Overload - Spiritual Sequel to Descent, from the original developers


I haven’t been updating, but boy, Titan Harbour has some really fun areas. As these robots get better and better weapons, each encounter now is really tough. I have better weapons too, which helps, but it gets harder and harder to get through any encounter unscathed anymore, even while using lots of missiles. If enemies don’t drop health, it’s best just to reload a saved game even if I survive.


Phew, you are really putting yourself through the places playing it on Ace! Titan Harbour was challenging enough on Hotshot, but one of my favourite levels. The vast, vertical spaces midway through the level are just so much fun to fight in, and the exit run is quite stressful! (at least, it was for me).


I finished Titan Harbor last week, and I finished it with 10 Super Upgrade points, and 7 regular upgrade points, which is more than I’ve ever had before, so all this week I’ve been just starting spending those points differently and starting Tethys Lab. I don’t know why I never thought of this before. This is a really great way to get a feel for the various upgrades. Do I want more powerful Impulse cannon that takes less energy, or an impulse cannon that fires four shots instead of 2? I thought the former sounded way better, but it turns out that in actual combat, I do much better with the four shots at once. I can kick much more ass that way.

The Reflex cannon can be upgraded to reflect up to 25% towards the enemy, and then the next upgrade to either do more damage or to turn up to 45% towards the enemy when it bounces. I thought 45% sounded great, and I chose that. But it turns out at the beginning of Tethys Lab, most of my Reflex shots just hit the wall and dissipate, because the Reflex guns are not very long range, so turning 45% wasn’t all that useful.

So right now I’m still experimenting with the various weapons. The biggest problem is these damned enemies that are ships that look like a flat X, and they fire machine guns at me that get to me almost instantly and are so hard to dodge. They usually kill me. I need some combination of weapons to take these guys out fast. Maybe good old fashion Reflex cannon needs to make a comeback instead of me trying all these other upgrades.


Cyclone ++[F] is my weapon of choice - removes the distance cap, reduces energy usage, increases firing rate. It drills holes in anything! It does narrow the firing cone, but I prefer that to a wider arc anyway.

Here’s a post by the developer describing every upgrade. Spoilers, I guess (well not really, it’s just documentation), but it’s a very useful reference.



Ding. I just got my Kickstarter copy of the game via email a few minutes ago. Another successful Kickstarter. I have to admit, I was starting to worry the last couple of months, thinking I had chosen poorly by picking the Xbox version as my reward.


It’s finally out on Xbox?!?! I don’t see it in the Xbox store yet, omfg. Hurry up Overload!

Buying this as soon as it shows up, love the Steam version but want it on Xbox instead.


I’m not at home, but the code worked and the xbox website said it would be downloaded onto my home Xbox. So I should have it installed when I get home tonight. I’m guessing the kickstarter people get it before it’s available for sale. It should be soon though.


While sitting around waiting for this game to come out on Xbox already, I stumbled across this post from the developers.

It’s disheartening to hear that the game did so poorly saleswise and that the band probably won’t be getting back together. This was one of my top two favorite games from 2018.

It’s good to hear that several people ended up at Volition (Saints Row, Red Faction, Descent).


Yeah, bittersweet. Thanks for that update.

Still, we got our Descent 4, and hopefully Volition will make something financially successful for their next game.


Sad news. Though I guess I wouldn’t have expected high sales based on how few game players remember Descent when I ask about it. I guess it can’t have been everyone’s formative FPS.


Dammit. I almost bought this so many times, I loved Descent back in the day, but some of the discussion here scared me off (difficulty wise) so I never quite pulled the trigger. I’m still going to pick it up at some point of course, but I feel kind of bad I didn’t grab it at launch.


Descent is definitely a niche game. The movement in every direction is one hurdle, but personally, I find a purely robotic world uninteresting. It’s silly - it’s just a theme - but I can’t get past my dislike for a game where I just fight robots in enclosed spaces.


I know what you mean. That used to really bother me back in the Descent 1 and 2 days. Then by the time Descent 3 came out many years later, I didn’t mind as much, it was almost nostalgic to go back to fighting robots in an era where games were doing so much more. And of course, that was again the case with Overload. But yes, if Descent 3 and Overload had come out in the mid 90s, I would have been much more bothered by the cold robot nature of it all.


You know, that’s a great point. The enemies were robots in the olden days because it was easier to make enemies that could be represented by relatively few flat polygons. But that’s not really an issue these days. Would Overload have had a wider appeal if we found monsters down in those caves? Maybe.



Trying to dissect my own feeling about fighting robots: Perhaps it has more to do with the fact that having that synthetic setup implicitly means there’s no narrative content in-mission – all I can expect is a Doom-like experience. If these robots were sentient to the point of having personality and conversations, I think I’d have more interest in it.

Imagine if all these ships I’m fighting had pilots inside, and that you’d actually have a real plot per mission, with surprises and narrative arcs and what not. It’s mostly that I just don’t care about these hunks of metal because they don’t matter to anyone, and on top of that the game also lacks a theme that could hook me, like kicking alien butt while chewing bubble gum or surviving in hell.


Perhaps, but I thought Descent’s developers did a great job investing character into those robots - they may not have been flesh and blood, but they were still monsters. Each had a unique series of sounds, each had unique behaviour (far more so than Doom’s monsters which did little more than home in on the player), each died in its own way. Overload was obviously intended as a direct successor to this - and was set in the same universe - and so couldn’t really stray too far from the formula. I’m not sure turning them into chthonic monstrosities or flying spaghetti monsters would have broadened the appeal, but what do I know? I thought the enemies in Prey were unique and full of character, but apparently few agreed with me.

Well there is a narrative arc, one that goes to unexpected places towards the end of the campaign, and without spoiling too much it’s always been the corporation behind the robots (PTMC) that was the enemy in the Descent universe. The robots really aren’t so different to the grunts in any other FPS, surely?

Overload didn’t receive anything like the kind of coverage it deserved, though. Most of the main sites didn’t review it, and I see plenty of Descent fans who have only just become aware of its existence. It didn’t fit the continual update model that guarantees extended media coverage either.

It’ll be interesting to see how Descent (2019) does. With the official IP and publisher backing, it will probably get a lot more coverage. It’s still Descent Underground, though, which has had a rocky development and on its last updates was still reportedly the inferior game. There’s also Aquanox Deep Descent which is essentially Descent underwater with enemy subs and monstrous aquatic critters, so we’ll see how that fares.

I never expected to get a proper Descent sequel after all these years, so for that I’m grateful. I’m sad we’ll likely not see another, nor another “Freespace” title either (Revival were interested in tackling that if Overload was a success).


Robots are boring enemies, because they don’t have animations, or hit register animations or shouts when you fire at them, and they all look more or less the same.


Overload is finally available for purchase on Xbox One!

I’m downloading my copy right now. I notice that it doesn’t seem to have the Community Level Pack DLC available for purchase that the Steam version has, but I do hope that it becomes available in the near future.


Now that the game is officially out, I fired it up again last night. I’d done the tutorial 6 times already hoping to get the achievement for completing the tutorial, but it never popped. I was hoping the official release meant that achievements were finally enabled.

I finished the tutorial. Ba-bop! Achievement Unlocked.

Sweet. Now I can move forward on the Xbox version.


Just noticed this was on sale at GOG if one prefers that flavor.