How to Reduce Overly Saturated Brightness in Counter-Strike 2

Mehraj Mahdin
By Mehraj Mahdin
5 Min Read
Credit: Valve

The intense lighting in Counter-Strike 2 might be a bit too much for some people. There are ways to reduce the extra brightness in the game and enjoy the visual overhaul in Valve’s latest release.

The much-anticipated successor to Global Offensive has hit the ground running. The visual upgrade to what is essentially the same game 11 years later was a refreshing change. However, there is an argument that Valve may have overdone the lighting with Counter-Strike 2.

Although the change in brightness may look appealing at first, playing for a longer session can negatively affect your gameplay. As a result, it is always a good idea to reduce the overly saturated brightness of Counter-Strike 2 and enjoy the Source 2 experience.

How to Reduce Brightness and Gamma in Counter-Strike 2
Overly bright cs2 graphics

Read More: How to Use Jump Throw Bind in Counter-Strike 2

How Does Lighting Work in the Game?

Lighting in previous versions of the game and in the Source engine generally works differently than in modern titles. Lighting was precalculated, meaning every possible lighting variation in a room had to be loaded beforehand and not rendered in real-time.

So, if you turned on a light in one of the previous games, the game had to load the room in the new lighting style. This increased the map size and limited flexibility in map design. Counter-Strike used similar technology without the hassle of changing lighting states.

As a competitive shooter, it didn’t need the storyline aspects of changing room designs or dynamic lights. What it did need was visibility. Being able to distinguish players distinctly from their backgrounds was pivotal to maintaining competitive integrity. Therefore, players have tinkered with their settings, turning vibrance and brightness all the way up in order to get any possible advantage.

How to Optimize Brightness in CS 2

When comparing CS:GO and CS 2, the first thing that stands out is how much brighter the game is in contrast to Global Offensive. The lighting is overly saturated, and even the darkest corners are now lit up.

To some players, this exposed brightness is a bit distracting or uncomfortable, especially when you are under broad daylight in Vertigo and Mirage. But don’t worry! there are ways to adjust the brightness of your game with the settings and in-game commands.

Reducing Brightness Using In-game Settings

The in-game Settings tab is the quickest way to adjust your brightness. If you are playing in fullscreen mode only, you can use the Brightness slider in the video settings to adjust within a range of 40% (Darkest) to 140% (Brightest)

How to Reduce Brightness and Gamma in Counter-Strike 2
40% Brightness
How to Reduce Brightness and Gamma in Counter-Strike 2
140% Brightness

Reducing Brightness Using Console Command

While using the in-game slider is useful, Counter-Strike 2 won’t let you reduce the brightness below 40%. While a 40% brightness value may look right for some players, most people still think the game looks too washed out or saturated.

This is where a console command comes in handy. By using the r_fullscreen_gamma command, you can reduce CS 2’s brightness below 40%. All you have to do is put the r_fullscreen_gamma console command value in the 2.6–3.5 range, and your game will look less bright than before.

For that, just follow these easy steps:

  • Open the console using the “~” key.
  • Type the Command “r_fullscreen_gamma <number>” where the number can range from 0 (Full white) to as high as you need, the higher the value, the darker the screen. We recommend a value between 2.8 and 3.5 for optimized brightness.
    For example: r_fullscreen_gamma 3.0
comparison between r_fullscreen_gamma 1 and 3

Read More: How to Bind Noclip or Use Ghost Mode in Counter-Strike 2

These settings change your monitor’s Gamma setting so the output will not be visible with any screenshots or streams. We have tried to recreate the screenshots as accurately as possible. We would recommend a value of 2.8 – 3.5 for an optimized brightness setting that will not hurt your eyes as much and still maintain the clarity the game aims to deliver.

Mehraj is an FPS writer at GameRiv. He is an Esports Enthusiast and studying Finance in his senior year. He is also an active professional CS:GO player, having a particular affinity for FPS and RTS titles