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Review - OVERLOAD - A Decent successor of Descent!

Overload - Main picture
Remember the first Descent game, released in 1995? At the time, this mix of flight simulator and FPS was revolutionary. Strangely, despite its massive success, it spawned only 2 sequels, and then NOTHING since the 90s.

We kept dreaming about a modern "remix" of Descent, and here it is.
OVERLOAD is the game Descent fans have been waiting for since the last Descent 3 in 1999, and even though it doesn't have the Descent name, it does have its developers, and not only it feels great, it actually feels even better than any of the Descent games.



Store Platform OVERALL RATING: 92%
Buy it on GOG PC
 + THE POSITIVE
- Orgasmic controls
- Super graphics with great particle effects!
- Amazing OST!
- Lots of content and good replayability
- Many secret places!
- 3D sound!
- VR support! (NOT TESTED!)
- Challenging but fair...
 - THE NEGATIVE
...But maybe still too challenging?
(A few bosses are too difficult)
- Level geometry is too simple
NOT RELEASED YET! PS4
NOT RELEASED YET! Xbox One

WHAT IS OVERLOAD?

  Overload is almost exactly like the old Descent
Same developers, same premise, and same frantic gameplay. (With obviously lots of improvements, but we'll cover this later!) 

Overload - facing lots of enemies at the same time
Eeer I'm not the droid you're looking for! Move along!

  It takes place in an alternative future, where big corporations have set up mining facilities in outer space. For some reason, the worker robots (20+ different types!) in these facilities have been infected with a virus(They say it's a virus, but they're hiding the fact that it's a windows 10 bug!), that is causing them to attack people.

Note!
  The story is written by the writer of FREESPACE 2!

Your job is to "clean" this mess up and destroy every robot. It's as simple as that.
Oh yeah, and blow up the reactor core on your way, but keep in mind you'll only have 30 seconds to escape before it all gets blown to smithereens. Cheers!😋

Overload - escaping from the reactor core explosion
Everytime I see someone or something escaping from fire, I think of Bruce Willis. Not sure why.

Basically, Overload is Doom without gravity
At its core, it's is still an old-school FPS, except you control a single-seat spaceship(too bad it's not a flying mech! Wouldn't it have been even cooler?), navigating in labyrinth-like mining facilities. 

Thanks to your ship, you can move in all directions(strafe, move up and down, and rotate!), which will lead to MANY confusing moments. 
Get ready to have to learn to find your way in this full 3D environment, or you'll get lost in the winding corridors! 

Overload - Golden corridor
Finally! I reached Goldfinger's house!

TIP!
Strangely, despite using lots of keys, the game feels MUCH BETTER with a gamepad than with a keyboard. Also, all keys are configurable!

Note!
  Overload is NOT a remake or a HD version of Descent. It's a completely new game, BASED on Descent, with new levels and enemies! 

  On the other hand, there’s a few signs in the game suggesting that it IS set in the same universe as Descent. You'll notice frequent mentions of the PTMC("Post-Terran Mining Corporation"), and more interesting, the ending suggests that in fact, Overload is a PREQUEL to Descent 1... 😉

Overload - blue corridor
This is when you have to start running. I mean, flying. FAST.

GAMEPLAY - BETTER THAN DESCENT!😋

  The main selling point of Overload is that your ship handles VERY well.
It's a perfect example of "easy to learn, hard to master" arcade shooting game. It just feels great as soon as you grab your gamepad/joystick/Sidewinder Dual strike controller/whatever.
 
  As you can imagine, in this 360° FPS, enemies can come from every angle, so try to continuously roll your ship around to deal with them! 
The game never lets you get comfortable, but the difficulty is fair overall, except a few bosses which are frustratingly hard.

Overload - dodging shots


  Also, instead of strafing as you always do in most FPS, we recommend to use "pitch" instead, while using vertical controls. We also recommend some vomit bags, just in case.

TIP!
Press F8 to quicksave at any time!

  Your ship is equipped with two different weapon types
- Energy weapons, which deplete from a pool of energy that is also shared by a third system - the light of your ship, and a probe that can guide you to ammo / energy reserves. You can replenish your energy(AND HEALTH!) weapons with items enemies will drop, and recharge stations.
- Ammunition weapons, which are are based around supplies that are found in the environment. 

Overload - Reflex and Hunter weapons
Oh yes, I did shoot that green shit at you!

  Despite being quite "arcadish", Overload gives you access to lots of options which give you the possibility to alter your gameplay style in subtle ways. 

The upgrade system (which wasn't in the original Descent game!) allows you to tailor your gunship's properties and the weapons you've acquired to suit your playstyle. 

You won't be able to craft a "jack-of-all-trades" weapon though, as each specialization has downsides. 

Examples:

Overload - Options
Customize the amount of vomit you want to puke!
- Heavy shotgun with lots of knockback effect.

- Fully automatic rifle-type weapon, but with tight cone of fire.

These upgrades are permanent, which improves a bit the replayability, as you'll have restart the game if you want different weapons. 


