An immersive, multiplayer shooter that pits aliens against humans in a strategic and action-packed struggle for survival!
User reviews: Very Positive (5,259 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 (107)

September 3

Update 269 Released!

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

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

“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)

Fixed Editor volumes missing the size parameter.

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

16 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:

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


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

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

    • 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
    • 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
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
136.3 hrs on record
one of the best games
Posted: October 8
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
69.4 hrs on record
Great game - it has come a long way since the early days. Never any mic spammers or children either. Developers, keep up the good work!
Posted: September 24
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
56.4 hrs on record
Natural Selction 2 is a real standout in the FPS-Genre. The two factions play very differently from one another without feeling imbalanced (even though you will meet some players who say differently). Though there is a rather high learning curve, Natural Selection 2 is worth the frustration and failure you may experience at the beginning. Just visit the "Rookie friendly servers" and you will find many players who are willing to help you and explain certain mechanics that will lead to victory for you and your teammates. To me Natural Selection 2 isn’t great only because it’s very different from all the other FPS's out there, but because it does asymmetrical multiplayer so damn well, offering up a variety of experiences in one small game.
Posted: September 26
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
86.6 hrs on record
As someone who never played the predecessor, I can't comment on any similarities or improvements; what I can say, is that this game is one of the most enjoyable multiplayer shooty pew pew games I've played in years.

First off, it looks lovely. Whether you're playing Aliens or Marines, the game has a very nice polished look to it and while the standard map rotation isn't massive, they are well balanced, which is something I have found to be lacking in a lot of similar team based games. The balance is more impressive when you consider that these aren't typical teams, either. Playing as the basic Alien species, the Skulk, gives you the ability to wall walk and hang onto ceilings, making you a perfect ambush predator. Marines can develop jet packs later in the game, allowing them to fly, but both teams have very distinct differences which makes the need for balance more important.

NS2 is also a game which is very hard to 'carry'. Whereas in other games in a similar vein, you can have a random player join your team and absolutely face ♥♥♥♥ the opposite team with seemingly no help from you or your mates, who are in their minds probably sat with their heads up their arses. This is a game where teamwork is absolutely necessary to succeed, and when you do succeed, it is glorious. A win on this game on either team feels amazing, like you've worked your balls off to earn it.

As with every other multiplayer game in existence, you will sometimes get a ♥♥♥♥ team. Sometimes you will be on that team, it happens. Other times you will be on the murdering death squad team and feel like you're a god. A lot of the time this responsibility rests on the team Commander. The Commander will sit in the Hive/Command chair, depending on the team, and will take on a top down view of the map. They are in charge of deploying resources and upgrading abilities/equipment for their team; they also direct their team mates as to where they should push or where the commander thinks they should push. Team synergy between the troops and the commander is vital, and I've not seen that nailed so well before as in this game.

The NS2 community is also very friendly. The first time I decided to play Commander I was a nervous wreck, but I was guided and helped by my team mates and - shock horror - NOT screamed at for my lack of experience. I've been in the odd game where new players are given crap, but the vast majority of games I have played have been with very nice people who are endlessly helpful. Even starting out playing, other players will help if you ask and give you tips as to what to do.

One downside I've found to this game, and it's a major one, is that the player base appears to be dwindling. This means that relatively full games are getting harder to come by, especially later on at night. Many servers are empty and it's a real shame, because this game is a bundle of fun once you get to grips with it, which leads on to my next point.
NS2 has somewhat of a steep learning curve. When I say steep, I mean that it takes a while to get learn the benefits and playstyle of each Alien and also the Marine weaponry and equipment.

I've personally found that this isn't a game where you can just pick a class and play however the hell you want, you have to know what you're doing with certain things otherwise you can be a bit of a spare part. For example, when you play on the Alien team, initially you will spawn as a Skulk. To play the other 'classes', you have to Evolve into them and this is done through your own personal resources which increase as you play, push and kill. The most expensive class, the Onos, is an absolute beast, but new players (and old) can sometimes be seen playing them and just rushing into Marine bases because at first glance you see your massive health pool and think you're an immortal juggernaut. Tactical maneuvres, organised by and with your team, are the key to success in this game and the solo warrior approach simply will not work.

NS2 also offsets potential pitfalls presented by fellow players. Occasionally, you will get a complete and utter turd as your Commander - it happens. Thankfully, you can choose to Eject ♥♥♥♥ty commanders, along with a plethora of other commands such as voting, signalling to your team mates and taunting, amongst others. Team communication is vital in this game so a mic goes a long way for those times when you're getting the ♥♥♥♥ shot out of you and can't type your predicament. Map pinging also helps brings sticky situations to your team mates' and commander's attention.

Overall, awesome game. I only hope that the playerbase gets a revival, because it is a shame that more people don't get to experience the brilliance that is Natural Selection 2.
Posted: September 27
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
780.6 hrs on record
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!
Posted: October 14
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Cool alien game.
Posted: October 13
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.6 hrs on record
It is unfortunate that in today's world despite the astounding technological advancemnts 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 cleancut 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 reccomended 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 inital 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 accesible 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.
Posted: October 17
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
25.5 hrs on record
It's fun, Love the idea of RTS mixing with FPS tho I believe I will leave the RTS to the RTS lovers and stick to what I do best and that is ankle biting or shooting ankle biters in the face.
Posted: September 22
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.3 hrs on record
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.
Posted: October 7
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
nice game ever, :)
Posted: September 28
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
The linux version is totally unstable for now
Posted: September 27
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Bite + Marine's Tush = Natural Selection
Posted: October 3
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
50.9 hrs on record
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.
Posted: October 3
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
136.5 hrs on record
Great fps shooter, dynamic and tactical game. Lots of game-changes during play of however the teams perform.
Posted: October 1
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.8 hrs on record
It's okay
Posted: October 23
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Game would not run for me

Posted: September 28
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
38.6 hrs on record
10/10 would pay 60 dollars
Posted: September 26
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6 of 12 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Great gameplay, horrible optimization.

As much as I want to recommend this game, I honestly can't.

Why? Because as good as the gameplay is, there is simply too much lag to even hope to find an enjoyable experience within this game.

You may think that's due to poor specs or some such thing, but it isn't. I can list my specs right here:

Graphics Processing Unit: AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 GB

Central Processing Unit: AMD FX-8350 8-Core @ 4.02 GHz

Random Access Memory: 16 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 2100 Module

Harddrive: RAID-0 Dual 1 TB High-Performance Harddrives, 20,000 RPM

Power Supply Unit: 850 Watt Corsair CMPSU-850AX

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 -- AMD 970

I tried the game on maxed out settings, and had extreme lag. So what do I do? I try the absolute lowest settings. Obviously, specs like mine should be able to run this game on low at the very least, right? Wrong! Oddly enough, the game runs at the same exact low framerate on low that it did on high.

I don't encounter this problem on any other game that I own (not even games like Crysis 2 and Bioshock Infinite on max settings!), so I have a feeling this is something to do with the game itself.

I've tried toying with the settings, but achieved nothing in the way of improving the framerate. In addition to this horrid framerate, the game can take quite some time to load.

It was exactly the same when I tried the game a long time ago, so clearly this isn't some problem that is going to eventually be fixed.

If you're willing to go through the framerate issues, you can find a really enjoyable game here, as the gameplay is excellent. But otherwise, I suggest avoiding this game, as good as the gameplay may be.
Posted: October 16
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Initializing game too long
Posted: October 20
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
470.6 hrs on record
good gam
Posted: October 9
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