A fast paced multiplayer shooter that pits aliens against humans in a strategic and action-packed struggle for survival!
User reviews:
Very Positive (7,485 reviews) - 84% of the 7,485 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 30, 2012

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Recent updates View all (128)

April 19

Update 295 Released!

Keeping in tune with our weekly releases is key to our continued work on NS2. What’s great about this schedule is that we can make tweaks and improvements across all aspects of the game, get real world feedback on gameplay and then just a few days later release more fine tuning and even more changes. Throughout these last few months, some of our experiments and changes have worked out better than we’d ever thought…and sometimes they don’t. However, what’s true is that we continue to push forward and try new exciting things.

Update 295 begins our movement towards a continued shakeup from the norm of NS2 gameplay. We are always looking for ways to simplify and also spice up gameplay throughout the game. Another great improvement comes from our good friend Matso in the way of some additional network updates that will hopefully improve the experience for those of you having redplug issues.

Lastly, thank you again to our awesome community. We recently re-launched the NS2 Translation site and have already gotten a lot of great submissions from people from all over the world. You can help the cause by visiting translate.naturalselection2.com! Our community is so rich with talent and it does not go unnoticed. We have some exciting things to come over the next few weeks and can’t wait for you to get your hands onto it, plus remember you can access the beta branch any time you want to see what’s going on behind the scenes of the next update.


Tweaks / Improvements

Ragdolls will dissolve faster and be colorized faster to give more feedback that they are dead already and you can stop shooting
Hitsounds will be enabled by default for new players so marines get better feedback when shooting aliens
New item pop-ups will no longer show for duplicates
Updated the in-game fonts to better support Latin Extended A chars (Thanks navazka)
NS2 now remembers the last selected server browser tab and will reselect it as soon as the server list has been fetched.
Gamemode server browser tabs now display the amount of players of the given mode.
Removed unique popup warning about gameplay issues on large servers
Warning popup for operating outside recommended settings changed
Will show if server exceeds 24 player slots as well as if network settings have been changed from default
Warning message will not show for servers you have favorited
“Never Show Again” option removed for rookies
Your nickname in NS2 will now automatically update with changes to your Steam name (this can be disabled from the options menu, under General -> Keep Same As Steam)
When failing to connect to a server due to reserved slots or because of having been banned, you will now be told so more explicitly
Added disconnect reasons for wrong build numbers, to make patch day less confusing for players
Default server moverate reduced from 30 to 26. This restores it to approximately what it was prior to build 279, and should help server performance
Servers will report now the sum of the median and standard deviation of all player skill rating as average player skill. This should make the skill row of the server browser more reliable.
Removed over 200 no longer used game strings to help our community translators. Feel free to help us localizing the game at http://translate.naturalselection2.com/


Fixed issue where moverate was being improperly calculated, potentially causing a client to send an excessive number of moves after returning from being alt+tabbed, or if their framerate stuttered (Thanks Matso!)
Rookie only server alert message will now be hidden forever when you tell it to be so
Fixed weird behavior with popups when trying to join servers with reserved slots where the same popup would appear more than once


Raised engine hard limit for max players to 99. It is still recommended to stay under 24
Servers can now supply a refuse reason in the CheckConnectionAllowed callback

7 comments Read more

April 15

Update 294 + More

Natural Selection 2 has been receiving an update almost every single week. But you would not know it from looking at out Steam news, because we have been forgetting to post it (Sorry...)! Here is a summary of what's changed in the last four updates, since we last posted to Steam.

Update 294 - April 12th

Tweaks / Improvements

  • Kick reasons are now communicated to the client via the popup in the main menu
  • The “NS2” gamemode tag is now selected by default at the server browser instead of the “All” tab
  • Bots now directly join their team instead of waiting the Ready Room

Medpack Gameplay

  • Decreased direct heal from 50 health points to 25
  • Added a regeneration effect healing 25 health points per second:
  • Each medpack adds 1 sec regeneration
  • Multiple medpacks stack the regeneration time wise until the maximum health is reached
  • The health value regeneration will reach is shown green health bar
  • Lowered the pickup cool down from 0.56 seconds to 0.45


  • Fixed that sometimes a commander bot joined a team in rookie only even though the team already has a human commander.


