Natural Selection II
Third party DRM: SteamThis game requires a free Steam account to play.
"Natural Selection 2 is a genius mash of CS and SC2." - Kotaku.com
Natural Selection 2 is an immersive, multiplayer shooter that pits aliens against humans in a strategic and action-packed struggle for survival. It seamlessly combines shooter and RTS/strategy gameplay.
Two Unique Sides: Whether you play as one of the elite marine Frontiersmen or the vicious alien Kharaa, you must use unique strategies and your abilities to win. Marines form persistent squads to find and destroy alien hives. Aliens can choose a wall-running Skulk, pudgy Gorge, flying Lerk, murderous Fade or gigantic Onos that can smash through doors.
Real-time Strategy: Commanders play from overhead to lead their team to victory. Build structures anywhere, collect resources and research upgrades. Marines buy weapons at an Armory or build sentry turrets and siege cannons to assault the enemy. Aliens build upgrade chambers, evolve special abilities and plant traps.
Dynamic Environments: Use a flamethrower to clear the spreading alien infestation. Aliens destroy power nodes knock out the lights and power down marine structures. Random start locations mean you must scout your enemy and before committing to a build. Every game is different.
Unlimited Variations: WYSIWYG graphical tools and powerful scripting allow you to create new weapons, scenarios or entirely new games. You’ll get all our tools (level editor, cinematic tool and more) as well as the full Lua source code to Natural Selection 2. Version 1.0 is just the beginning – ongoing automatic updates keep the game fresh by adding new maps, weapons and abilities. Steam Workshop support and auto-downloading makes playing and distributing mods automatic - and gameplay always fresh.
A Role Model for AAA-TitlesFabio13 | Oct. 27, 2014 | See all Fabio13's reviews »
It is unfortunate that in today's world despite the astounding technological advancements there are few games that actually surprise you with their novelty and innovation when putting this new arsenal of potential to use. However, Natural Selection 2 is twice as surprising in this regard as it innovates not in one, but two genres simultaneously. The concept of an FPS/RTS hybrid has been around for quite some time though never properly executed by any major title in gaming. This has always puzzled me as there is no greater satisfaction than seeing a game unfold from both the perspective of an overarching command and the boots on the ground itself. While Natural Selection 2 is a purely multiplayer experience it excels in bring new exciting gameplay to the stagnating genre of first person shooters, most of which have simply resorted to throw bigger guns, toys, and vehicles at you. Instead Natural Selection 2 recognizes the strengths of its predecessors innovative gameplay and polishes it to make an impressive new clean-cut version of a game every gamer should try at least once. While this game truly shines because of its innovation and creativity it does not spare any expense on its presentation either as all the character and alien models are fantastic and really brought to life by the dynamic lighting, sounds, and overall atmosphere that is simply blooming in this games thematic atmospheres. The first thing I noticed jumping into a lobby of NS2 is that cooperation between teammates is not only recommended but essentially necessary. This is absolutely phenomenal! There are too few games in this is online gaming world that actually demand that you interact with gamers in such a way as to properly execute a plan rather than everyone simply going at it alone, lone-wolf style. I've played my fair share of both Call of Duty and Battlefield and neither of those two triple-A giants require you to communicate with your teammates as much as NS2. If the new gaming era is going to strip us of local multiplayer and let us only play with strangers online, then they better give us a reason to want to talk to these people, and NS2 does just that by making the alternative to cooperation abject failure. The reason that cooperation is so essential in NS2 is because of its unique gameplay featuring 2 asymmetrical sides, the aliens vs. humans, and furthermore one player on each side must be chosen as your Commander/Hive mind, who will view the entire map from above and play the RTS portion of the game building, giving orders, and researching upgrades. The twist of course being that apart from a few builder units the Commander/Hive mind has no forces under his direct control but only the other players on his team who benefit most from executing his orders. Again, cooperation is paramount and having seen the difference between a skilled commander and bumbling one you really get to understand just how effective or ineffective you can be as a player or a leader. As for the gameplay as a soldier on the ground, the games generally proceed as follows. You will run out of your initial base to go seize the nearest resource point with your teammates and if you manage to control it without the enemy showing up then you will continue on to the next one. However, due to the impressive array of maps and the units/upgrades