A fast paced multiplayer shooter that pits aliens against humans in a strategic and action-packed struggle for survival!
User reviews: Very Positive (6,537 reviews)
Release Date: Oct 30, 2012

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Recommended By Curators

"A team based FPS with some strategy elements. A lot of fun that relies on teamwork whether your the Marines or the Aliens."

Recent updates View all (112)

January 31

Update 274 Released



It's common knowledge that Natural Selection 2 has no bugs, issues, or problems.* It has never had any bugs. Ever. Fact. Full stop. Ok, maybe a few... And maybe Update 273 had a few too many. Some say that Onoses (Onii? Onosii?) were very upset by seriousr problems with their damage type.

Never fear though, Update 274 has arrived quickly from the Community Development Team, and it addresses some major issues that crept into the game in 273! Enjoy!

*This statement may not be entirely accurate.

Changelog

Remove erroneous file exists check in particle handling (fixes Shotgun & other bad hitching)
Ensure servers actually try to update all mods on changemap
Remove curl progress reporting spamming server consoles
Fixed damage types; Onos, bile bomb, Flamethrower, axe & Welder. (Onos were upset. Not good.)
Fixed lua error on linux for users with certain locale settings

14 comments Read more

January 22

Update 273 Live!



Natural Selection 2 has just received its first update for 2015, courtesy of the Community Development Team. Read all the details in their release blog post!

Changelog

Improvement
Added ability to click on a player’s row in the scoreboard to check their Steam/Hive profiles
Added option to mute Text chat
Added icon to the scoreboard indicating if someone is your friend on Steam
Made it so the scoreboard shortens the player name if it overlaps
Muting a player’s voice/text chat will last 6 hours so it’s persistent across map changes
Rookies will always show the “(rookie)” tag in chat even if they’re not in your own team
Spectators are now sorted above ReadyRoom players
Dropping structures as a Marine Commander will display the location name and status of the Power Node for the structure
Missing files will now show up in the log instead of being silently ignored
Added a new variant of Alien Vision based on Huzes’ AV – Thanks Huze!
Added no_ip material which disallows placement of Infantry Portals on this surface
Added a separate bind for movement override for commander
Added consistency checking for hmp files

Fixes
Stop sounds from playing on destroyed entities
Stop Insert from running destructors on uninitialized memory
Linux should now support non-ascii
Fixed being able to tell who’s the enemy Commander by their chat color
Fixed that commanders bots did not work or got kicked by the AFK kick
Fixed that the Alien Buy-Menu messed up with some translations (e.g. Russian)
Fixed embryos not having a taunt in the ready room
Fixed Babblers being invisible when cloaked by a shade
Fixed menu being unresponsive if mousing over webview while a window was loading
Fixed sending blank chat messages causing messages to overlap
Fixed being able to place an IP in eclipse where you shouldn’t be able to

Steam
Prototype – Added Utils\WorkshopBackup, a simple server to allow servers ops to add backup download for mods. See ns2\utils\workshopbackup\readme.txt for details.
Added support for servers to point clients to a list of backup servers and clients to download from backup instead of Steam
Backup servers also solves the problem of the server running an old version of a mod
Fixed bug that required all http request to finish inside 15 seconds
Made clients more stubborn when it comes to requesting downloading mods (10 retries)
Improved progress reporting

Performance
Relevance calculation offloaded from main server thread, freeing up about 5-15% main thread CPU. It is now recommended to run the server on at least 2 cores.
Servers running close to the edge will now show up as Loaded in the performance browser

Known Issue
The progress indication on mod download is broken – it stays zero until download complete. Late build blocker forced a revert, should be fixed in 274

Maps
Removed holiday themed ready rooms

Kodiak
Fixed stuck spot in hangar bay vent for fades

Eclipse
Fixed FPS problem in access alpha

Docking
Removed random pipe prop in locker room

16 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

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's 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 Commander like nano-shields and catalyst packs 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 (2014), it has received a major update, on average, once per month! These updates are created by the Community Development Team, supported by Unknown Worlds.

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 Wallpapers and Avatars - Unique views of the NS2 universe by artist Rantology
Exclusive in-game marine model - A new marine model with custom visor and armor plating

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. While both teams fight each other in first person, two commanders look down on the battlefield in a top-down Real Time Strategy view. These Commanders can issue orders, build structures, collect resources, research technology, and deploy abilities to help their team overcome the enemy.

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
645 of 750 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
292.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 26
A missed opportunity. That's all I can call it.

NS2 isn't a bad game. In fact, despite not personally recommending it, I still think it is a good game. The problem is that it isn't a game I can recommend to others. If you look at my hours I'm not someone who hasn't given the game a chance. In fact, I beta tested the original NS1 mod. When NS2 was announced and they asked for help to fund it, I purchased a few copies of Zen of Sudoku (another game they produced). Then, when they were near finished NS2, I pre-purchased the game, sight unseen, long before release.

So I do support the game and the makers. I just can't recommend it anymore. Why? Well the answer can be found in the game's development.

The big failure of the game is exactly what happened with NS1. Basically the developers allowed a small--but vocal and intolerant--minority of players dictate the direction of gameplay development. These 'pros', are basically the people and clanners who play games competitively and/or in tournaments. Now I can see wanting to appeal to the 'pro' gamers as a means to generate interest, but there needs to be a balance between competitive and casual play. Sadly, there never was.

In the end, the difficulty and learning curve puts this game well out of reach of all but the veterans. New players are quickly steamrolled and wonder how the heck it happened. What's worse is that they released the game without a trainer or tutorial mode. While there is a basic 'sandbox' mode that helps to get a player acclimated to the game before they play, it's too little too late.

