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Katana

Natural Selection 2

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Is it an FPS?

Is it an RTS?

No. This is MGS.

...Wait, that's not it...

Natural Selection 2 started out as a mod for Half-Life 1. I'm sure even today, there are many people playing the Half-Life 1 mod for its amazing popularity. The same can be said of other awesome games like Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2, etc. But to note with this one, the sequel is not running in the Source engine. Unknown Worlds split off into their own company, developed their own engine (and even a lot of their own Lua-based tools) and made the masterpiece you see above.

Much like the original mod, two teams work with RTS-like objectives, mainly aiming to destroy the enemy's core base buildings. While most of the players play as various ground units, each team has one "Commander" who sits inside this base building, and is given a top-down view of the battlefield. They can place buildings, issue orders to players (to be followed or ignored) and offer assistance to their grunts. Unknown Worlds were really one of the first people to attempt this RTS/FPS hybrid, and it has actually worked very well for them thus far.

The maps are very large, and tend to involve battles of territory control. Both teams must gather resources in order to attain various upgrades, and to build new base buildings. When harvesters are built, they add to both the commander's resource pool, as well as individual players' resource pools that can be used for them to buy their own new weapons.

One team plays as a squad of Marines, who might be more familiar for common FPS players. The other team play as an alien race called the Kharra, whose strategies have to be very much altered to allow for sneak attacks, following the many air vents of the base to get around quickly, and occasionally throwing around some brute force. It might remind you a little of the Infected from Left 4 Dead. In a similar vein, a lone marine tends to find it very difficult to fight off attacking Skulks, so players are advised to travel in groups.

The game is on sale for $25. I will admit something anyone should know with their buying decision is that there have been a few complaints of performance issues even on higher-end systems. The devs have been very quick to update about issues thus far, and the main menu of the game even includes a Twitter feed from the developers at the bottom of the screen, possibly facilitating a bit more communication. I've been playing it for a few days, and even though I often lose, it feels like there's a lot of strategy to explore in this game.

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A friend of mine brought this game to my attention the other day. I wasn't too sure what it was until he explained it to me. I'm afraid to get it because of how people can be on the internet. If the community's bad about listening to the commander I don't really want to get it. And vice-versa, if the commander is bad, well yeah.

When/if it goes on sale during the x-mas I may just pick it up, like i do a bunch of games during then.

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