An immersive, multiplayer shooter that pits aliens against humans in a strategic and action-packed struggle for survival!
Release Date: Oct 30, 2012

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Recent updates View all (107)

September 3

Update 269 Released!



The Natural Selection 2 Community Development Team has just released update 269! Here is what's inside:

FIXES
Fixed issues of the texture manager which caused the client to crash while loading textures which use rgba compression or include mipmaps
Fixed that using non precached cinematics crash the client
Fixed Quick Join
Fixed long load times with some HDDs caused by overloading the io queue with too many worker threads
Fixed Alien Lifeform Counters in the Alien Buy Menu
Fixed that Jetpacks did not show up correctly at the scoreboard
Fixed triggers and models having incorrect settings in the editor_setup causing things like e.g. ladders not to work at maps
Fixed that client mods which fail the consistency check were not disabled.
Fixed some other issues with cinematics (causing things like client crashes when someone used umbra)
Fixed that echoed structures were not attacked by arcs.
Added draw calls back to r_stats
Fade Blink sound volume was corrected
Fixed Overview.exe crash
Fixed some issues with the linux client

Improvements
“ForceEvenTeams” vote now uses the skill ratings from hive to balance teams. It avoids moving players that have already chosen a team and first tries to balance the teams using the players in the readyroom. If it must swap players that have already chosen a team, it uses the minimum number of them so most people will stay on the same team.
New commands for controlling loading behavior:
res_workers n (n = number of used loading worker threads, default 1 )
res_prelock on/off
res_preload on/off
res_verbose 1-3 ( turns on verbose logging at loading )
Commander Hints are now fully translatable
Polish translation is now 100% done (thanks to Carnage and Acedude)

SDK
Fixed Editor volumes missing the size parameter.

Leave comments here and on the NS2 blog for the CDT to read!

18 comments Read more

August 22

Update 268 Released! Play now!



The hits just keep on coming - The Community Development Team has just released Build 268, and it is available in your Steam Library right now! Check out this intel update from ItsSuperEffective to find out what's inside:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9xOMHpOhFg

To see the whole list of changes that went into Build 268, head on over to the Natural Selection 2 blog!

Be sure to leave comments for the NS2CDT, so they can hear what you want to see in future updates.

22 comments Read more

Reviews

"NS2 is a genius mash of Counter Strike and Starcraft"
Kotaku
"This is getting close to my idea of the ultimate game"
Machinima

New DLC Available



The Kodiak Pack is available now! Click here to go the DLC page!

Digital Deluxe Edition

The Digital Deluxe Edition includes:

Official Soundtrack
Almost 1 hour of tribal, industrial music composed by David John and Simon Chylinski. This includes all the music from our trailers and videos.

Digital Art Book
40+ pages of concept art by Cory Strader, including environments, creatures, weapons and more. Cory discusses the process behind designing the unique technological/animal look in the game.

Exclusive Wallpapers and Avatars
Community artist Rantology created some of the best and most unique views of creatures in the NS universe. Custom Steam avatars complete the package.

Exclusive in-game marine model
A new marine model with custom visor and equipment makes you look distinctive in-game. Existing owners of the original "Black Armor" marine will be able to choose between any models they own.

About This Game

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.

Key Features:

  • 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.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows 7 32/64-bit / Vista 32/64 / XP
    • Processor:Core 2 Duo 2.6 ghz
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 compatible video card with 1GB VRAM and support for Shader Model 3 (e.g. ATI X800, NVidia 8600 or better)
    • DirectX®:9.0
    • Hard Drive:5 GB HD space
    Recommended:
    • OS:Windows 7 32/64-bit / Vista 32/64 / XP
    • Processor:Core 2 Duo 3.0 ghz
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 compatible video card with 1GB, AMD 5770, NVidia GTX 450 or better
    • DirectX®:9.0
    • Hard Drive:5 GB HD space
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
Helpful customer reviews
40 of 42 people (95%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
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.
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
18.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 7
A very challenging game that mixes RTS and FPS into one (pretty good) multiplayer game. One player is the commander, who places buildings and drops supplies for his units, who are the other players. This game is very hard, so I would be ready to lose.

Also, this game is very CPU instensive, so it will not perform well (or at all) on older PCs.
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
787.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
I'm a hard fan to please. I want a game thats easy to learn but hard to master. Natural Selection 2 (NS2) is just that, a perfect blend of both RTS and FPS. It can satisfy the most demanding fast twitch high intensity gamers or the casual pubbers looking to watch / help those battling it out for map control. Typical days I find myself jumping on to a server for 20 minutes, before dinner, or spending 2 hours helping to keep a server alive, with action, until midnight. Regardless if your a rookie or expert NS2 has a place for you, find out what your missing!
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
563.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
I love this game. The action is fast paced but requries thought (tactically and strategically). You don't just run in guns blazing, but you need to work with your teammates. It's a perfect mix of FPS and RTS. Biting marines as a skulk is fun too.

