Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2 releases tonight, read this if you want to live

T.J. Hafer at

Natural Selection 2 preview

Natural Selection 2, an asymmetrical shooter that pits a squad of good ol' human space marines against a zerg-like alien menace in true Ridley Scott fashion, will be invading a space station near you tonight. Our team of completely ethical, benevolent corporate contractors has compiled the after action data of what we've come to refer to as "The Cafeteria Incident" to give you the information you need to battle the Kharaa threat. Any rumors that this document also contains tips for aliens on the efficient destruction of human marines are patently ridiculous. I do not have a mind-controlling tumor in my frontal lobe, after all.

Marines

 
Needless to say, you've got your work cut out for you. The constantly evolving, mutating, otherworldly fiends you've been sent to deal with are faster, stealthier, and much deadlier at close range than you are. You'll need to use every advantage to make it out alive.

  • Stick Together! The fastest way to ensure your own death is to go wandering (or worse, sprinting) off into some obscure corner of the map by yourself. NS2's maps are all pretty large, and made up of winding and twisting corridors that make it hard for backup to get to you before you've had most of your skin flayed off. The aliens can pop out anywhere, and might already be hiding in the room you just entered. Travel in squads of three or more whenever possible, and don't all face forward. Make sure you keep a gun on every possible angle of attack.
  • Communicate! NS2 has built-in voice chat, and it's not advisable to play without it. You won't even have time to type out, "GAME OVER MAN! GAME OVER!" if you get ambushed by Skulks. Let your team know when you make contact with the enemy, and what your intentions are. Above all, listen to the commander. He's the player on your team with a dropship's eye view of the battlefield, and can place visual objectives for you on the map. Most games of NS2 are won or lost based on which team has the most competent commander, and the best synergy between the commander and the boots on the ground.
  • Don't be afraid to start with some easier deployments! There's no shame in being a fresh-faced grunt right out of basic. NS2 lets you sort servers specifically by the "Rookie friendly" tag, which designates that you'll be playing against largely other new players and those willing to help you learn the ins and outs. And sure, there will be some smurfs and griefers in there looking to dine on fresh noob, but it's better than ending up in a server full of hardcore beta veterans when you don't really know what you're doing.

Aliens

 
If you are able to read this, you have already been infected by a neural parasite that compels you to obey the will of the hive mind. So... welcome. On the down side, you will be required to give your short, pathetic life to accomplish the aims of an inscrutable intelligence beyond your comprehension. On the up side, there is no dress code. Now, here's how to deal with those stompy men with the guns that seem to take issue with our aims...

  • Do everything I told the humans to do! The above tips apply to you as well. Keep in contact with your brood-mates, obey the hive mind, hunt in packs (unless you are fortunate enough to evolve to a life form that obviates the need for this), and get started stalking less seasoned prey.
  • Chaos is your ally! Psychological warfare is one of our key advantages over the humans. We must be fast and unpredictable at all times. Never attack a lone human (or, hive forbid, a squad) from the front. That's where the gun is. Once you've been spotted, try to weave, jump, and circle while attacking, with the main goal being to keep out of their crosshairs as much as possible. If you're running with a pack (which you should be), make sure to attack from different angles. Luring the humans into an ambush by letting them think they're chasing a lone Skulk is equal parts entertaining and effective.
  • Break everything! The humans will be trying to set up machines all over the place. You don't want that. It's especially advantageous if you can take out the power nodes that provide light to different areas. Humans can't see well in the dark, whereas we Kharaa are right at home in it. Taking out the lights increases the enemy's paranoia, and opens up more options to slink, stalk, and ambush.

Addendum: If you have discovered any additional tactics during your deployment that are effective against the alien menace, it is compulsory to disclose them, in full, in a commentary report below for the benefit of your fellow marines. Now gear up. We touch down in T-6 hours and counting.