Descent: Underground begins a new generation of confined-space combat.
The original Descent emerged from the stars all the way back in 1995, significantly before spaceflight in three glorious dimensions was any kind of commonplace. But did Descent care about commonplace? No! It only cared about frantic high-speed battles, close quarters and collapsing pathways, and a cult legacy that would survive it for 20 years thereafter. And clearly, it did its job. As consoles rose and the PC scene fell for a while, Descent was one of many franchises left adrift in the starry sea of obscurity. Now, though, the Descent branding has been picked up by an all-new team, breathing new life into the franchise. Featuring people responsible for games in the Star Wars and Star Citizen series and many more, the studio operates under the name of Descendant Studios.
Powered by Unreal Engine 4, Descent: Underground boasts a lot more than a simple technical upgrade to the original formula. We’re talking ship customization, upgradable parts, skill trees galore, and more. One of the most exciting features this new game has to offer is a destructible voxel-based environment, with secret passages and areas waiting to be discovered. As with the original, Descent: Underground is all based around fast, six-axis spacecrafts tossed into enclosed environments more similar to those of something like Goldeneye. The result is what looks like some of the best space action since the starfighter levels in Star Wars Battlefront II.
Descent: Underground certainly doesn’t put you in a corridor when it comes to options. Eight unique ship styles give you the options of focusing on close or long-range combat, harvesting resources, or running support from behind the front lines. You can build and manage drones, set traps, and even more, making the online zero-G combat as varied as possible. Game matches can vary from capturing asteroids and resources to engaging in all-out deathmatches. Every match can support up to 16 players, leaving the night sky swarming with engine fuel and the scent of blood. A single-player campaign is also included, as a sort of prologue to the multiplayer campaign proper.
Descent: Underground pays respect to the series’ 20-year respite with a 300-year timehop of its own. In the year 2315, Earth is kind of a mess. Governments have fallen, and corporations eager to take control have risen in their place. In secure financial and physical control of Earth and its remaining resources, these huge companies also set their sights to asteroid mining, leading to a whole new meaning of corporate warfare. Putting on elaborate games to appease the destitute public of Earth, corporations hire pilots to fly and fight in space; all for the peoples’ amusement! You are one such pilot, and your job is to be as much of a Han Soloian space badass as possible and keep your reputation high.
The Descendents may not be NASA engineers, but they know that charting the depths of space is no easy task. The team needs a whopping $600,000 to reach the stars. Notable reward tiers include special in-game ships, your name in the games credits, an invitation to the company launch party, and a LOT more. Stretch goals for now seem mainly centered around expanding the selection of ships available in the game. For more details on the various types of ships and game modes, as well as to fund the project yourself, check it out on Kickstarter. Serious, there’s info a’plenty that I haven’t even touched on, making it clear that the Descendents came prepared. Descent: Underground invites players to start their engines and duke out like it’s the Hunger Games…but in SPACE!