User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 588 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 53 out of 588

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  1. Feb 17, 2014
    0
    I've been playing Natural Selection since it was a mod for HL way back in 2002. I was there for first beta, the content additions, the constant nerfing and rebalancing where each patch lowered the quality of the gameplay (one step forward, two steps back, like most MMOs or games focused on tournament/elite level play), the insulting community which included the mod makers themselves (a nastier group of people you'll be hard pressed to find, even the wider MOBA community isn't as bad), and the slow grind down from "great but poorly balanced mod that everyone loves to play" to "semi-balanced tournament mod, hated by all except the few elites that still play it". I pre-ordered NS2 (two copies) and then have had nothing but bad experience after bad experience since release. NS2 has one of the worst communities in gaming history, the engine is not optimized AT ALL (runs terrible, loads terrible, regardless of hardware), the gameplay itself is horribly unbalanced unless every player in the game is elite (one single bad or newbie player can ruin any game in minutes), and worst of all almost nobody is playing the game so you're stuck with the same group of elite losers every single time you play. Thus, Natural Selection 2 is indeed a natural progression from where NS1 left off: It's got slightly better balance than NS1 had after all the patches, but it's the kind of balance where it is ONLY balanced when everyone is a pro, otherwise the game isn't even worth playing at all because nobody is playing NS or NS2 anymore unless they've been faithfully playing since release and newbies are instantly kicked even if they're trying. I got sick of the community more than the game to be honest, because you can't have one without the other in a game like NS/NS2 where your experience is 100% dependent on the people you play with. The fact that nobody plays NS or NS2 anymore speaks volumes about the series in general and where it is heading: Nowhere, and slowly. If a 12 year veteran (first beta of NS was Halloween, 2002, back when I was still at University) hates a series that is totally hostile to newbies, how can it survive? Obvious answer is obvious. Enjoy your elite circlejerk losers, and thanks for turning so many people off kickstarter games and the Natural Selection franchise in general. Expand
  2. Dec 25, 2012
    5
    I hate giving a game like this such a low score because you can tell a lot of passion and effort went into making it. I played the old natural selection mod for 1 day but it was still unfinished at the time and I didn't really understand it so my review is not from the perspective of everything in NS2 should be like NS1. Starting with performance, this game is about as bad as they come with optimization. If you're buying this game make sure you have an i5-7 processor or AMD equivalent because from what I've read this game takes all the processing power you can throw at it. My video card is decent enough and plays many games at max settings 1080Hd res but if I go anywhere near mid-max settings on this game the video starts to stutter. According to the forums the problem is caused by my weak processor (8400 wolfdale) and not by my video card so I run the game at very low settings to make it playable. In my non-expert opinion the small dev team should have just licensed some game engine and used that instead of trying to invent their own. Now to the gameplay, this game is treated like a casual fps multiplayer where players can drop in and out of a game and switch teams but this style of matchmaking does not work with the gameplay which is far from casual. I would say 80% of your victory/loss relies on the commander which is a lot of pressure to put on one position that can be taken by simply walking up to the hive and pressing E. I held off on writing this review until I played in some more "advanced" servers but I noticed they behaved in a similar fashion to the "rookie" servers. Lack of commanders and bad commanders doing nothing (no upgrades, no communication). Without upgrades or communication from the comm the game is over yet you have to sit through the whole round unless everybody drops out to the lobby. Why not require a comm to be picked before the round starts and maybe add an ability to vote for comms if multiple people want to command. The current system is just absurd. If your team gets behind because there is no commander or there is a total idiot with no communication skills commanding the round is over. I have yet to see a team recover from such a setback. I have no problem with unforgiving team games (I play a lot of dota2) but at least structure the matchmaking properly with rating systems or voting systems or something. When you break it all down I don't even think voting or ratings would help the game because it is structurally flawed by putting too much responsibility on one position. In the 20 NS2 games I've played, about 1 or 2 were evenly matched. Im not giving up on the game because I think it could offer some unique teamplay aspects but to stay sane I might have to start learning to be a commander when nobody else steps up to the task. Expand
  3. Nov 7, 2012
    9
    NS2 = NS1 on steroids. Just simply an Amazing MP experience. One of the best ever. When you win a round of NS2 (that can take up to an hour or more) you know that everyone on your team was working together and you literally see each others sacrifices result in hard earned area control on the battlefield. The game is balanced on a knife edge, where the thrill in the battle is the unknown of what your enemy is going to bring against you next. Did they upgrade to a shift hive or did they get jetpacks yet? One moment you feel like you are slaughtering the aliens and then a lone alien gets into your base while you're all off establishing a new front, manages to cut the power and suddenly your entire team can't respawn and the race is on to get back there before that bloody Onus arrives and starts mopping up. Expand
  4. nop
    Jan 18, 2013
    5
    I both love and hate this game. Idea is fun, but implementation is abysmal. Let me list some of the points: Horrible framerates even on lowest settings. On a decent system capable of 1080p @ 60 FPS in last year games I only have single-digit framerates in heated battle scenes in sub-HD display resolution and lowest possible settings. Single digits, in a fast-paced game! Network lags. For me, it is next to impossible to hit faster-moving targets. From time to time I suddently find myself in a different corner of the room. Questionable game mechanics and balance, seemingly changing after every patch. Countless minor issues with user interface and controls. alien vision frequently limits visibility instead of improving it, this doesn't make sense. NO MATCHMAKING. Literally, you can find a seasoned veteran being ordered around by someone who sounds like 12-year old child and has a green rookie nickname. This is fun for a few times, but not sustainable in a long term. No support for russian language despite popularity of this game in Russian-speaking countries. I would accept many of these problems if I didn't buy this game for 20 bucks assuming it's a finished game, not an alpha. 9 for what it tries to be, 1 for implementation quality and misleading self-advertisement. Expand
  5. Nov 17, 2012
    9
    There were a number of RTS/FPS mixed games 10+ years ago, but they seem to have died out. Kids these days probably don't remember them :)

