some significant changes. Valve has said that maps like this one will be built again from the ground up in the Source 2 engine.
Italy is a hostage rescue map that has featured in the Counter-Strike series since its debut and has appeared in every game since. Much like Inferno, the age of this map, in particular, may have led it to become an overhaul map.
Now in CS2, players will be able to enjoy the narrow passageways and iconic marketplace with better graphics, textures, and lighting. There are also potential structural changes and alternations to in-game dynamics now.
Another Counter-Strike favorite, Mirage, was initially made by the Cyberathlete Professional League during CS 1.6 in 2013. This classic map is themed like a Middle Eastern town with stunning Moroccan-styled architecture.
Mirage will be classified as a touchstone map in CS2 as the biggest change that players will see will be that of the lighting. Everything else should simply stay the same.
Nuke is a bomb defusal map that has featured in Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike Source, and CS:GO. Here, players navigate a warehouse that contains dangerous nuclear materials or a nuclear power plant somewhere in Germany. It'll likely stand out the most thanks to it revolving around a central structure, unlike other bomb defusal maps.
Nuke will simply be getting an upgrade in CS2, meaning that players can expect enhanced graphics and capabilities thanks to the Source 2 engine. There will also be improved lighting and textures.
Office was available in the CS2 limited playtest and will also appear for everyone else now that the sequel is officially out. This hostage map takes place in and around an office building.
This older map will simply be getting an upgrade in CS2, meaning that players will see it in a new light with better textures.
This bomb defusal map is set in a canal overpass somewhere in Berlin, Germany. Here, players will either protect a stalled military shipment or attack it by destroying the pillar below.
Overpass is one of the few maps getting a complete overhaul come CS2. This means Valve has wholly transformed this map and built it again in its Source 2 engine.
Vertigo will be available to play in CS2 after appearing in the limited test beta. However, like Train, Vertigo is also a touchstone map, so players are unlikely to notice any real differences that aren't simply enhanced lighting.
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Jake is a freelance writer who currently works regularly with TRG. Hailing from the overcast shores of Brighton in the United Kingdom, Jake can be found covering everything from features to guides content around the latest game releases. As seen on NME.com, Eurogamer.net, and VG247.com, Jake specializes in breaking games down into approachable pieces for guides, and providing SEO advice to websites looking to expand their audiences.