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Descent: Underground Unearthed On Early Access

Reimagining classic 90s video games is something crowdfunding platforms seem cut out for. Ah, nostalgia, what a wondrous thing. It’s been some 15 years since a Descent game reached our telly screens, and 21 years since the first – a pioneering space shooter with six degrees of freedom – did the same.

After barely succeeding on Kickstarter earlier this year, the multiplayer-focused Descent: Underground [official site] has now arrived on Steam Early Access.

Such is the nature of the long, uncertain and circuitous road Early Access weaves, pun-heavy developers Descendent Studios have made clear Descent: Underground – which brings FPS action the six degrees of freedom table – is a work in progress. Whilst they expect a full release next year, your cash right now will land you three maps, three ship types, three missiles, two guns, offline free flight and bot combat, and a quick-match multiplayer mode, all of which seems pretty generous. Single-player missions are planned for future updates.

Underground may have the Descent name, but that’s licensed from the shambling remains of publishers Interplay. The founding Underground team was not involved with the Descent games, though after the Kickstarter Descendent picked up a Descent veteran who’s working on its sound and music. [Update: Forgetful old Alice had missed that he’d come onboard. Sorry! -ed.]

While I do hold fond memories of the original Descent, spiritual successor Sublevel Zero has mostly filled that gap/urge for me. Adam sang a similar tune last month after a short play through, so much so he reckons it could be one of his favourite games of 2015. Is there a need for a return to Descent, given the slack that’s been somewhat picked up in the intervening years? Naturally, that remains to be seen but Descent: Underground will be an interesting one to follow for this very reason.

Kickstarter backers should have access now. If not, Descent: Underground will cost £22.99 on Steam at full price; it’s £19.08 with a 17% discount until October 29th.

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Joe Donnelly

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