    It doesn't really add or take away anything from the original, but it doesn't need to. It's still a great game and much better than most big budget FPSs to come out recently.
  6. Nov 2, 2012
    10
    Buy this game. Not just because it's a cheap, beautiful, independently developed game, but it because it it so much damn fun. I go into fits of laughter quite often. It's a ****ing hoot.
  7. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    It was a long way of evolution..** First of all, sorry for my bad English. I played the game since the early alphas and i played part 1 as well. The positive aspects of the game are the big difference between the classes, (teams, weapons, attacks, tactics,..), the fine graphics, the complex maps and, of course, the combination of RTS and FPS. I don't know how long it takes new players to get used to all the game mechanics. It took me very long when I started playing beta after a long pause but its it's was easier now with all the help that found into the game in the last months.

    **..and finally they released a great sequel of a great half life 1 mod.
    Expand
  8. Oct 31, 2012
    9
    I played the original Natural Selection back in the days of CAL and I'm glad to see the developers succeed with NS2. Unlike remake failures like CS:Source and CSGO, this game was actually developed by people with passion - and it shows. The controls are intuitive and the engine is gorgeous (*bad dum ching*). It may take a bit of time to learn how to play and com but you won't regret it.

    9/10 - only reason is that there needs to be improvement in what was called 'interp' in NS1 but could also be called netcode.. Being killed when your character is 5 meters around a corner is an irritating and unnecessary part of the gameplay.
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  9. Nov 5, 2012
    10
    Almost too good to be real.
    The developer (Uwe) knows how to push all my buttons with NS2.

    It features some of the best and most rewarding team play you can find in any game, A huge variation in gameplay, almost endless learning curve, the most friendly and enthusiastic community I've seen since the desert combat community for bf1942 and shiney graphics with a good sound track as
    cherry on top.

    I can't fault them for a single thing they did (and I'm a huge cynic, this never happens for me). Just a shortlist of the best things about the game.
    -community support dialed up to eleven! Rcon tools, server build for community, open source engine, mod and map support, amazing spectator mode. good quality VOIP in game. (actually the ONE SINGLE thing I miss in all of this game is demo recording like in quake or half life).

    -Uwe developed their own engine, which produces some incredible lighting well suited to the game, super clean image quality, extremely responsive mouse input (best since half life 1! ). Can't fault this for anything. It is fairly cpu heavy (but looks the part!) The game runs really well on my pc from 2008.

    -mod support and the sheer quality and variety of the game play ensures this is one of those games you can play for years without it ever getting repetitive or boring. It only costs 23 euros on steam too, almost ridiculously high value.

    -No modern game tropes like ADS, p2p lobbies, DLC map packs that would split up the community, grinding for unlocks or level ups, mouse acceleration, locked frame rates, locked FoV or any of those shenanigans that can sully an otherwise good game.
    They did right by the pc gaming community with this game.

    If you like team play, or strategy, or shooters, or feeling like some solid snake/predator hybrid offspring or fun in general then you can't possibly go wrong buying this.