  • Server can now indicate a kick reason when calling Server.DisconnectClient

Update 293 - April 4th

Tweaks / Improvements
  • Exosuits have had a Quality of Life pass
    • While deploying, your view is no longer locked and you are frozen for less time to better match the animations
    • You can eject instantly, and it will throw you more in the direction you are looking. You can even use it to get to some vents!
    • Subnautica has floodlights, why not NS2? The exo’s flashlight stays on after ejecting, turning it into a very expensive floodlight
    • Parasite state of the exo is tracked separately from a marine, and fixed inconsistencies with this (Thanks Dragon!)
    • Parasite status is now shown on the exo screen next to the armor display
    • You can no longer steal someone’s Exo if they buy a Jetpack until after 30 seconds has passed
    • You can now thrust in any direction
    • If you press the thrust button before the fuel bar is full, as long as you continue to hold it it will thrust when able (similar to how jump-queueing works as a Skulk)
  • Primed power nodes will now unlock if a Command Chair is in the room
  • Changed a few achievements slightly:
    • Lowered the required amount of the "Destroy X Resource Towers" achievements by 5 as it's too unlikely to destroy 15 of them in a single round
    • Constructing 33 % of a structure will count now as having build that structure to avoid race conditions against other team members
    • You also defend a Resource tower now by killing an enemy close to it instead of having to stand close to it yourself
  • Fixed Server Browser not sorting by “Favorites” by default
  • Fixed references to Exosuits as Exoskeletons in some of the hint text and commander UI

Update 292 - March 29th

Tweaks / Improvements
  • Added a bunch of new collectible items you can earn by playing the game or by trading with others. See if you can get all 15!
  • Fixed respawning at random view angles. Your camera view after spawning will now match where you were looking while respawning
  • Fixed that constructing only rewarded 1 instead of 5 score points
  • Fixed that bots counted for the max player check causing players to be unable to join a server


  • All C-style code comments have been refactored to Lua-style (this allows you to use any editor which supports Lua to work with the ns2 code base)
  • Added ability to assign a mod type and a compatibility tag to your mods in Launchpad, while will be displayed in the Workshop and can be used to filter certain mod types.
    • Please update your old mods with tags, especially crosshairs, hitsounds, and alien vision ones!

Want even more? You can also read the Update 291 notes on the Unknown Worlds blog (Steam news won't let me post it all at once...):

Update 291 - March 17th

19 comments Read more


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

About This Game

Natural Selection 2 pits alien against human in an action-packed struggle for survival. Wield devastating weaponry as a Frontiesman marine, or become the xenomorph as a deadly. Kharaa life-form.

Strategy Meets Shooter

Natural Selection 2 is a First Person Shooter and Real Time Stategy game rolled into one! Each team, alien and human, has a Commander. The Commander looks down on the battlefield and issues orders, places structures, collects resources, researches technology, and deploys abilities.

Here are some gameplay examples: A human Commander could drop health packs and ammunition to a trapped marine squad, and deploy sentry guns to help them defend their position. Or an alien Commander could grow a new Hive to spread infestation throughout newly captured territory, allowing more alien eggs to spawn...

Two Unique Sides

Aliens players choose to evolve into one of five lifeforms: The fast, fearsome Skulk can run on walls and deliver massive damage with is jaws. Lerks fly and deploy gasses to support their teammates in battle. Gorges heal other lifeforms and build tunnels, hydra turrets, walls, and other tactical structures. Fades blink in and out of battle, picking off marines with giant scythes. Finally, the giant Onos is so massive and so tough, that even entire marine squads can't take it down.

Marines wield rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, pistols, and other weapons. Cluster grenades can clear ventilation shafts of sneaky Skulks, flamethrowers make short work of alien structures and infestation, and boosts dropped by the Commander increase combat effectiveness.

When attacking on foot doesn't cut it, marines can construct hulking Exosuits wielding miniguns and railguns, and equip jetpacks for high speed assaults on alien Hives.

Long Term Development

Natural Selection 2 receives constant updates. This year, 2016, Unknown Worlds continues to develop new features, content, and improvements.

Mod Tools Come Standard

Natural Selection 2 comes with all the tools we used to make the game. All game code is open source. That means you can create, and play, an endless variety of mods. Publish, share, and download mods from the Steam Workshop, and automatically download mods when you join modded games.

Digital Deluxe Edition

Digital Deluxe Edition includes:

  • Official Soundtrack - 1 hour of tribal, industrial music composed by David John and Simon Chylinski
  • Digital Art Book - 40+ pages of art by Cory Strader, including environments, creatures, weapons and more
  • Exclusive in-game marine model - Exclusive in-game marine model - A new marine model with custom visor and armor plating
  • Exclusive Wallpapers and Avatars - Unique views of the NS2 universe by Amanda Diaz

System Requirements

    • OS:Windows Vista 32-bit
    • Processor:Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.66 GHz) or better
    • Memory:3 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 compatible video card with 1 GB VRAM and support for Shader Model 3 (e.g. AMD X800, NVidia 8600 or better)
    • DirectX®:9.0
    • Hard Drive:12 GB HD space
    • OS:Windows 7 64-bit or newer
    • Processor:Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4 GHz) or better
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 compatible video card with 1.5 - 2 GB VRAM (AMD 5770, NVidia GTX 450 or better)
    • DirectX®:9.0
    • Hard Drive:12 GB HD space
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
Helpful customer reviews
134 of 149 people (90%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
70.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2015
This game, while also being one of my favorites, should be much more recognized by the community. While I understand that game review is subjective as all hell. Many people have shot this game down as it is different. Further concurring on the theory that innovation in video games is not truly desired by video gamers. This game is innovative, becoming it's own genre of video game that Steam does not have a tag for.

