Descent Underground Hits Steam Early Access, We Go Hands On

Jeff Williams

Descendant Studios has just today released Descent: Underground into Steam's Early Access. The Early Access version of Descent: Underground is available to everyone, backers and the general public alike.

The reboot of the 1999 classic 6DOF FPS, Descent, is now out in Early Access.

Though a reboot, this is also an officially licensed prequel that takes place inside of asteroids and their mining facilities. Just like the original you're taking on the role of a pilot in first person view, and you're thrust into high-stakes battles for the control of these asteroids and their rich mineral deposits. All rendered beautifully in Unreal Engine 4.

The six degrees of freedom is back letting you make your way through these mines any way you see fit. One thing that might be seen as a gripe, though I happen to enjoy it thoroughly, are the flight mechanics. You won't find Newtonian physics taking a hold of your ship, instead the original way in which you moved through space is retained, giving it a distinct arcade like feel.

And it's that arcade level of fun, something that's even reminiscent of Quake 3 or any other fast-paced shooter, that makes it such a blast to play. There are power-ups and weapons strewn about the level that let you get an advantage. Also helpful are shield regeneration spheres that I ended up running into accidentally while being chased by a few AI drones.

This is in Early Access, though, so just be aware that there are bound to be some issues that crop up. I didn't experience any thus far while playing multiplayer or singleplayer against some drones. It's also sparse at the moment, but what's included is decidedly great. This is precisely how Early Access should be used, not to make money, per-se, but to make a game better.

“Fully testing and balancing a richly-featured multiplayer and single player game requires a lot of players. Early Access gives us the chance to bring more people into the game at a crucial stage of development and get their feedback, which we plan to incorporate into the final game.”

- Descendent Studios CEO Eric Peterson

So whose going to like Descent: Underground? Fans of the original will be delighted to know that it retains a lot of what was so magical about the franchise. Also, if you enjoy fast paced shooters, then this'll appeal to you as well. It's fun, and though it's early, it's still a great game so far. The final product is scheduled for a release sometime in the first part of 2016 and will include a lot of singleplayer content and a lot more. It's currently $24.89 on Steam.

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