    A lot of people will give 10 or super low scores on metacritic to influence the average because they think their opinion is worth more than others , but if I were to give NS2 an independant score I'd genuinly give it a 10. It's the first game since half life 1 that I consider to be truely in its own league.
    Imo it re raises the bar for all other multiplayer and pc games to come.

    Don't miss out on this gem fellas, you'd do yourself a huge disservice. The joy and giggles this game brings can't be overhyped, you will not be disappointed.
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  10. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    Great game, but for some reason crashes my computer quite frequently (twice in an hour) when BF3 on ultra doesn't. Very fun, very innovative, tons of replay value.
  11. Nov 4, 2012
    6
    Looks ok and runs ok so it is surprising they could have messed up it from there on in. The premise is promising but I am guessing the people that wrote it dont play it as anything other than Marines. For a Marine you have nice tool and feel fairly omnipotent most of the time. Especially when you have points to spend. But as aliens it is like your on the wrong side of an old school arcade game. It doesnt take a grenade to kill you or even a single burst but one bullet from a burst. Insta kill if remotely near a hit. Sort of fun for a bit as a marine but it does feel a bit hollow and people keep leaving if the Marine team is full. I wish I had known and I would have wasted money on it. The issues are glaring so hopefully it will be fixed but right now I would avoid. Could be a game if the game busting balancing gets fixed. What blows my mind is that this is so obvious yet the game was still released. Expand
  12. Dec 7, 2012
    5
    The game has a lot of promise but the system in which decides the winning losing team is too quick and before you know it, you're either owning the other team or getting your face smashed in. You don't simply lose the game, oh no, it takes a while which is very frustrating. Even if you win, its a slaughter and not a very rewarding experience.

    If your Commander is bad, you will lose.
    You know this quickly as they don't talk. Teams need to communicate which is fair enough. Just something to point out how critical commanders are. If you have friends, get them to play. Communicate a LOT and get one of them to learn the commanders role. Get some tactics and maybe, just maybe the game will be fun.

    Not recommended for casual gamers.

    Buy Planetside 2 or Teamfortress 2 instead.
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  13. Apr 25, 2013
    9
    With its blend of action and strategy coupled with non-linear teams and diverse roles this game is one of the best experiences in online FPS coop to be found.
  14. Nov 4, 2012
    10
    Awesome! I can't stop playing it... Memories come from 10 years ago :) Though it needs some graphics optimization, performance is not awesome unfortunately.
  15. Nov 8, 2012
    9
    Please, at least ignore Gamespot's review. I'll do them justice and clean theirs up for them.

    The game is amazing. But it is multiplayer only. So if the community dies, you no longer have a way to play. Well, you still do, but awfully. The developers need to keep the game fresh, and that's purely on them.

    The learning curve is giant, and it expects you to learn things via youtube
    videos. Which works, but an actual ingame tutorial works 5000x better. HOWEVER, unlike Gamespot made it out to be, the learning curve is easily learned once you've had the chance to play around as the marines and aliens enough. After about 4-5 hours, I'm pretty confident in my ability on either side. Commander is a totally different field though, and you'd have to watch the videos to understand that, or walk into a room and command without knowing anything.

    The game itself is amazing. Just hope that it doesn't lose support anytime soon.
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  16. Dec 31, 2012
    6
    Make some maps for this game please! There are only a few good maps (tram, mineshaft, summit, refinery), and of those, only summit is a truly good one. This game is marketted as having a user-friendly, powerful map making engine, but in all the years of development it has only been able to squeeze out a handful of small, dry lumps. This really hurts the replay value of the game. Yes, obviously there is more to the game than just maps (I could mention snail's pace devepment,or silly gameplay mechanics that were removed from NS1 for good reason, but have inexplicably made their way back into NS2 because Flayra thinks they are "cute"), but they are well covered in other reviews. Expand
  17. Nov 5, 2012
    5
    Game performs well since latest patch, graphics are ok, audio ok. It's a really neat concept.

    The unfortunate part is that the game is tremendously unbalanced. The marines have every advantage and it's only made worse by the fact that Friendly Fire is permanently OFF. This lets the marines spam aoe attacks non-stop. Playing as a marine is limited fun because of how easy it is. Everyone
    likes to win but when it is made so easy it quickly loses its shine.

    With the aliens, the team has gutted their abilities and limited their buildings from the original game.