Notes about the game(I believe a pros and cons list to be inadequate)
-I, as an experienced StarCraft II player, have found commanding to be enjoyable, but slightly more dumbed down than a regular RTS. This is further multiplied by the simplicity of alien commanding. This, however, makes it easy for new players to pick up commanding

-The FPS action is incredibly tense, with the players having to turn off all other sources of sound or music to listen for footsteps or instructions from the commander.

-One concern I had when first starting was that I only liked playing marines, and I'm sure others have similar issues. I quickly learned that I could easily enjoy playing both sides. One must understand what they enjoy about each team before truly finding enjoyment.

-This game is- in my experience on the NA servers- generally underpopulated. However, as of the Winter sale of 2015-2016, their has been a huge surge of new players, strengthening the community and playerbase.

Helpful tips-

-Be nice to rookies. The one thing that solidified my enjoyment of this game was a kind player urging me to be my best and guiding me when I had just began. A little kindness towards new players can and will strengthen the player base.

-Carry a welder. Welders are cheap, available without any research, and can be truly vital in tense situations. Repairing a friendly's armor, or a marine in an exosuit can mean the difference between winning and losing.

-As a skulk, remember that your life is less valuable than higher life forms. Remember to never be afraid to initiate a fight, with a higher life form like a fade or onos following suit. You will most likely die but you have paved the way for your team to win a fight without losing any important or expensive life forms.

-Conceding can sometimes be the only option. Remember that there is always the option to concede by hitting x, and then selecting concede. Sometimes it is best, when new players join to just start fresh and hope for more even teams.

Final comments-
Natural Selection 2 is a fantastic game, made by fantastic developers that are constantly updating and listening to community feedback.
I would recommend this game to anyone that enjoys fast-paced action, is able to communicate well with others without getting in fights(my brother has this issue), and can be a good loser, because a loss can sometimes be inevitable

Happy Hunting!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
66 of 78 people (85%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
155.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2015
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this game yet after 150+ hours into it. But I have returned from a long hiatus to play this game and again and I thought it was time for a review. In a world filled with boring repetitive multiplayer shooters where you run around like a chicken with their head cut off comes a game like Natural Selection 2. A game that ACTUALLY understands the point of competitive multiplayer. TO WORK AS A TEAM!

You play as Aliens or Marines. The marines are fairly standard and easy to get the hang of. For the most part I’m a rather good marine player. Aliens are trickier and require more practice. While I’m not a great alien player I’m decent-ish. In other words I still manage to get more than 5 kills. Overall the game requires teamwork and strategy opposed to lone wolfing it. If you run off on your own you will die. You need to be supported by your team members. Also the game is farily well balanced as I did not notice any major balance issues.

Highly recommended: 9/10 Great game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
44 of 49 people (90%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
2,368.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
So yeah, you might be looking at my hours and think that i play games way too much, and you would be right.
Natural selection 2 is by far the most enjoyable game i've played, and even when i burn myself out on it, i always find myself coming back.
  • Extremely teamwork orientated

  • Deep and complex gameplay, deceptivly simple, no game ever feels the same, and plays out differently depending on the types of players.

  • You don't have to be a great shot to help out your team in a big way, one player can win the game by constantly preasureing the enemy's undefended resource nodes, starveing them of crucial medpacks and upgrades.

  • Marine commander gameplay is incredibly tense and fast paced, even morso than the shooter part of the game, there is always somthing to do, someone to med, something to research.
  • Extremely varied playstyles for each lifeform and weapon, lerks and fades favour hit & run tactics and kill-focused playstyles, wheras the gorge is almost entirely a support role. Two different commander roles that play completely different. every marine weapon serves a different purpose. Jetpacks change the way marines can engage, and Exos change the way aliens have to engage.

  • Very skill based. there is not many things in this game that can get you kills without some level of skill, and to play decently you need to learn the maps, and have a good memory-map of your surroundings, and be VERY aware of sounds.

