Natural Selection 2 was released today, after years of vaporware status. Heller was nice enough to his his Columbian cartel connections to land me a free copy.
It’s a multiplayer-only hybrid RTS/FPS game with asymetric combat. You play as either space marines or aliens, and it does sort of feel like the Aliens movies a bit aesthetically.
Every team has a commander, and 7-11 other players. The commander gets a top-down view and plays the game like an RTS game. He can see where his troops are, order medical supplies and ammo for them, designate what will be built and where, conduct research, and issue orders for them to follow. There are resource and base nodes along the map the the teams to fight over. The rest of the team has to actually go out and execute his orders. The commander can mark where something can be built, but the soldiers have to actually go out there and set it up.
As far as asymetric combat - rather than every other shooter where everyone just runs around and shoots guns at each other, the marines and aliens have very different playstyles. The marines are pretty much the normal FPS class. The aliens have 5 different alien forms each with their own role. In general, the marines rely on brute force - heading straight for the enemy, unleashing a lot of lead. The aliens generally have to be stealthier - they have the ability to climb on walls/ceiling or fly, they have night vision (and can attack the power in sectors to knock the lights out), and they’re very fast.
Playing as the marines it almost feels like a very good survival horror game - aliens swarming around from everywhere. The atmosphere of the game itself is very well done - it can be downright creepy sometimes. Playing the aliens so far has been a lot harder for me, but I’ll get better in time as I learn the maps and playstyles better, but it’s definitely a different kind of challenge.
It’s a PC exclusive and a proper PC game, which is always a huge relief to me. The multiplayer doesn’t use some retarded console matchmaking, the controls are responsive, the gameplay is fast and tight. It’s also a very good looking game - good design. Not once have I had to say “oh why did they design it that stupid way… oh right, consoles” as I do with 80% of other games nowadays. It also seems to have a very good community - helpful people, very coordinated with voice comms, team players. It also has extensive modding support although I haven’t played any mods yet of course.
I very rarely recommend buying a game at full price, what with being able to get a gazillion games for almost nothing via digital distribution, but if you want to learn with the rest of the community (although lots of players preordered and played the beta), the fact that it’s only $25, and wanting to support PC games that actually play like PC games, I’d have to say if it looks good to you, it’ll be worth it.
There’s also a 4 pack on steam for $75, so if you can split the cost with some friends it gets down to $18.75 each.