    I think their plan was to make the game only for 'pro' players and expected to only sell to people who would want tournament play. I don't even like to play any longer because it's just not fun being way overpowered or being way underpowered.
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  18. Nov 16, 2012
    10
    Great team based competitive FPS/RTS hybrid that deserves your attention. Based on the original Half-Life mod with updated features and some interesting but refreshing gameplay changes. With all the generic modern FPS shooters competing for your gaming dollar this holiday season, Natural Selection 2 is a great value. I promise you will put more hours into this game than most other flavor of the month FPS that are rarely worth the full retail price you're forced to pay. Check it out! Expand
  19. Nov 2, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Buy this game if you like:

    - Natural Selection 1
    - Nuclear Dawn
    - Savage series
    - Left 4 Dead series
    - Alien vs Predator series
    - Gloom(Quake 2)
    Expand
  20. Nov 8, 2012
    10
    This is quite simply one of the most unique and ambitious pc titles to come out of today's market. A truly remarkable community, asymmetrical sides, and necessity of teamwork define the charm that puts ns2 as one of my currently most played games. This game is living proof that you do not need persistent leveling, aesthetic promotions, over exaggerated bloom/visual stimulation, and expensive DLC to create a worthwhile game, and this is something seldom recognized by all the big name titles in the current industry. This is the kind of game that more people need to try, especially those looking for something different from the routine modern military shooter trend. Expand
  21. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    Great game that is a team player base and requires some skill. Aliens are so fun I enjoy the Fade going to the speed of light is a great escape move when I found myself in trouble. Marines jet packs and Exos is also fun to play. Been playing for 8hrs straight and enjoy every minute. NS2 developers added a great feature too called Mods. Mods in a server can change the game play with endless possibilities, like for example, Marines vs Marines or Aliens vs Aliens and so on. The game has great replay and with new MODS ideas making this game have so many possibilities of game play. I am tired of these AAA game developing companies that bring poor content with a huge price behind it, unknownworlds is indie company not even close to AAA level, but they made a great game with half the cost. highly recommended. Expand
  22. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    Surpasses the first game in most ways, beautiful visuals and fantastic modding abilities / community. For one of the best Multiplayer games around, its well worth it!
  23. Nov 9, 2012
    10
    This game is not Call of Duty and it doesn't want to be like COD. I don't think there is greater praise that can be said about an FPS in such a stagnate modern warefare shooter day and age. My problems with the game comes from the community. It seems like there maybe a few hacks out for the game as I've seen some shady stuff go on in games like being tracked through walls and instagibbed repeatly by a player with 50-2 or a commander having way to much res compared to the amount of resource gathers they have and the amount of game time elapsed. Expand
  24. Nov 8, 2012
    10
    Natural Selection 2 is a game that rewards teamwork and skill with amazing victories and surprising comebacks. A good game can last an hour, or twenty minutes, depending on how well your team bands together to defeat the other team, be it the ranged-combat Marines, or the close combat Kharaa (or Aliens.) Each team has one player that plays from the perspective of an RTS. That player sees the game from a top-down perspective, places structures (which Marines have to build for the Marine team,) and works to guide the team. The main goal is to take out the other team's command station (that is, the Marine's Command Stations or the Alien Hives.) Thus, if the game isn't over quickly due to a Zerg-like rush from the Aliens or a stomping Marine power-play (which is fortunately rarer and rarer,) the game becomes a mix of putting pressure on the other team and capturing resource nodes and tech points. Each team does this quite differently. The Marines get all sorts of technological upgrades, like teleporters, mobile siege turrets, jetpacks, grenade launchers, shotguns, and the amazing Exosuits. The Aliens get biological upgrades, or evolutions, that provide additional abilities to their life forms. Examples of this are Carapace, which gives the aliens additional armor, Leap, which allows Skulks (the base life form that can run on walls.) to leap a good distance, and Stomp, which allows the Onos (the massive Gorilla-meets-Rhinoceros alien) to send a shock-wave through a team of Marines that knocks them down. There are many more than these, but you get the idea.

    The graphics are slick, the gameplay is extremely well balance (if you read anything else, they were on a bad team or fighting a bad team. Two competent teams will have a balanced match.) and the teams are fun to play. Shooting is very solid, biting a little, tiny bit less solid, but still good enough on its own. Commanding is a blast once you get the hang of it (I particularly enjoy leading Aliens to victory.) Overall, this game has a little of everything, including unmatchable mod support, and community support. Unknown Worlds Entertainment owe their existence to the community, and they don't forget that.

