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Natural Selection 2.0 © NS Team
Preview By: Patrick “Rhett” Moore

The long awaited Natural Selection 2.0 has arrived, the successor to one of the best known Half-Life mods available. People have waited for this version for months, and now they'll finally get the chance to try out all of the new features and updates added.

The main menu and sub-menus are the same, but with slightly better sound quality than the last, and with a little smoother font. When I found a small server of 2.0 players (Dedicated versions) I noticed the new maps and interfaces. The Marines get a lot of new gameplay and graphical additions, starting with the new crosshairs and better quality skins, to slightly newer gun and building models. The Aliens get a new menu and set up, the menus are now changed around and made more accessible, with some new skills to add to the gameplay. The maps are also a good addition, adding 4 new maps (Veil, Mineshaft, Origin and Caged) which are extremely nice maps, all having many strategies to be learned.

As I said before, the sound is good, especially in-game; The guns and voices (including aliens) are redone, and sound refreshingly better, even incorporating EAX surround sound. A war sounds just as it should, exciting and loud, which can really get you into battle.

The gameplay has changed a bit, but sticks to the "traditional" NS formula. You still build bases, plan attacks, get resources, and make weapons and hives, but the recent balancing issues have changed it. No longer can you rush through halls without any sense of enemies' locations, for Sensory Towers now cloak surrounding Aliens and structures; and Marines can set up deadly trip mines. The Aliens have a new skill on their lists, for the Onos, which can swallow a Marine whole (but takes several seconds to do, so someone can rescue you by killing the massive beast). The Marines have a new Commander's interface, which is a lot easier to navigate, and splits the buildings, advanced buildings, health / ammo, and weapons into separate groups for easy access.

There are no new buildings for either side, but yet, some upgrades. Marines can get an electric shield on their turret factories, which deals massive damage to any enemy passers. The Lerks can't bite anymore, so they are a little weaker now, and the Fades can't use Acid Rocket until the third hive, which will hinder assaults. Overall, I think the balancing of adding and removing of the several things that the NS team did, definitely made this more enjoyable.

Kudos to the NS team and their accomplishments.