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Natural Selection 2 Impressions: Marine Meets Aliens

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Posted April 7, 2012 - By Rob Manuel


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Natural Selection 2 Impressions: Marine Meets Aliens

Aliens swarm a base as a small group of marines struggles to survive; yes, the premise sounds like one of the other games on the show floor this year, but I assure you that they are worlds apart. Natural Selection 2 follows the success of the popular Half-Life mod by putting you into the boots of a marine trying to survive or into the slimy scales of the aliens looking to take over the station.

Taking a claws-on approach to the game, the simple alien soldier acts only a little more than just a vicious dog, quick and with a nasty bite. As the alien, you can climb the walls and get into smaller spaces to move quickly from place to place. Stealth is key since it only takes a few shots to turn into a green splatter against the wall. I took out a couple of soldiers busy taking on other problems.

As the alien, you get to see where the action is taking place through the walls. When one of your own is attacked or someone goes for a power core, a red signal goes up to indicate where the action is taking place. Playing as the humans doesn’t give you such an advantage, but then again, you’re bringing claws to a gunfight.

But not everyone on your team is on the ground. One member on each side, human and alien, acts as the commander. This means that they play the game sort of like an RTS. The alien commander is in charge of spreading the creep, that sickly green slime that you can build on. Once you’ve covered your domain, you can move eggs to respawn your army closer to the line of fire and send out whip-like tentacles to slow down those pesky humans. There’s no interacting directly with your army, however, as the alien commander. Your job is mostly to help build up resources and control the line.

Natural Selection 2 Impressions: Marine Meets Aliens

Speaking of resources, aliens use those points to evolve from their basic form. I took a slightly bigger alien that could take a little more damage and heal with a nasty spit. Other forms include a flying bat-like alien that spreads poisonous gas and one big guy that knock down anyone in his way. Just one stomp could send the enemies as well as their defenses flying. He might be a big target, but you don’t want to get in his way.

As the game continued, it became a true tug-of-war as the aliens slowly made their way from room to room only to be pushed back with a handy turret. The secret is in the power supply. Knock out the power in each room and the defenses fall without a fight. But as you attack each block, a warning goes straight to their base, warning them of your shenanigans. Get in and take them down quickly.

Natural Selection 2 combines that strategy and the action of a shooter. For a game built from the ground up, it’s an impressive feat to pack in so much into one title. For those of you itching to take on alien scum or show the humans who’s on top of the food chain, you won’t have to wait long before Natural Selection 2 hits the PC for Summer ’12.

Natural Selection 2 Impressions: Marine Meets Aliens
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