  • Sound based gameplay makes it feel different to other games.
    In NS2, oftentimes i'll be calling out what i hear in the next room, or i'll hear a faint click of a skulk, giving away his hiding spot. Hearing the marine reloading, giving you a 2 second window to get some free hits.
    you need to be very aware in this game, and i would say being able to know how many, and exactly where skulks/marines are before you enter a room is the most crucial skill to have.

  • Every game plays out differently

  • Generaly friendly community (at least in AUS, i cannot speak for the rest of the world.)


  • Steep learning curve. the game can take a good amount of time to learn how to play decently, and it is not a game you can pick up casualy and play well in. it takes some amount of time investment to get the most out of Ns2.
    Especially when learning to play aliens, as they play drasticly diffrent to anythnig else from other games. and i would reccomend checking out one of my guide videos here if you want to play alien more effectivly.

  • Rookies cannot just jump into the commander role. Being such a crucial role, many people do not like inexperienced players jumping in without asking first, or someone volunteering to teech them (i do that all the time) so expect to not see that portion of the game for a while unless you use a mic, or someone offers to teach you.
    And on AUS servers, it isn't unheard of to have a rookie command, with someone like myself coaching them.

  • Some players can get quite hostile and newer player, but in my experience it happens far less often on AUS server than on NA ones. that said, don't let it get to you, and try to communicate, i've found it becomes quite hard for some people to yell at someone who has a voice, because suddenly they aren't just words-on-a-screen (same goes for any other game)

  • "Stacking" Though oftentimes, it is unintentional, some amount of games end up with most of the experienced players on one team, making for a very short and unenjoyable game for both parties.
    It is often up to the players to fix the problem, though certain mods do try to deal with the problem (or make it worse in soem cases)
    In AUS, we may try to pick teams manually, and swap a few players around to improve the balance a little. to avoid these sorts of games, but when people aren't willing the game can get quite frustrating.


I wholeheartedly reccomend this game to anyone that enjoys communicating and working with other people. as well as strategy, and fast paced shooters. this game has it all, and no other game is as addicting as ns2 to me :D

I have some more detailed notes on some of the topics above, but i am running out of time, so i'll leave it to you to read them if you so wish.

In the negative reviews, one of the main complaints i see is of the "toxic" community, and the low playerbase.
I can't speak for the other parts of the world, but in AUS, everyone knows each other, and as long as rookies make an effort to listen, and take advice, and even better, use a mic or type back! no-one treats them any different.

And even in aus, where the playerbase can't be any more than 100 people, there is ALWAYS a server running in peak times, the playerbase of this game is small, but dedicated, and new faces can only make it better.

In fact, myself and a few others often go out of our way to help teach rookies the basics, and try to pull them through the games steep learning curve (i'll get to that later)

Learning the game
Probebly the biggest reason for many rookies not enjoying the game is the steep learning curve, which is only made more difficult recently, because a large majoraty of the playerbase are well experienced (especially AUS servers) and how crucial teamwork and listening to your team can be.

Don't buy this game expecting to be able to go rambo-mode and ignore your team, you WILL die a LOT. oftentimes, rookies in their first 10 hours will get little to no kills each game, but DO NOT let that discourage you, if you can manage to get past the inital hardships, you will enjoy the game more and more, trust me.

on a side note, to anyone wanting to learn how to play aliens more effectivly, i DO have some helpful material on my youtube channel here. here

The gameplay of Ns2 is incredibly deep and complex to the new player, the "classes" alone take a long time to master, and you will never be able to master them all, you will always be better at one type of weapon/lifeform than another.

The gameplay is heavily focused on map control, and coordination between team members, if one team is too agressive, even if they are slaughtering the enemy team, one or two palyers destroying resource nodes in the unprotected side of the map can quicly turn the tide, but that requires quick reaction time, and coordination.

A player does not need to be getting kills to be useful, they only need to be where the enemy isn't, hitting res nodes is very important, and if one team holds more than 4 nodes for too long the game can start to snowball and one side will gain late game teach early, and the only option may be a last ditch base rush or a concede vote.

I first started playing the game way back in Dec 2012 and have been playing it on and off since then, but it wasn't until i got an average computer setup in Jun 2014, thus being able to play with higher than 20fps...
Then being invited into a competitive team, and learning the finer points of the game, and drasticly improving my own performance. recently? i've taken to recording Ns2 games (among other things) to my youtube channel as a kind of hobby, and i'm one of the few youtube channels still around doing so.

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
48 of 71 people (68%) found this review helpful
59 people found this review funny
1,855.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2015
Probably worth $5
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
23 of 30 people (77%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
2,297.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2015
Good game, with a very-high skill ceiling.
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