 
Also, don't underestimate the very deep customizing options, which allows you to completely change the HUD details, alter the field of view, or adjust how quickly the ship rolls around, etc. 

  You'll spend hours in the options to make the game as comfortable as you want to suit your needs. 

Overload - the floor is lava
Did you know you can drink lava? But only once.

  Levels are overall much better designed than the original Descent, which makes the game a bit easier to navigate. 

  You have a much better sense of place and direction, and to help you, you have the automap and also, you can deploy a holographic guide to lead you to the next objective, or to find the emergency exit once the reactor goes critical!

TIP!
  Overload is "overloaded" with secrets! Just in the first level alone, there are 15 hidden areas! And you'd better do your best to find them, as they often reveal some precious upgrade points, used for your ship and weapons!

Overload - Countdown mode
It's the final countdown!

When you're done with the single-player mode, you can attack the "challenge modes":

- "Infinite" is basically a last stand survival mode. Robots keep spawning and you have to survive for as long as possible while destroying as many robots as possible.
- "Countdown"  is very similar, except, this time, you have a 5-minute timer. 


Both modes are averagely fun, but the online leaderboards will motivate you to compete against other players around the world!

Overload - looks like hell


   Overload has a very decent gameplay time(~15/20 hours), containing 15 large and dense levels, and you'll definitely want to try the New Game+ mode(unlocked upon completion), as it lets you run through the game once more, but with your complete upgraded arsenal right away! .....Obviously, enemies will be harder, though.😅

  Finally, apparently, you'll get a level editor in a future update, but we don't know when exactly yet!
  Overload is already a very enjoyable shooter, so we can't imagine how great it could become if dedicated mappers decide to add new content!

Our suggestions:
- Although Descent has always been about tight corridors, how about some OPEN maps on planets?
- Friendly A.I. to help you!(okay, this might not be possible...😭)
- Starfox-like voices while playing 
- Make ROGUE SQUADRON IV.(alright, that too might prove to be difficult...😁)


Overload - fireworks-like explosion
Better than 4th of July. This is so beautiful I could cry.😢


GRAPHICS - FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE FIREWORKS!😍

  Overall, Overload is a VERY lovely game to look at. While the low-poly environments themselves use a too simple and angular geometry, the lighting effects are STUNNING, and the various metallic(well, almost everything is made of metal in this game!) surfaces offer some very pleasant shiny reflections.

Overload - great reflections on metallic surfaces
The lighting engine makes me think of what Gzdoom engine is capable of, recently.

Note!
Overload doesn't need a NASA computer to run nicely and show you what it's made of. 
4GB of ram and an average-budget GPU will do.

  The impressive visual effects(fireworks-like robots explosions!) truly bring the game alive, but what makes Overload feel very "atmospheric" is the spectacular environmental lighting
Try to fire a flare down a dark tunnel, or admire the robots' headlights looking for you around dark corners to see what we're talking about! 

Overload - Lancer and Devastator weapons



MUSIC & SFX - EARGASM IN 3D😍🎶

  Composers from Descents 1, 2 and 3(Dan Wentz (DESCENT 2), Allister Brimble (DESCENT 1), and Jerry Berlongieri (DESCENT 3)) returned and deliver us EXCELLENT music, perfect to get you pumped for the crazy action.
The composers did great in recreating this distinct 90s video game sound, mixing dark techno and some heavy guitars.




  SFX are great, and if you have the right speaker system or headphones, you'll have eargasm(s!) thanks to the surround effect

 Voices are too robotic and boring, although it's not too important in such a game, as you can imagine.
But having passionate dialogues while playing, like in a Starfox game, wouldn't have felt out of place, and would have made this very metallic and cold(sometimes VERY hot, though😅) place a bit more "human". Too bad!

Just for the pleasure of your nostalgic ears, enjoy this AWESOME track of the very first Descent! =>



RATING BOX
Overload - Game cover


VERSION TESTED: Build 1834 (18-06-2018)

Publisher:

Developer:

Release Date:
31 May, 2018

Genre: Action, FPS

Single-player

Difficulty: Normal/Hard 


Store Platform
Buy it on GOG PC
NOT RELEASED YET! PS4
NOT RELEASED YET! Xbox One
GRAPHICS: 86%
Spectactular lighting effects, but what a shame that the low-poly level geometry is a bit too "crude"! Despite this, level design is on point!
MUSIC: 90%
Almost as good as the original Descent OSTS, the dark techno-metal style fits perfectly Overload gameplay and will pump you up like crazy.
SOUNDS: 88%
Awesome 3D surround sounds overload your ears! Your ship is a bit too silent, though. Voices are boring in general.
GAMEPLAY: 94%
  Thanks to the perfect controls, the game manages to perfectly capture that frantic mid-90s gameplay, while still polishing things up nicely so that it feels like a proper 2018 experience!
OVERALL RATING: 92%
  The controls feel right, the sound design and visuals are spectacular, and the level design is classic Descent goodness!

  OVERLOAD is the perfect challenging and intense Descent spiritual successor we were waiting for, and that everyone should play! If you enjoyed the original Descent games, you're assured to have a blast with OVERLOAD!
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