My first real time with Natural Selection 2

Posted by ImpureAscetic (40 posts) -

To be perfectly clear, I'm writing this after a single game of Natural Selection 2. A single, sublime game.  
 
I first heard about natural selection from Tycho at Penny Arcade, and it sounded like the perfect mix: two wildly different teams playing an objective-based first-person shooter with two players acting as a resource supplying, structure building commander. The original game was a Half-Life mod, and the graphics have stood up about as well as you'd imagine. Still, the core concept is so delicious that I had to try out the newest iteration for myself. I pre-ordered NS2 several months ago so I could have access to the beta... 
 
... and I almost immediately crashed to desktop. This happened over about eight builds.  
 
Why do I keep it in my Steam games? Because I'm that interested in the successful execution of the concept. I love the idea of a commander calling the shots of an FPS, which is why I loved Battlefield 2 and 2142 so much. Mixing that with wildly different sides-- a formula that seems to have worked out well for Blizzard and the ____craft games-- seems like a godsend.  
 
And for the most part it was. I ran to the Alien side and was quickly thrust into the body of the Natural Selection grunt unit, a bullet soak who can climb up walls and use ventilation ducts for surprise attacks. Even after the commander planted the structures that let me turn into more powerful units, I tended to prefer this initial unit because it let me feel like I was an Alien style alien. Over the course of the next TWO HOURS the marines and aliens played a bloody tug-of-war over resources, with the final points going to the Marines because they had built robots who themselves built turrets that our guys could not successfully vanquish with enough speed. 
 
If any of the above sounds interesting, you should check out Natural Selection 2. It's far from complete. Our side was truly screwed when the turrets were grouped because we had no area attack weaponry like the rockets and grenades the marines were using. My build only became stable some time recently. The engine is showing its age. And the game took for frigging EVER. I'm accustomed to Street Fighter and Magic: the Gathering matches. It's been a while since a single match of anything took two hours. What's more, our side had a competent commander who was directing us with military precision. Under a bad command the game would either take five times as long or be over five times faster. Not sure.  
 
I'm giving the downsides their due, but I really think Natural Selection is worth your time and money. I've been playing tons of shooters that never really offer a different vantage point, and while NS has a lot of flaws it really stands out from other objective-based shooters like Brink that pretend to offer variation on shooter gameplay but rarely provide a compelling enough experience to draw you away from whatever your standard person killing simulator is. 

#1 Posted by ImpureAscetic (40 posts) -

To be perfectly clear, I'm writing this after a single game of Natural Selection 2. A single, sublime game.  
 
I first heard about natural selection from Tycho at Penny Arcade, and it sounded like the perfect mix: two wildly different teams playing an objective-based first-person shooter with two players acting as a resource supplying, structure building commander. The original game was a Half-Life mod, and the graphics have stood up about as well as you'd imagine. Still, the core concept is so delicious that I had to try out the newest iteration for myself. I pre-ordered NS2 several months ago so I could have access to the beta... 
 
... and I almost immediately crashed to desktop. This happened over about eight builds.  
 
Why do I keep it in my Steam games? Because I'm that interested in the successful execution of the concept. I love the idea of a commander calling the shots of an FPS, which is why I loved Battlefield 2 and 2142 so much. Mixing that with wildly different sides-- a formula that seems to have worked out well for Blizzard and the ____craft games-- seems like a godsend.  
 
And for the most part it was. I ran to the Alien side and was quickly thrust into the body of the Natural Selection grunt unit, a bullet soak who can climb up walls and use ventilation ducts for surprise attacks. Even after the commander planted the structures that let me turn into more powerful units, I tended to prefer this initial unit because it let me feel like I was an Alien style alien. Over the course of the next TWO HOURS the marines and aliens played a bloody tug-of-war over resources, with the final points going to the Marines because they had built robots who themselves built turrets that our guys could not successfully vanquish with enough speed. 
 
If any of the above sounds interesting, you should check out Natural Selection 2. It's far from complete. Our side was truly screwed when the turrets were grouped because we had no area attack weaponry like the rockets and grenades the marines were using. My build only became stable some time recently. The engine is showing its age. And the game took for frigging EVER. I'm accustomed to Street Fighter and Magic: the Gathering matches. It's been a while since a single match of anything took two hours. What's more, our side had a competent commander who was directing us with military precision. Under a bad command the game would either take five times as long or be over five times faster. Not sure.  
 
I'm giving the downsides their due, but I really think Natural Selection is worth your time and money. I've been playing tons of shooters that never really offer a different vantage point, and while NS has a lot of flaws it really stands out from other objective-based shooters like Brink that pretend to offer variation on shooter gameplay but rarely provide a compelling enough experience to draw you away from whatever your standard person killing simulator is. 

#2 Posted by BitterAlmond (422 posts) -

Hmm. I'm trying to decide whether to pick this thing up; maybe I will after reading this. After playing another six months since writing this, how does it hold up?

#3 Posted by ImpureAscetic (40 posts) -

Late responses are the best responses!

The population is incredibly sparse. I think it's a marvelous game and idea hobbled by an insanely long development cycle. Wait for release. Hopefully a real community will help the game survive.

#4 Posted by AbeBroHamLincon (92 posts) -

it is fun but im betting that they dont launch NS 2 v 1.0 this summer like they said. Still needs a lot of balance marines still need exo skeleton unit many small getting stuck bugs/things that wont work if done in wrong order. basic polish of setting and such. there at like 90% ish.

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