I saw this all happen in NS1, and it saddened me when it happened here. The competitive gamers basically co-opt the game, and casual players are forced to play at that high level or they don't play at all. In my opinion, the logical way to develop the game would have been to introduce a 'tournament mode', with increased difficulty, for those dedicated players. It could have been finely tuned to appeal directly to their form of play, while still leaving the game with a 'casual' player base that could actually play the game. Unfortunately, the developers objected to this concept suggesting they didn't want there to be 'two games'. But the reality is that difficulty levels are part of gaming. That doesn't make it "two games", it makes it one game with two difficulty levels.

With the development team basically abandoning casual players, this basically meant that no matter how many sales they made, the new players never stuck around. If you look at the history of the game, you will see that from the release in late October 2012 until the end of 2012, there was a large player base that bought the game and was playing. Since everyone was still learning, it meant there was the potential for developers to cater to that casual player base and build their numbers further. Instead, they went the other way, abandoning the casual player base in favor of the competitive and tournament players.

Over on Steamcharts you can see just how the game started strong and then flamed out in a spectacular fashion. ( steamcharts.com/app/4920 ) The all-time peak number of players online was just a bit shy of 10K. At time of writing there were ~200 playing. It's sad, it really is, since this could have been a much better overall game.

The nail in the coffin for this game was when development for 'game balance' was put in the hands of volunteers. Since the game is easy to modify (in the LUA scripts), balance changes didn't have to be hard coded into the game. As such, a bunch of people who felt they 'knew better' how the game should be developed were able to markedly influence balance changes by verbally bullying anyone who disagreed with them. Anyone who dared question those who wanted to make the game harder were verbally ridiculed and harassed. The game forums became toxic as a result, and casual players began their exodus.

Well, those competitive players got what they wanted. The game is exactly how they said it should be balanced. Too bad there is hardly anyone left playing now.

What's worse is that the more appealing elements of the game--the highest level 'upgrades'--only show up when the outcome of the game is predetermined. (which happens within the first few minutes) Users who look and see the marine 'mech' robots and the 'rhino-size' alien don't realize that they will likely rarely if ever get to play them.

This game is a good example of what *not* to do when developing a game. While I can see the appeal of competitive gaming to a game like this, it can't be at the expense of casual gamers. Otherwise you kill the potential for the game to grow. Look at TF2. A game that is 'easy', but that can be hard based on the skill of the players. That could have been how NS2 ended up. Instead, the game is harder than ever. What's worse is that they added a ranking system to which isolates players based on skill. New players will find game choices limited as a result.

Simple example of a poor balance choice? In TF2, if you need to get health, you can pick up health kits (on the field or in spawn) and also be healed by the doctor. In NS2 it used to be you could go to 'spawn' and heal up fully (health and armor) at the armory--like a med cabinet in TF2 spawn--and you could get health-only medkit drops in the field. If one was away from spawn, armor could only be repaired with a welder. (like a medigun, except anyone could carry one if they bought it.) However, the competitive complainers cabal (I love alliteration) pressured the person doing balance work to make it so the armory would no longer heal players. In other words, once you lost armor you needed to be welded, and you can't weld yourself--other players have to do it. The outcome of this change was that it made it that much harder for players to stay alive unless they are highly skilled.

In the end, I still play NS2, and I would recommend it to anyone who I felt had the skill to survive. However, there aren't very many people who fit that description.

Unless you are someone who considers themselves an exceptionally good FPS player, I would advise you give the game a pass unless it is deeply discounted and you're willing to take the chance the game may not be fun for you.

While NS2 is--on the surface--a good game, it missed its chance to be a great one.
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37 of 54 people (69%) found this review helpful
1,344.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 27
This game is fast-paced, unique, challenging and incredibly rewarding, because even after hundreds of hours of playtime, you still make progress and learn new things. No two matches are alike, and - if you're willing to spend the initial time required to get familiar with the concept - you'll find yourself playing a game that's balanced, and where teamwork is the winning factor in your play.

If you're the person that likes games where strategy matters and teamplay & communication are more valuable than just individual skill, this is for you.

If you're the person that likes a mature community and player base (...we all know there are exceptions everywhere) where you actually talk to the opposing team after the match is over, complimenting them on their play and/or discussing the previous round, this is definitely for you.

However: If you're the solo-rambo kind of guy who likes to be on top of the score list and not be dependent on anything or anyone: Don't buy this. You will not like this.
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31 of 51 people (61%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
The twitchy gun play is off putting at first in NS2, but you soon get used to it. This game is very team based, and it's the best feeling when your team finally just clicks. Sadly though, a bad team can ruin the game play experience completely. One player is given the role as 'commander', this play will play the game in an RTS view, giving out orders, building structures etc, the rest of the team will play in FPS mode.

There is plenty of different weapons for the Marines, where as the Aliens transform into different creatures, ranging from a scuttling little dog like alien, to a giant rhino beast.

The levels are perfect arena, the lighting and ambient effects make it feel even more realistic. The top notch graphics and a really good engine, Spark.

Load times are absolutely terrible. Logging into a server took me five minutes each time. This is reported across the board. Apart from this, I had no technical problems. Zero lag in game, which is must given the twitchy gun-play mechanics.

I really enjoyed this game, but one that has to be played on mic and with a team of people you know.
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16 of 25 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
59.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 9
This game is really fun to play with friends and is a good mix between RTS and FPS.
200/100 would buy again.
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
23.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
I really do not know why people give this game a bad review! its fantastic game! People claim it has a "steep" learning curve. Don't listen to that. Its ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥. I just got the game and I (kinda) know what to do! This game is a lot, I mean A LOT better with friends! Get a group of like 4-5 guys and you got a awesome squad! And for $9.99? This game is worth it. Hell, if they raised it to $19.99 (Please don't Dev's!) I would still buy and recommend this beautiful, action packed, great game!
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