Valve has finally addressed player visibility in CS:GO, but it's not perfect yet

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive CS:GO Dust2 Dust II CT
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve tweaked several things in their CS:GO update earlier this week, but one major adjustment makes spotting enemies a bit easier. 'Boost Player Contrast' is a new video setting that tries to improve player visibility to make them stand out against the environment. The changes are particularly noticeable at longer ranges, so when peering into Tunnels from the back of the B bombsite on Dust2, or down towards pit on Long A, it should be slightly easier to spot opponents. 

Alongside the new video option, a few maps have also been cleaned up to simplify the backdrop of their surroundings. Plants on Overpass and Inferno have been pruned, specific areas such as Mirage's market are now more evenly lit, and windows at bombsite A have shrunk on Dust2. These changes all make it easier to see others, and should ensure that players don't feel cheated out of kills due to poor visibility, which has occasionally been a fair excuse for a poor K/D in the past. Will these changes magically see you hitting godlike flicks? No. But there's less chance of glossing over an enemy as you scan an area at distance. So, if you already have decent reflexes and reliable aim, enjoy the potential to land a few more long-range shots.

(Image credit: Valve)

While this update is a great addition, it's well overdue. The launch of CS:GO's last operation, Shattered Web, introduced new agent skins to the game. Unfortunately, a few of the CT skins quickly proved troublesome on popular maps like Cache and Overpass as their colour palettes were too similar to portions of the maps. These skins essentially allowed players to hold certain angles while mostly camouflaged, making it much harder for opponents to detect them. Counter-Strike tournament organisers such as ESEA reacted quickly, prohibiting the use of custom skins in tournaments, and esteemed map creators like FMPONE voiced their concerns about how the new additions negatively impacted the game. 

The textures on some of the agent skins (including Dust2's newer default T skins) have finally been adjusted in the new patch. Personally, I'd prefer for the Shattered Web editions to just noclip into Inferno's T-spawn river, never to be seen again, but these changes are better than nothing. The skins are still widely used in regular matches, so this update should have a positive effect on player experiences, that is, after some of the bugs have been ironed out. 

The update's accompanying blog post mentions that it "should improve character read in most cases, but we know that there’s more to be done". While this refers to incremental tweaks as more issues such as plant placements and shadows are reported by the community, new bugs have been discovered that need to be addressed more urgently. Redditor u/TimSchumi shared a short clip of a player shuffling around behind a reactor on Nuke's B bombsite. Scoped in with an AWP, they were able to see the faint outline of the other player, even through the object.

The all new CS:GO. With more visibility. Even through walls. from r/GlobalOffensive

Other members of the community have also reported that they've been able to see opponents through smokes. Of course, this is most definitely broken and having this kind of advantage in a competitive match is wildly unfair. According to u/TimSchumi, the bug is difficult to reproduce, but doesn't always appear in replays either. This could result in players getting banned for abusing the exploit when cases are reviewed in CS:GO's Overwatch system as the replays may not show evidence of the bug, which just makes it look like they're cheating. This bug has already been reported to Valve, but if you see more hacking accusations thrown around in competitive matches, this may be why.

Emma Matthews

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.