Some say this game has a high learning curve. Maybe it does, but I don't think so. You work with your team, collect resources, and then you and your team can afford to buy upgrades. Oh yeah, and kill the other team while trying to prevent them from collecting resources and upgrading. Is that hard? Try the tutorials. Start on nebie friendly servers. USE A MIC and ask for direction. It's a relatively small community and most players are very willing to help people who are looking to learn.

Try it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
7.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
This is one of the most overlooked games I've ever played. Natural Selection 2 is a ton of fun for hours on end and one of the most addicting multiplayer games I've ever played. NS2 is a breath of fresh air in a genre that is otherwise polluted by generic shooters like "Call of Duty".
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
50.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 3
This game is definitely worth it and its usually on sale. There are 2 playable factions -humans and aliens and each have their own special units and abilities. The amazing thing about this game is that its very teamwork intensive. Each team gets 1 commander who pretty much gets an overhead view of the battlefield and instructs teammates on what to do/build. The game is pretty easy for humans but for aliens its a big learning curve. If you do get the game do not play commander without reading a guide/tutorial because it can be extremely difficult. The combat is very fun and you can do all types of strategies and builds each game, such as fast expand for aliens to get xenomorph or human fast expand with warp gate tech or harassing human extractors with skulks with aliens which is one of the best ways to get yourself back into the game as aliens.

All in all 9/10 Very good game I would recommend.
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
23.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 23
So yeah. Very good game. It combines RTS with FPS so you can play however you like (although you got to get to the commandstation/hive first if you want the RTS feel.

RTS: set battleplans, give orders, and manage the players on the field. Making poor choices can screw you up but if you are a good commander your sure to win the game. (Victory cannot be achived by FPS alone.)

FPS: Get upgrades, build, fortify, and all-out kick some alien/marine ♥♥♥! Tons of weapons/classes you can select and staying with the group is always the best option in this game.

Happy hunting!
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
26.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 18
Commander, ammo please!
Commander, meds please!
Commander, armour first! Armour first!

A mix between regular FPS gameplay and RTS gameplay, this game balances both for some of the most intense fights I've ever experienced - most notably a battle of attrition between my friend and another which lasted just over an hour resulting in our human victory!

Awesome game! But I'm a ♥♥♥♥♥ commander hehe.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
4,045.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 23
I dont have to say anything. Just look at my hours.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
19.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
Kind of a weird aliens vs humans game. It is interesting because you have a commander that tells you where to go to help the team. Definitely a dark game and was very enjoyable.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
33.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
Perfect mash-up between Alien vs Predator and Starcraft. I played the original and the sequel didn't disappoint! A must play!
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
134.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
High skill curve, high amount of knowledge to play correctly. Do not buy if codfag.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
its very fun to pplay and has some good team work elements
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
42.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
A standalone sequel a great Half-Life 1 mod, Natural Selection 2 is a triumph, and it's actually a bit amazing it exists at all. The game is an assymetical team based first person shooter, with one player on each team acting as its commander and playing the game like a traditional real time strategy game. The Human Marine side is fairly standard FPS fare (though still incredibly fun), while the Aliens play very uniquely, with different species to mutate into, and a whole host of bizarre abilities to unlock.

The game runs on its own graphics engine, which looks incredible, and has been gradually optimized over the years so the initial limitations on running the game well seem to be largely resolved. The art and sound design of the maps give off an amazing industrial sci-fi vibe; this is a far more faithful game to the movie Aliens, which the game freely draws inspiration from, than the dreadful Colonial Marines cash-in.|

My only criticism, aside from the occassional crash and perfomance issues, is that the game can be difficult to jump into and understand what is going on, what you need to do, and even what your role is, even as a basic Marine grunt. It's particularly difficult if you choose to play as the commander, though once you figure out some good strategies and tactics, have a solid skilled team that obeys orders, and you learn to effectively communicate, it can be the most rewarding way to play. It's also important to know that there is a dedicated fanbase of competitive players who take NS2 a bit seriously, so if that is not what you are looking for, make sure to only visit the casual servers for a while (the servers tend to helpfully label themselves as such).

Recommended for those who like team based shooters, those with unique and assymetrical combat, sci-fi fans, and even strategy fans. If one or more of those things describes you, this game is worth it, even at full retail.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
Good game, definately recommend
Was this review helpful? Yes No
15 of 29 people (52%) found this review helpful
136.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 8
one of the best games
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7 of 14 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 13
Cool alien game.
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
1,460.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 24
Best game I have ever played!
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
If you are reading this you are debating on getting it but hear me out before you proceed on ignoring my message. This game is great nothing against it the only thing that you will find this game boring is if you are the kind of person like me who likes trying out different game to find one that will pull you away from your free time. This game could be improved by adding in more alien or making single player skirmish so you can hone your skills before heading straight on into a server. The game becomes repetitive and plain as you play on if they are willing to update with new species or tech for the marine it would be nice.
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5 of 11 people (45%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 3
Bite + Marine's Tush = Natural Selection
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