Descent 3 is the action-shooter to go down in the record books as one of the fastest, most challenging and insane titles for the PC. In fact, the Descent series has the highest "Make Chris Couper feel sick" rating since the time I spun myself on the merry-go-round for an hour as a child.
Fast. Descent 3 is fast, furious, in-your-face action. 360 degrees, twisty tunnels, and a whole "shipload" of enemies make Descent 3 a harrowing title. While I don't claim to be the fighter ace Descent pilot, I was still able to navigate quickly and use crucial dodging, strafing and circling maneuvers to destroy the 'bots. On my AMD K6-2 350, Descent 3 ran like a dream, fluid and quick.
Challenging. This game had me up late at night more times then I could count. Missions started out innocently enough, but then progressed into multi-goal missions that had me grinding my teeth. I love a game that can immerse me without inducing any sense of monotony. Descent 3 kept me on my toes the whole time I was playing. It looked good, it sounded good, and dog-gone it, it played good.
Insane. Full 360 degree range of motion is in a word: insane. If you've played any of the Descent series, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Descent 3 brings it to an all new level with its spiffy graphics, sounds, and the improved AI. The AI is what makes the game truly challenging. These 'bots are so smart at times, you'd swear there were real humans on the other end moving them. Thank goodness for the 'skill level adjustment' feature which allows you to change your skill level during the game. Trust me, you'll spend some parts of the game in 'rookie' mode.
Being able to go 'outside' is definately a neat feature, and a nice change from just flying underground. Using the "fusion" engine, you seemlessly go from inside to outside and vice versa.
Another welcome addition is the 3 different ships and the wide range of weaponry and power-ups. The ships are the Phoenix, a fast and deftly maneuverable ship, the Magnum, a slower ship which possesses superior strength and weapon power, and finally the Pyro which is a mix of the two.
If you're into flight action shooters, chances are you've played the Descent series. If you liked the previous Descent games, you'll LOVE this (beyond a doubt!). If you haven't played them, check this out. You will not be disappointed!
Graphics: Stunning. Immersive. Amazing! Great lighting effects, amazing detail on ships, I can't say enough about how good this game looks.
Sound: My imitation of my roommate when I played Descent 3: "Chris! CHRIS! TURN IT DOWN! CHRIS! You're making the house shake!" Sounds as good as it looks!
Enjoyment: I loved Descent 3! The game is so immersive you'll be dreaming of it!
Replay Value: While the multi-player adds a new universe of play, I'm not really eager to go back and play all the missions (specially the tough ones) again..
Descent 3, the latest installment in the long running, originally revolutionary, Dramamine requiring, zero-gravity action romp, has finally hit the shelves. Praise what gods you believe in, sacrifice your pets to them, sing praises in rain dances, buy quality multi-function joysticks en masse, just don't let your copy sit on the shelves for long... this sucker is better than heroin.
For those of you who might not know, the Descent series of games casts you as a mercenary, flying a zero- gravity craft in an attempt to kill robots who have been infected with an evil, nano-technology virus. As all the game mechanics are zero G, the movement possibilities, which are far to complicated to describe here, create gamplay were simply moving around is a joy, and combat utilizes the possibilities of a 3D engine better than anything else out there on the market. It's the sort of game that, once you get a good enough joystick and become proficient at advanced maneuvering techniques, will simply astonish you. It provides more of an intense feel of flight-sim bravado from pulling of a beautiful maneuver than you might get from taking out a squadron of Messerchmitzs over Ardennes, in a Spitfire, in real life.
On the other hand, full, 6-degrees-of-freedom movement can be too much for some non-hardcore gamers to handle. For the casual gamer, Descent 3 can be confusing, dizzying, and even neaseating. This is a game for the pro's.
New to Descent 3, though, is the ability to fly your craft not only through indoor, but also outdoor environments, a task done with much aplomb. Adding the outdoor element allows for an even greater use of the maneuvering capabilities, adds variety to the levels, and ensures that the game never gets dull or boring, even after repeated journeys through the single player campaign. A few new weapons, both missiles and primary guns (that's energy or projectile) have been added, each being incredibly effective, satisfying, and cool. The beautifully vicious flamethrower and the 'Ghostbusters-like' leeching Omega cannon being the most impressive of the bunch. Also added are a multitude of useful objects, including a variety of intriguing mines.
Furthermore, all of the enemies, each endowed with breathtaking AI, are new designs, each one being unique both in ability, structure, and behavior so that each requires a specific combat approach. The cute guide bot from Descent 2 is back, this time as carry-on baggage. His more intimate nature allows you to issue him a variety of orders, making the little 'bot even more useful than before.
The plot of Descent 3 involves you, reprising your familiar role of the Material Defender, being rescued from your cliffhanger hyper-jump malfunction (end of Descent 2) and proceeding to go on a quest to expose your evil former employers, who seem to have been doing some extremely suspect things with the virus.
Insubstantial as the plot may be (conveyed by almost laughable 3D characters in cliche, though effective, cut scenes), it does provide adequate reason to once again, go down into action, through 15 incredible, massive levels, enjoying the best graphics and action on the market. The designers have even gone so far as to give you actual, interesting objectives in each level instead of the tiresome "find the yellow/blue/red key cards" formula.
It's been just about one year since Unreal first hit the stores and finally, after all that time, there is a game that can actually best it in terms of graphics. From the modeling, colored lighting, incredible special effects, wonderful animation, to the sheer overall feel, Descent 3 is the prettiest game yet to grace a monitor. By merging a flight simulation engine with a more traditional indoor engine, Descent 3's 'Fusion Engine' provides outstanding graphics in both the indoor an outdoor arenas.
Sound and control are on a similar plane of greatness. The overall slickness of the audio, video, and tangible facets of the game make the action some of the most hard hitting, and utterly satisfying out there, especially considering the great variety and chaotic nature lent to combat by the advanced maneuverability.
In fact, the whole production of Descent 3 is very slick and remarkably bug free. This is one of the most professionally assembled products to be released in a long time. Its refreshingly balanced, consistent, simply oozing with high production values and the long loving effort of game designers who are at the top of their field.
Not enough? For once, an action game has shipped with intuitive, and perfectly operational multiplayer. Spanning over 9 multilayer modes, game styles, and connection types. Descent 3 even supports the old Modem-Modem connection so two good friends can go at it with no latency. When playing over the Internet, server listing and player ranking is provided seamlessly by Paralax Online. Particularly impressive in the Internet gaming is that even at high ping rates, say about 1000 or so, Descent 3 remains playable. And of course, the number of multiplayer modes and complexity of maneuverability make Descent 3 almost as deep a multiplayer experience as the ground breaking Starsiege: Tribes.
In every way that really matters, Descent 3 is a fantastic game. With killer graphics, sound, gameplay, stability, and multiplayer it is all you need for a long term action obsession. There is one thing though: aside from slapping in the face all those companies who release beta products instead of fully tested games, Descent 3 does not strictly do anything revolutionary.
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