Below is a preview of my Natural Selection 2 review, which you can find in full over at PixelJudge:
NS2 is a game that I will almost, always feel under qualified to speak about. Aside from a passing acquaintance with the first and some time with Nuclear Dawn, I haven’t engaged with any similar hybrids of this nature. Mostly because there simply haven’t been many. NS2 is also a game undergoing constant evolution. During the beta updates would be released regularly almost twice a week, sometimes more. These ranged from bug fixes to numbers and map adjustments, and constantly tweaked the balance of the game. It’s an adjustment that will go unnoticed by all but the dedicated, but it speaks volumes about the developers and the community that NS2 has built, even before release.
It’s a community that’s been built partly from necessity. NS2 is a game with an almost overwhelming learning curve. Before you even join your first match, it is recommended that you spend an hour or two learning the mechanics of the game from both sides and perspectives by watching the tutorials and using the game’s Explore mode to familiarize yourself with the maps. For those completely fresh to NS2, here’s the crash course: NS2 is an asymmetrical multiplayer title in the format of space marines vs. aliens. Each side’s goal is to attempt to control the map and destroy all of the opposing team’s command stations. Marines are equipped with a variety of long range, rapid firing weapons ranging from the standard assault rifle, to the devastating flamethrower. Aliens, for the most part, lack long range options and are forced to close the distance before they can inflict damage. In order to counterbalance this, aliens will need to hunt in packs, single out lone marines, and use guerilla tactics, appearing and disappearing through vents and performing hit and run attacks. It’s a dynamic that leads to frantic and dramatic encounters, with panicked marines firing in all directions attempting to hit aliens moving with vicious speed across the room. The dynamics and vulnerabilities also force players to cooperate with each other, as lone players are not likely to survive.