179 people found this review helpful 6 people found this review funny
14.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 18, 2017
The name of the game is assymetric gameplay.
Yep, you have aliens on one side and marines on the other. Completely different factions.
For those that haven't read the description of the game, this is basically a combination of rts and fps. One player on each team players as the commander and takes care of RTS stuff. The goal of the game is to basically destroy the other team's base.
As i said, both factions play differently. What I mean is unit composition. Aliens mostly fight in close combat, can run on walls, fly, turn invisible. While marines get assault rifles, shotguns, jetpacks, exo suits, flamethrowers.
But what i love the most about this game is the pacing. The games can take long - 30/45/60 mins, and at first you start out as a basic grunt, only with your assault rifle or the basic alien. As the game progresses, the commander will be giving all sorts of goodies to the team - better weapons, more alien spicies, passive upgrades. All that gives this game a MOBA feel. That sense of getting stronger as the game progresses. How early, mid and late game are so different.
The game also has really cool atmosphere. Personally, i just love the Alien, and the developers have numerously referenced the alien franchise. The way marines look is pretty much a 100% copy of the aliens movies, and the aliens while not looking like xenomorphs, are still pretty damn good. Mostly importantly they play like predators. Like they are in control and can attack you at any moment.
Since this is part RTS, there is a resource war. Marines need to first turn on power in the sector to get the resources from that zone, while aliens don't. Being a marine in a sector that has no power is pretty scary. And as i said, aliens can become invisible far later into the game. That really adds to the tension, considering that they can jump on you even from the ceiling.
I really like this game. We really need more assymetric multiplayer games.
Very fun first person shooter/real time strategy game crossover. The objective is to destroy all enemy bases.
It is Aliens vs. Marines, each side has unique controls, weapons, and strategies.
Each player has a first person view, and each team has 1 commander who has a top down view like a real time strategy game, directing the players on the field and giving them support and supplies when needed. A person should first understand the game and all units and structures, learn basic strategy, and play the game for a week or so before attempting to play as the commander.
A mic silent game of Natural selection 2 is not a good thing. A player should always speak up if they want an upgrade from the commander, or see an opening for an attack. Do not stay silent and assume your commander or other players see what you see. The more information you share with your team, the better. I have seen countless matches where a team has control of almost all of the map, but end up losing, because they think that they've already won and don't need to communicate anymore. Slowly, the enemy team just wins all the fights and takes back the entire map.
This game also has good mod support, with some nice alternative game types, including one similar to gungame from counterstrike, where you simply try to destroy the enemy base, and you get upgrades and get better lifeforms through spending points. You get those points by killing enemies.
This game has a learning curve, you can't just jump in and start winning. It will take a lot of practice before you become good.
If you were thinking about buying it, you should definitely go for it. If you stick to the game past the learning curve, you will have loads of fun. Plus, the developers are still supporting it with free, very frequent updates, with new content such as new units and weapons, bug fixes and better optimization.
268 people found this review helpful 4 people found this review funny
19.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 17, 2014
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 hand 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.
133 people found this review helpful 12 people found this review funny
70.7 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.
-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
864 people found this review helpful 27 people found this review funny
292.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 26, 2015
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. It's 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.
23 people found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
52.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2017
I just bought the game, mind you - I'll edit in time if I feel something has changed about my opinion. So, my first experience with NS2 is as follows.
I hop into a server as a scrub marine. The commander is a calm as the ocean dude. I'm running around chasing some space dogs, trying all the weapons, jetpacks, etc. 40+ minutes later, Comm decides to coordinate an attack on the alien hive. As we all blast inside and I get myself an Exosuit -with railguns, because I think I'm hot ****- and mayhem ensues, Comm serenades as with 'Strangers in the Night', voice down pat. We win the raid. 10/10 would get commanded by Frank Sinatra again.
On a serious note, other than the price tag (for personal reasons, not that it was THAT expensive) I was hesitant of buying the game because I found the repeated sentiment about how the community was toxic, deterring - playing CSGO does that to you. I was still lowkey interested and often checked on the game, until the sales kicked in and we grabbed a 4-Pack as a squad. I by no means have the time nor experience to judge so far, but before I move on to more technical territory, I'd like to address the issue about the community. As you might know, both forces -Aliens and Marines- have a Commander assigned to them. The Commander has access to a top-level overview of the map, and can assign build orders for various structures, offer immediate assistance to ground forces and most importantly, coordinate attacks. Now think back to your typical competitive multiplayer FPS, : often times, simply trying to coordinate a rush between 5 people with a rifle, a pistol and a couple of grenades can get frustrating. The Commander in NS2 has to: issue build orders, heal players, provide assistance, keep tabs on enemy activity, coordinate forces, teach rookies and many more. So yes, there is some elitism both among Commanders and experienced troops, but it will rarely result in insults and flaming and overall toxicity. On the contrary, I find that it instills a certain level of realism and roleplay in the game - real-life commanders rarely sweet talk troops. So, just be friendly, humble, and listen to what the more experienced players say.
For a summary of the game, I have listed below its pros and cons.
Original, deep, asymmetric gameplay with a variety of options
Good graphics and environmental design, and good optimization - I get 80+ FPS on an 8-year-old system
Refined controls, smooth movement
Good tutorial and hints during gameplay
Knowledgable community, happy to help most of the time (if you put in the effort)
Playing as a commander can be daunting or outright impossible for newcomers
Netcode could use some work; general connectivity issues
This is one of the most unique games that I've played in quite some time. The community is small, and the learning curve is steep. Once you get past those, and fight in some balanced matches, you'll be hooked. Admittedly, the skill gap between players can be drastic and result in some very one sided matches. There are servers out there they do a pretty good job of evenly matching up teams, but you'll have to do some digging.
49 people found this review helpful 4 people found this review funny
2,388.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 15, 2016
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. Pros
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.
Community 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
Gameplay 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.
Background 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.