Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2 is a fascinating blend of FPS & RTS

6:30 PM on 06.15.2012 // Steven Hansen
  @dtoidsteven

Natural Selection was one of the most popular mods for Half-Life, but Natural Selection 2 is a full-blown retail game -- and a wonderfully positive success story of modders growing into full-fledged developers with their own studio. It hasn’t been easy, of course, but incredibly strong community support has allowed the guys at Unknown Worlds to keep making the game they want to make. Additionally, Perfect World has picked them up, funded them further, and all without exercising any creative control.

I’m generally not one for competitive multiplayer games, let alone first-person shooters, but I totally dug my time with Natural Selection 2. It’s a game seemingly tailor made for its fans and though I wasn’t able to get into a properly filled, hectic multiplayer match, I found the game plenty accessible to new players.


Natural Selection 2 (PC)
Developer: Unknown Worlds
Publisher: Perfect World
Release:  Late Summer 2012

The first thing that drew me to Natural Selection 2 was the aliens. The first trailer I saw for the game showed alien-on-human combat, which piqued my interest, partially because it’s simply more interesting than most human-on-human bullet fests, but also because the idea of controlling nonhuman things without guns in first-person against people with guns isn’t a thing that is frequently done successfully.

Well, I was delighted to find out that the aliens in Natural Selection 2 are super cool and control well. There are five entirely distinct alien units, the strongest of which take some work to unlock in a match and take additional time evolving into. When you change your alien type, you’re housed in a fleshy, translucent membrane until your newest incarnation is born; obviously a precarious situation to be in with jerkface humans running around shooting up the place.

Also, most of the aliens have hilariously thick tongues just hanging from their mouths in first-person view, and the tongues all bounce up when your aliens jump, landing back down in place with a squelching thud. I thought it was delightful.

The base alien, which reminds me of Borderlands’ Skags, is a quick little bugger who has the distinct ability to run on walls and crawl through levels’ ventilation systems (Aliens!). They’re even similarly named: Skulk. Next are the adorably grotesque Gorge, which trot around ploddingly like Eeyore with a potbelly. They can take ranged pot shots at enemy players to distract them, but their main focus is their ability to excrete a mist that speeds the development bases and all the other RTS contrivances.

Next, we have the Lerk, which fly around stages, unleashing both projectiles and clouds of murky, poisonous mist. These took the longest to get a hang of, but I was soon gliding majestically through narrow corridors and reigning death from above. The Fade are basically devastating Kabutops capable of sneaking up to unsuspecting players and cutting them to shreds. Lastly, we have the big daddy alien, the Onos, which can totally wreck your day. Though they have a devastating gore and debilitating area of effect stomp, they’re actually best used as bullet sponges that draw the enemy’s attention and put everything into a state of disarray.

The humans are also pretty cool guys, but undoubtedly less interesting to talk about. Like the aliens, they want to take and hold key points on the map, but expand through technological means. And they do have some cool technology; for instance, the human RTS leader drops heaps of metal into the field that you have to build by pulling out something that sort of reminds me of those guns you use to scan things for a bridal (catalog? gift list? wedding gift list?). Of course, using it requires you put your gun down, so you occasionally have to decide between shooting the incoming alien menace or building up resources in tense situations. The humans also get jetpacks, which is awesome.

Playing the aliens was definitely my favorite aspect of Natural Selection 2, but the expansive RTS elements are the most fascinating. Effectively, any player can jump into the command hub at your team’s base and start managing resources, expanding your team’s control over maps, and set objectives and waypoints for other players -- all sorts of things.

Only one person can be in this mode at a time and game director Charlie Cleveland hinted at restricting the command position to players with a bit more experience, just to keep someone who knows what they’re doing in charge of this pivotal element of the game.

Theoretically, the RTS mode, aside from being an incredibly unique meld of mechanics, can solve one of the biggest problems of objective-based, team-based competitive multiplayer. Undoubtedly, there will be people who ignore way points and general direction from the omnipotent power looking over the entire map, but it’s a great way to offer to direction to willing newcomers who want to contribute, but don’t quite know the ins and outs of the game. The potential for it working is increased by the established user base and relative niche of the game as well.