available to the different sides, you can never truly be sure just how easy or hard an objective given to you by your commander will be. Let us discuss some of the key differences between the sides at this point. The human marines are standard enough beginning the game with an assault rifle, pistol and trusty little hand axe. Throughout the game their commander will be attempting to accrue enough resources to get them upgrades such as shotguns, flamethrowers, jetpacks, better shielding, damage upgrades, and eventually mech suits. While all of these things seem like surefire upgrades from the starter equipment the truth is any of it is only as useful as the player who wields it. The aliens on the other hands begin the game as the base unit known as the skulk, an equivalent of a zergling more or less which can only effectively attack via melee. They however, are naturally much faster at moving about and can make use of the maps numerous vents which marines cannot enter. These skulks can then evolve throughout the game into other creatures ranging from the builder/medic class of the Gorge, the swift flying Lerk, the deadly Fade and the almighty Onos. Each of these creatures has its own unique strengths, weaknesses and special abilities and knowing when to use each one is critical in being a good alien player. Returning to the gameplay itself, there are some caveats to be given to new players. This game is rather unforgiving and those who are not any good at shooters on the PC will not find any user-friendly playground here. Though there are beginner level servers they are often such only in name and host just as many veteran players as any other server. Gameplay is rather fast and frenetic and you may often find yourself saying things like "How didn't I hit that guy!?" or "4 of us ambushed him! How did he kill us all!?!" And unfortunately if there is one thing to be said about this game is that the learning curve is about as steep as the Hoover dam. That is not to say that the community for the game isn't great, because since servers and players can sometimes be limited, dedicated gamers will do their best to teach newbies the ropes every chance they get. Yet despite the helpful tutors you'll run across you can't help but feel that the majority of people you are playing with in this game have simply come over from the Counterstrike community and have years of practice and experience over you. That being said, if you happen to be a CS gamer, this is your bag and you will feel right at home. The truth is however, that despite sometimes going all game without even a kill, I could still make a difference in the match through my targeting of key objectives or even posing as a distraction for my teammates who could actually effectively hit a moving target. This is what makes NS2 so brilliant, that even if you aren't your teams Rambo who CAN take on 4 aliens at once, there is always something that you can do to make yourself useful, and if you really must learn how to be a Rambo then simply practice, practice, practice, and eventually you may get... your first kill. All jokes aside, there is such a vast gap between some players in the NS2 community and while the game may not be as accessible to newcomers as I would like, it generally tends to balance out throughout games. Overall NS2 is a real treasure for all gamers and tells the success story of an ambitious group of modders who managed to create a revolutionary game that I believe has not gotten the attention it deserves. If more studios focused on innovation rather than repackaging and retheming then we would have more games with the spirit and uniqueness of NS2. The FPS/RTS is still a largely underused genre and yet probably my favorite, and while NS2 may have a steep learning curve which may prevent it from being my go-to just because I don't have the time to dedicate to mastering it, it is still an unforgettable and incomparable gaming experience from which larger studios should learn from.
a unique multiplayer experiencemirta000 | May 20, 2014 | See all mirta000's reviews »
It's a fun mix between a strategy and a first person shooter. Both sides have to have a commander. Those will be responsible for upgrades and telling the troops where to go. A good commander is very very important. Now everyone else spawn as troops. On a human side this is a regular horror FPS - you get a gun (upgrades determine what kind) and you go down the dark corridors shooting scary aliens. On the alien side it's a bit more complex and more fun in my opinion. Upgrades allow you to morph into a specific amount of very different aliens. You can be a slow moving tank that kills up close, or an easily killable spitter than hangs on the ceilings. There are many different aliens good for many different things, but the only way to make a successful push is to work as a team. This is what the game is mostly about successful commanders and good team work. In my opinion it's a great multiplayer game if you're on the winning team and unfair one if you're on the losing team - because you can simply be losing because your commander didn't get the right upgrades. It's still one hell of a game to experience. Most definitely recommend it.
