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Counter-Strike 2 vs. VALORANT: What’s Different

Counter-Strike 2 and VALORANT are both giants in FPS esports – but what makes the Counter-Strike 2 and VALORANT experiences different for the everyday player?

VALORANT and Counter-Strike 2 are similar on a surface level as both are FPS games with a plant-and-defuse setup. The VALORANT and Counter-Strike esports worlds closely interlink as many Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros have smoothly transitioned to VALORANT, and some VALORANT pros are exploring the Counter-Strike 2 esports world. While skills learned in one game transfer to the other, it’s still clear upon playing that Counter-Strike 2 and VALORANT have fundamentally different mechanics and features. Let’s examine what makes each game unique.

Valorant characters splash art

Agents and Abilities

A primary difference between Counter-Strike 2 and VALORANT is in the player’s utility.

Counter-Strike 2 players can purchase and utilize mollies, grenades and smokes. While these items are used similarly to their VALORANT counterparts, Counter-Strike 2’s flashes and mollies are significantly distinct. Counter-Strike 2 flashes have a ringing audio cue and stun the player they hit. While VALORANT smokes are hollow and do not impact vision within their shells, Counter-Strike 2 smokes affect visibility throughout their entire space and have particle animations.

Counter-Strike 2 has no agent distinctions, although some players may elect to play with certain guns like the Awp and thus occupy a specific role. Meanwhile, VALORANT’s agents have different abilities, and the VALORANT agent pool is far more expansive. In addition to the agents’ base abilities, VALORANT agents have extremely powerful ultimates that require points to charge.

Weapons and Mechanics

Players often affectionately reference VALORANT’s “precise gunplay” – though some guns like the Phantom and Spectre have less recoil, all guns have a randomized spray pattern. In contrast, Counter-Strike 2 guns are known for their standardized spray patterns. Players often spend ages on practice maps learning to hit every bullet in a pattern and perfect their spray transfers.

Certain guns are also only available to Terrorists or Counter-Terrorists. Guns exclusive to Counter-Terrorists include:

  • AUG
  • Five-SeveN
  • K&M .45 Tactical
  • Kreig 550 Commando
  • M4A1-S
  • M4A4
  • MAG-7
  • Maverick M4A1 Carbine
  • MP9
  • P2000
  • SCAR-20
  • Schmidt Machine Pistol
  • USP-S

Counter-terrorists have the option to buy these team-exclusive guns:

  • Glock-18
  • Tec-9
  • Sawed-Off
  • MAC-10
  • AK-47
  • Galil AR
  • SG 553
  • G3SG1

In VALORANT, any player can buy any gun regardless of their team, provided they have enough credits (meaning, unfortunately, that the enemy team is free to Op and Odin crutch as much as they want). Counter-Strike 2’s distinct physics stemming from its Source 2 engine means that its movement differs from VALORANT. Counter-Strike 2’s movement significantly contributes to the skill gap between players and requires serious practice. A VALORANT player’s skill relies more on one-tap headshots and ability usage.

Customization and Economy

VALORANT and Counter-Strike 2 both contain gun skins. Every VALORANT player has a favorite ranging from the Reaver to the Prime to the Elderflame. VALORANT gun skins contain different levels of upgrades and unique finishers, but players cannot customize them further from their original design. Counter-Strike 2 players can add stickers to their guns. These stickers range in rarity and can contribute to the gun’s overall value. VALORANT and Counter-Strike 2 both sell knife skins, but only Counter-Strike 2 allows players to customize their gloves.

VALORANT skins are purchased directly from the shop or night market. Counter-Strike 2 players obtain skins using cases they can unlock with keys for a random drop. While VALORANT players cannot trade skins or transfer them through accounts, Counter-Strike 2’s skin economy is well-renowned. Players can use third-party sites or the Steam marketplace to sell or gift each other skins and cases and contribute to the thriving market.

Though Counter-Strike 2 and VALORANT are vastly different games, both are beloved by fans. Each game has its iconic style and endearing familiarity. There’s nothing better than logging on after a long day and running games with your crew. Whether you’re aggressively playing VALORANT ranked and begging your Sage to revive you or having a silly Counter-Strike 2 Wingman night with a friend, you’ll surely have a unique and fun experience.