physical and sensual impairment
Feeling restricted and/or powerless in games is something that should only be had in moderation. I think NS2 has gone overboard in this respect and should seek to tone down various abilities / status-effects and make them more positive. I've compared NS1 to NS2 just to show how big the change in emphasis is and to highlight how many more abilities and effects there are that revolve around suffocating the enemy rather than promoting the self. I've starred (*'d) everything that I view as negative (to yourself or others) just from the alien perspective to begin with. While people may disagree with particulars, the overarching picture is obvious.
NS1 Skulk: Bite - Parasite - Leap - Xenocide
NS1 Gorge: Spit - Heal Spray - Bilebomb - Web*
NS1 Lerk: Bite - Spore - Umbra - Primal Scream
NS1 Fade: Swipe - Blink - Metabolise - Acid Rocket
NS1 Onos: Gore - Devour* - Stomp* - Charge
NS1 DC: Regeneration - Carapace - Redemption
NS1 SC: Cloak* - Focus - Scent of Fear // passively cloaks*
NS1 MC: Silence* - Celerity - Adrenaline
NS1 OC: expensive and not perfectly accurateWith NS2:
NS2 Skulk: Bite - Parasite - Leap - Xenocide
NS2 Gorge: Spit* - Heal Spray // Hydra - Clogs*
NS2 Lerk: Spikes - Spore* - Bilebomb
NS2 Fade: Swipe - Blink* - Stab // Shadowstep*
NS2 Onos: Gore* - Stomp* - Smash // Charge*
NS2 Crag: Heal - Umbra* - Babblers
--NS2 Shell: Carapace - Regeneration
NS2 Shade: Disorient* - Cloak* - Phantasm*
--NS2 Veil: Camouflage* - Silence*
NS2 Shift: Recall - Energize - Echo
--NS2 Spur: Celerity - Hypermutation
Infestation* - AlienVision*
 add: marine and alien low-health sound/vision obscuration, riflebutt stun, flashlights, darkness, rupture, nano-shield screen pulse, flamethrower
The first thing I noticed when writing it all down is that NS1 player-abilities has no early-mid game negativity whatsoever. They exist mainly in the infrequent onos and in the gorge's 3rd hive ability (a game-ender, really). The SC has the infamous cloak and it should be noted that, in some communities, it was almost considered bad etiquette to drop it first. I was tempted to include focus as a negative ability because it made some marines feel powerless (especially with passive cloak) but resisted. MCs have silence which is fairly, but not completely, negative. All-in-all, NS1 was not that bad. It gets 6* STARS
, 3 of which only occur in the late-game and 2 of which were duplicates (cloak vs passive cloak).
NS2, on the other hand, has a plethora of negative abilities. Spit and its slow-on-hit is out very early and the proposed goo-wall (sounds gooey...) will be the same. The lerk's opaque spores are also seen early which, coupled with crag's umbra cloud, can make things annoyingly hard to see. The fade's blink and shadowstep are more examples of relatively early visual negation - it's deliberately designed to make it hard for marines to see fades. The onos's FIRST ability stuns and disorients and stomp is an AREA-EFFECT disabler. Both of these are annoying, firstly, but also coupled with damage. While the NS1 onos contained two negative abilities as well, one of them was a once-only type (admittedly frustrating, though) and the other dealt no damage, nor did it play havoc with the opponent's screens. The onos in NS1 was also much less frequently used and occured later in the game but I figure this a problem UWE will be addressing soon. Lastly, charge in NS2 just serves to make the onos feel slow to begin with. Sure, it feels great once you get going but the start-up is annoying and after any action that requires me to stop, I feel very slow.
Just have a look at the Shade/Veil combo and marvel at its negativity for a moment... Alone, it rivals the entirety of NS1's collection of physical/sensual impairment. I didn't think they could do much more to make SCs worse. However, they've managed to design a chamber that cloaks, turns your sound to ######e and will potentially allow fake aliens to be running around. It's quite incredible really and the fact that it permits both camouflage AND silence makes it an obvious candidate for "the most annoying thing in NS" award.
Infestation is also needlessly negative. Why does it have to affect movement speed? With the way it's spammed currently, it's just a constant source of minor aggravation which has very little to say in terms of game balance. If UWE is so set on making infestation ominous, then they can achieve that through buffing aliens rather than debuffing marines. In fact, it would probably be a good thing that the only lifeforms that would really benefit are the skulk/gorge/onos. AlienVision is a minor annoyance in that my supposedly advantageous sense-improvement makes it easier to see marines but MUCH harder to see anything else. From an aesthetic perspective alone, it's debilitating and pointlessly so.
NS2 gets a whopping 16* STARS
and it's not even feature-complete.
I've focused on aliens because that's where I see most of the problem but I could point to super-turrets, the powergrid system and flamethrowers as example of physical and sensual limitations. They're less extreme but I also feel like they don't need
to be as limiting as they are.