The limited beta for Valve's upcoming Counter-Strike 2 has been slowly cycling through maps, with Dust 2 and Mirage having come and gone in competitive mode, and the latest is another OG, Nuke. Main takeaway from the new version: where have all the cars gone?
As well as testing its new versions of the classics, Valve's also opened up the casual playlist (and the CS2 version of Office can be accessed in this mode) and has been tinkering to make the best-in-class audio even better. The latest update adds distance effects to all positional sound sources, squishes a few audio bugs, and adds a "unique audio occlusion layer to help with vertical sound positioning in Nuke."
Most important of all, however, is the addition of a new animation. For the first time in Counter-Strike history, the player can now inspect their grenades. If you don't play Counter-Strike, the guns, knives and gloves all have an in-game inspection button, whereby the avatar will hold the item at various angles so you can see how lovely the paint job is.
The obvious implication of this grenade inspection animation is that, at some point down the road, Counter-Strike is likely to be getting grenade skins. I'm not really sure what can be done artistically on such relatively small objects but hey, what do I know. The fact is that skins are and will be the lifeblood of CS:GO and CS2, so finding new ways to make skins for existing bits of the game is an obvious play. With that said, the animation may also have been added purely so people can coo over the highly impressive liquid animation within the molotov cocktail.
We were extra active on Twitter this morning, which means there's a CS2 update. Today we're adding Casual, swapping out Mirage for Nuke and Office, making adjustments to audio, fixing the slow crouch bug, addressing bunny hopping and more! And you can now inspect grenades. pic.twitter.com/CMjRARG1rHJune 30, 2023
The notes also say that Valve has "improved inspect behaviour for various weapons," but after looking through some of my stash I'm not sure what that tweak refers to. The animations I checked all looked more-or-less the same to me. Valve's also made a change so players can no longer jump at the end of warmup time, which as someone who always hopped up and down on the spot at the end of warmup feels a bit mean.
Counter-Strike 2's limited test is currently ongoing alongside regular service in CS:GO, with the free-to-play sequel scheduled to launch sometime this summer and bringing everything over from its predecessor lock, stock and barrel. Soon enough we'll all be able to admire our flash grenades from every angle, before inevitably getting the throwing angle wrong and blinding ourselves.