Jet packs and alien rhinos.CheezeGaming | Feb. 17, 2014 | See all CheezeGaming's reviews »
Natural selection 2 may be one of the funnest game I've played last year with its expansive gameplay quality. At pre-game, you can decide which of the 2 races to play as from Aliens or Marines both having there advantages and disadvantages.
With both races 1 player must take command, think of it as battlefield 4 commander mode, with 1 player taking command on each teams, they must assist each of their team members to build structures to push back the enemy back while reciving points to upgrade you're teams aresnal that include new armor upgardes, weapons and and JETPACKS!!!, the samething happens to the Alien team except your given an option to metamorph into a new species, each species having a set of unique ablitites, so if you ever wanted to fulfil your dream of being an alien rhino now you can.
As for the gameplay, the controls feel smooth and very reactive like a twitch shooter suppose to feel and anyone new to twitch shooters it may take a while to get use to. Another thing you'll be trying to get use to if you're new to the game is the difficultly curve because it may be troublesome for you not knowing what to do during the middle of the game from experience it did not go well.
The duration of the matches can be very lengthily taking up to 1 to 3 hours if both of the teams are equally matched but if you have not very experienced commanders it may take 30 minutes to win a match, this game can suck so many hours out of you're day, you'll be wondering where you're went.
And don't forget to have fun and play with friends it makes the game more fun to play.
Lacks a Large Population but Great FunROKET | Dec. 26, 2013 | See all ROKET's reviews »
This game is great and the best team based game Ive played since Team Fortress 2. The only problem is that the devs didnt move fast enough to promote and support the game. It released as a generally unoptimized game but has since been fixed to not only perform well but also invite players in. Yes it has a learning curve but its very easy to get into.
This game is solely multiplayer. There are two sides to the battle and each side is very different. One side, the aliens, are very organic and utilize a zerg like creep to spread across the maps. There are a few different maps and each provide different environments to choose from. The second side are the marines. These are your typical space marines and they sport mostly generic weapons. It isnt until higher tier tech is unlocked (through your commander) that you get the awesome stuff such as mechs or in the case of the aliens, giant rhino like creatures that tear the marines apart.
Overall the gameplay is smooth and even better now after the various content updates that the devs have released. The game also runs more smoothly and with less lag than it did at launch.
The best of the game is the commander which overlooks the battlefield aiding his marines in battle. He also sets up the base and other outside structures that help the marines, or the aliens, progress through the map. The game ends when either all the hives or command posts are destroyed.
The marines have a mostly generic look but the graphics and textures are really smooth and nice (especially with SweetFX). The beauty in the game resides with the aliens, however, and they are a site to see. When creep has spread and structures are built a map becomes another world. The aliens also sport the most interesting HUDs and character models.
Overall this is a great game: 85/100
The true aliens experience.TETfromLondon | Nov. 20, 2013 | See all TETfromLondon's reviews »
Many people will remember watching the film 'Aliens' and wishing that there was a game that accurately recreated that atmosphere. Unfortunately, most of the actual 'Alien' games have failed to do so. However, Natural Selection 2 is as good as it gets for the genre. Both the creatures and the humans feel fun to use, but both are played in different ways. There is a great element of strategy involved, as if you split off from the rest of your team, or attack at the wrong moment, or as a human, if you wander off by yourself, you will probably die quickly. Adding to the strategy is the fact that both teams have a commander, so fans of strategy games such as Starcraft will feel at home in this role. If not, then there is no need to do it and you can just be a normal soldier or alien. The game also looks excellent and the environments are brilliantly designed. I would highly recommend this game to anyone.