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The GB&U : Natural Selection 2

I thought I'd drift through the saloons this weekend; the arid west Texas wind had me parched somethin' awful. I was even contemplatin' makin' my way south of the border for a spell till I came across a familiar name on the Steam "Top Sellers" list.

Natural Selection 2.

I heard of it. I remember back in my young days hearin' tale about a HL mod with both RTS and FPS elements. Didn't think much of it; was too busy starin' at a post modem spectator view in CS 1.6.

This weekend my wallet felt a little too heavy so I thought I'd give NS2 and the folks at Unknown Worlds an opportunity to lighten the load. Let's punch this bovine a bit an be done with it.

The Good

NS2 is a retelling of the traditional western American legend- Aliens VS Marines. You have your marines on one side and the aliens on the other. Don't ask any questions about who or why though, they ain't payin' you for that.

As fer the good; the game looks amazin'. The engine is pretty like a red headed doe just after you been sprung from a confederate work camp.

Playin' as the marines can feel a bit sluggish but weapons feel right and once you get some nice gadgets workin' everything sails smooth. The aliens handle something sweet. Smooth transitions runnin' from floors to ceilings and seein' in the dark don't get more butter then this.

Best thing is that feelin' you get. That immersive feeling you have when you're hanging on the ceiling about to pounce on some poor shlub or when a few of your marine brahs are hanging right next to you barreling down an unknown corridor with only your manhood and a flashlight leadin' the way. Can't say I've really felt that way with any game nowadays.

It's got a few other real nuggets of gold here an' there; the map design is some of the best I've seen in 15 years of ridin'.

The Bad

This game is like a spigot on a mule- it just don't work the way you want it to.

Balance issues are like the hot texas sun when your canteen's run empty. Most competitive multiplayer games suffer from some typa' balance issues; it's hard to tell exactly if this game works fine or is totally broken. As long as you're winnin' everything seems good, right?

Well that's just it. It's hard to tell if you're winnin' or losin' 'cause it really comes down to the team who rolls as a posse and has the most aware commander (controllin' the RTS parts).

Tell ya what though, after a handful of games playin', it seems like the Aliens got the short end of the stick. I recollect in the classic western tale, the marines are always pushed against the fence. In this, it's the aliens who have to bite and claw just to keep the horse above water.

It's kinda' fitting in a frontier justice sorta' way 'cause the aliens are a few heavy saddlebags more fun to play then the marines.

Heard speak some folk can't get the game workin' right on their systems. Somethin' 'bout poor frame rate and hang-ups but this cowboy didn't have any problems so I can't talk to that.

The Ugly

Talkin' bout balance issues doesn't even go into it. The real truth is that this type of game just doesn't work. It's like a Remington that always backfires.

There are lotsa' crossover games these days but not yet have I seen a good FPS mixed with RTS in a way that makes everyone happy. Either it's too much RTS or it's too much RTS.

People like playin' FPS because they want to run around and shoot stuff. Other people play RTS because they want to micromanage and dominate. So everyone gearin' to run around but they can't shoot, or play, or win unless someone who was good at micromanagin' happened to be playing on their team (and was better then the other team's micromanager).

Because of the necessary map awareness and RTS mechanic knowledge needed to play efficiently, new players are left standing in a dust storm; only help to be received is curses and belligerence rants from teammates talkin' bout how green they are.

The community claims the more people get to playin', the more coordinated the game will be. I can't help thinkin' the more the knowing people keep knowin', the harder it's gonna be for young pups to step up.

I suppose only time will tell who will still be standing at the 12th stroke of noon, but I can remember a few similar games came out not more then 14 months ago now completely off the map.

Last words:

The Good:

Pretty lookin' game if you got the rig to enjoy it. Real life understandin' of the alien VS marine struggle.

The Bad:

Aliens are a bit hard to get a hold of; marines are a bit rote, boring.

The Ugly:

Enjoy staring at the "waiting to spawn" screen after your team didn't do something you didn't know you were supposed to do cause of that whole RTS bit. If you do win, you won't be able to figure out exactly why... but maybe that's the fun of it.


With no persistence or progression and saddle sore mechanics, I'd say this bounty ain't worth more then $500 [out of a possible $1000]. Wait for a free weekend or a good sale.
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About djvliveone of us since 1:49 AM on 01.06.2010

I <3 Nades

"In what top scientists speculate is a miracle."
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