    10/10
    Pros: Balance, Aliens are awesome, Marines are awesome, RTS elements are well done, maps are good, graphics are slick, performs fine on an i5-750 @ 3.0 GHz, 4 GB RAM, HD 6970 2GB.
    Cons: Load times can be a bit long (should be addressed in a patch this week,) server browser can be laggy, occasional crashing and freezing for some users.
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  25. Nov 8, 2012
    7
    It's a good game, a faithful recreation of the HL1 mod. But sadly, that's all it is. A recreation. No real new features to speak of, ones that add to the game, that is, and we lost alot of features as well, so it comes out to less.

    The game also has horrible performance, as you can see on their forums, even with a high end rig. There's numerous bugs that have existed for over two years
    in the beta form, that are still not fixed. At it's core, it's really fun, but lacks polish and content. Expand
  26. Dec 27, 2012
    8
    Im a fairly new player to NS and my experience so far has been pretty good. I was a little intimidated initially as there is a learning curve. Aliens have a fairly different playing style, but whether you pick them or not - you still need to know what each type does. Still, its thanks to this we have a nice change of pace from other multiplayer FPSs, that and the role of the commander. Which brings me to the negatives. The commander is a key part of your success, even with otherwise balanced teams (skill wise - both sides), if your commander doesnt know what he/she is doing and/or doesnt communicate, you will lose. A more helpful (interactive) tutorial would really benefit in this area. In the end, while this game can offer much fun, its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness - teams that do not work together will be hammered, leading to an unpleasant experience. Personally, out of a dozen or so games so far, its been a complete mixed bag - sometimes playing with no voice comm and people lone-wolfing which leads inevitably to a loss and potentially nasty messages, and other times playing with an experienced commander that has resulted in a mostly (7/8) green (rookie) team to victory, which was great fun! Expand
  27. Nov 9, 2012
    10
    Perfect game, its not unbalanced to any side.. its unbalanced if you get a **** commander and team thats all. Real fun game, i prefer aliens due to the play style and I can say it definately is not easier for marines.
  28. Jan 15, 2013
    6
    I never played NS1 so this comes from the perspective of a noob to the game. The game is daunting at first, as either side, but I attempted to join the marine side to get a feel for the game, which was nigh impossible, everyone wanted to be a marine. I did well learning the aliens, and enjoyed my time. After a few games the real game came out to me. Maybe it's my PC but the hit detection is way off. I would hammer away on the smallest aliens and they would survive, where as while I played I would take very few rounds before dying. And once the marines got into exos, almost any game I played (even where the alien equivalent was there) the game ended in a win for the marines.

    I want to enjoy this game but my PC can barely handle it, where as it can play games like Rage, Killing Floor, with smooth animations. I want to love this game, but I find it to be a down the middle average game. Great idea and okay gameplay make a title that I'm glad I purchased with a steep discount on sale.
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  29. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    This game isn't easy, it has a high learning curve, getting used to the differences between marines vs aliens can be tough for new players, I stuck with it and got the hang of it after a few hours(I was still no ace) each side has a much different approach to win the game, and it doesn't have to be the same approach each time! with the Multiple upgrades. The Unknown Worlds Entertainment is so good to their community, the community is so good to them and new players, the steps they made to make this game is incredible it feels like a multimillion dollar game title but it was only made by a group of 7 and help from the community. If you're tired of the same old Call of Duty copy and paste from year to year, you can buy two copies of NS2 for you and a friend for less than 1 copy of Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and I guarantee you're going to have way more fun, especially if you enjoyed AVP, NS2 blows both out of the water. Expand
  30. Jun 29, 2013
    2
    Game lured me to it by combining rts and fps elements and what seemed as asymmetric fps experience. However the sides in this game are "balanced" the way that turns aliens vs marine combat into quake combat, where everyone is very fast moving, bunnyhopes around and spam their attacks. Athmoshpere gets lost in exchange for e-sport quakish combat.
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Jun 10, 2013
    71
    Certainly not for newcomers in the genre; but it’s a blast for hardcore gamers that crave for action instead of the classic FPS mechanics and want matches that last something between a Counter-Strike and Battlefield 3 battle. [March 2013]
  2. Feb 15, 2013
    60
    Natural Selection 2 is unquestionably a unique title, but its bar to entry is incredibly high for the average FPS player. For the hardcore strategist, it has its appeal, but its complexity severely limits the enjoyment in matches that aren’t significantly populated by experts at the game.
  3. Feb 6, 2013
    75
    I am sure Natural Selection 2 will gather a group of devoted fans. After all it’s a good, surprisingly original game. [CD-Action 02/2013, p.50]