Of course, that intriguing dynamic aside, the RTS mode was quite fascinating to me, as someone who doesn’t really play RTS games. Seeing actual, human-controlled players faffing about below your ascendant perch in the heavens is rather neat. I relished going through the options presented to me: deciding which structures to build; expanding the organic alien territory through its cysts and fauna; choosing which team-wide abilities to focus on; etc. While it was quite novel for me, I recognized enough depth, both through fiddling with things and from Cleveland’s explanations of all the systems at play

Currently, Natural Selection 2 is running anywhere from 5-on-5 to 10-on-10 matches, though even larger battles may come down the line. While the levels are large enough to give use to the RTS mode, the RTS accommodations take up plenty of space, along with the aliens and humans running about.

Given that both sides will frequently end up converging on certain points of interest, gameplay shouldn’t see too much downtime. I’m pretty sold on what Natural Selection 2 is doing. It has an intriguing gameplay premise with aliens that play well. Now I just need to pray my incompetent computer will run it. And maybe convince some friends to ravage humanity with me.



Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Natural Selection 2


  Nov 11

Natural Selection 2 World Championship gets some help

Nvidia and Intel help the community tournament


  Oct 16

Natural Selection 2 community to start a tournament

Developers and the community team up to bring players together


  Jul 04

Natural Selection 2 adding female marine as free update

For many players, she'll be a natural selection


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


With The Sudden Outbreak of Resident Evil Remasters...

Shouldn't gaming be more than a digital tableau?

Avengers Academy is a diseased freemium abscess on the taint of mobile gaming

Persona 4 Golden and Positivity

Cblogs of 02/06/16 and 02/07/16 + Lane to Lane Combat within the Storm

What is Metroidvania?

Wanna Bet? Fall 2015 Finale

Conquest of Elysium 4 - Review

The PlayStation Vita: Twice as Bright

Video Gaming Bits -- Magical Date: Doki Doki Kokuhaku Daisakusen

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
Street Fighter 5 is coming out soon umm Dibs
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Too lazy to put all my favorite Pokemon/Personas/Demons in one image, but Shadow Chie is yet another favorite of mine. DOMINATRIX BANANA HEEEEEEAD! :3
True Green Sphere avatarTrue Green Sphere
I like it when comments suddenly spark new blog ideas in your mind.
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
PSA to the collective Waifu / Pokemon / SMT War combatants. [img]http://i.imgur.com/b4nZwbQ.png[/img]
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Downloading Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. It feels a little weird to be installing a game on the Vita that isn't porn, if I'm being perfectly honest.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
There's gonna be enough copies of both Fire Emblem: Birthright and Fire Emblem: Conquest that I shouldn't really feel the need to preorder them at Best Buy, right? I want to get both versions (I buy physical only) and I'm worried they won't have enough.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I see your "favorite Pokemon" and "favorite demon" and raise you a "favorite full party"!
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Man they really blue balled me hard with that Ip Man vs Mike Tyson fight.
Parismio avatarParismio
Well, I did it. I pre-ordered Fire Emblem Fates. Guess who I'm siding with?:
LynxAmali avatarLynxAmali
First Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run, now GameTrailers. Some people just want to watch the world burn. If you excuse me, I'm going to go cry and weep in a corner.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
GameTrailers just announced on Facebook they're shutting down. It's a damn shame, since I rather liked them, despite not agreeing with a lot of what they've said. Best of luck to everyone who worked there.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
That's a really short campaign Destiny has isn't it? Wow lol
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
Goddamn I'm excited for Street Fighter V. This is gonna be my first Street Fighter ever, and Ryu being in Smash is definitely helping me transition to more traditional fighting games. I'll probably end up playing Chun-Li anyway, though.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm just now 2/3 of the way done with Tearaway Unfolded's campaign, 45% to 100%. This game is really long!
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
You people love your Persona, having never played any of them would I appreciate 4? It should be known I found Valkyria Chronicles too anime-y to enjoy though.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
One week to go. Oh ho ho ho.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
What I've gathered from the quick posts the last two days is that demons from SMT look like genitals.
SayWord avatarSayWord
Took awhile but it is finally here, oh how I missed playing with you Nep Nep. Though I still cannot decide if I should put that PS4 skin on...
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Rei is humbled by the fairly high number of faps you have given her Waifu Wars piece.
Parismio avatarParismio
The actual best SMT girl is here:
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -