Original US Release: October 31st, 2012
HappyWulf: “You have to be ‘in that game’ of NS2, where it was a really fucking close match. Either side could have won. But when your team works together, with a very active Commander who was talking to you the whole time and everyone pulled it off, that’s where you get ‘that feeling’ – that NS2 has that ability to enable the best in everyone, as players.”
But MJ had more to say about Natural Selection II and what it has become since May of 2011 when he first covered it:
“NS2 is the definition of an indie title. It started out as a follow-up to the Half-Life MOD with the newer source engine but they realized it couldn’t handle what they wanted to throw at it. They started over, creating their own engine called Spark. A bit before they were even at a stage where they could show any work, they let the community know that paying for the game ahead of time would allow them to finish the work. This was before Kickstarter existed. It’s certainly among the first crowd-funded games in the contemporary sense.
A huge crowd of people kicked in what they could and development took off. They now had the ability to work at it full time.
After seeing the game in the beta I knew what to look forward to on release. Or so I thought. [Unknown Worlds] pushed out huge updates after my review. As expected as the game took a bit more than what they initially thought it would to release.
So let’s get down to the actual game, not just the huge story behind it: The original game did something great and unique; they created an RTS within a FPS which several games tried to expand on but ended up always diving short. The most recent one I can note is Nuclear Dawn on Steam and built off the Source engine.
The diversity of each alien creates wonderful teamwork which the mod has always been about. Lurks control the sky, keeping Marine jet-packers from taking out any of the ground units. An Onos is a great powerful force, but without a Gorge is almost useless. Fades are fast and powerful, almost like an assassin class, but weak.
The Marines are slower than the Aliens and initially they must work harder together to keep ground. The Commander is also more essential, he must be the glue to tie the Marines together and coordinate them. Aliens now have a Commander and is still very essential to the game and as well still needs to coordinate alien attacks late-game but aliens in early-game do a lot of harassment to stop the Marines from taking too much control of the map. Late game the Marines have a large arsenal of weapons, dual mini-gun Mechs which mow down Onos, jet packs with your choice of flamethrowers, grenade launchers or shotguns.
All of this creates for a dynamic game with multiple paths of end game strategies. There are also a large amount of features I simply could not cover and I highly recommend playing the game yourself.
Our top 10 should be based off of the best indie games, not the most under-appreciated.”