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  • #16114
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 18
    Replies: 81

    Just making a brief post regarding my thoughts about the 0.9 drop, seeing as how this is the last drop before I get to play the full game.

    First off: that makes me very excited, because every time I see a new drop, I still get excited. Overload has come together beautifully, and even in its current state, I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth. I’ve been aching for a proper single-player 6DOF game for a while in the vein of Descent, and this is really, really on point. So starting there:

    The five levels currently available are excellent. I found the first couple of levels to be a little on the short and simple side. That makes sense, considering their placement in the campaign, but I was initially worried that Overload wouldn’t do anything to actually surprise me. Since then, levels 4 and 7 have been released, and the quality of these levels far exceeds 2, 3, and 6 in my opinion. These level designs are satisfyingly intricate, and it’s a real joy to explore. While in those initial levels, I noticed that the designs fell back a bit on some design tropes from D1 and D2, these two new levels have their own personality and character and really kept me on my toes.

    I’m really a fan of level 4 in particular, with it’s extreme verticality – I found myself really tensed up, as I honestly did not know where to expect the next robot mook to come from. On my first playthrough, I played very reactively until I knew for certain I was safe. When I did decide it was safe to start exploring the levels thoroughly, I began to appreciate just how disoriented I’d become just in combat. That’s something that really hasn’t happened to me since my early days of playing Descent, so kudos to the designers for making fantastic use of 3D space to build sensical and believable architecture that’s nonetheless labyrinthine in nature.

    Level 7 really proved to be a massive difficulty spike. I’d been playing on Hotshot until this point (that’s about as high as I can push the difficulty when playing with an Xbox One controller – which works far better for this game than I originally thought a gamepad ever could). I didn’t turn the difficulty down, but I did have to do some save-scumming. Died probably 5 times in my run. If I had one complaint, it’s simply that the step from level 6 to 7 feels pretty steep. Kinda reminded me of the jump from level 10 to level 11 in D1 . Still, I found this a particularly lengthy and fun level to track down secrets in (16 found on the first run, not bad). Some of the puzzles were really satisfying to work out in a nearly Zelda-esque way, and I look forward to more brain-teasers in the future.

    Plus, I’m a fan of the game really rewarding exploration. The RPG-lite mechanics really add a lot to the game, since hunting down upgrade points is almost essential to survival as the difficulty ramps up. This is a much better system than merely giving the player weapons, as it’s frustrating to find a secret or work out a puzzle only to find a weapon you’ve already maxed yourself out on. I compare roughly everything I play to DOOM ’16 now, since I feel strongly that it’s the best FPS ever made, with a great balance of super-fast combat and exploration. I think Overload really comes close to matching that balance, as I felt compelled to really take my time. I feel like exploration and collection in most modern games are often put in as afterthoughts or to give completionists something to do, but it really feels like a necessary and inextricable part of the experience here.

    Overall, I would say that the campaign so far feels very well-paced. Between levels 2 and 3, I was slightly worried about length, as both were short levels, but 4, 6, and 7 have erased all doubt. 7 took me roughly an hour on my first playthrough, so I’m estimating from my experience so far that this is going to be a solid 8-10 hour experience start to finish, if I’m taking my time with it. It’s a decidedly old-school experience, but massively refined.

    Challenge Mode
    I really dig the most recent changes to Challenge mode, which addresses my biggest complaint so far – one kill = one point really didn’t take robot difficulty into account, which made it frustrating when I kept getting 30-kill Ace runs with absurdly hard ‘bot types, and I was basically banking on luck to give me easy robots every time I started a game. This feels far more fair, and the addition of combos and bonuses really encourages the player to be aggressive, where previously the best strategy was to be as conservative as possible and circle maps to get the jump on robots one at a time. The difficulty on Ace (I’ve not yet unlocked insane on any map yet; yes, I suck at Overload) is a lot less brutal than it once was, as I easily scored 55 kills on my second attempt on Syrinx, where I used to do well to get 40. CM continues to be a real draw as a true arcade-style sh’mup.

    I don’t really have any criticisms of the levels themselves, except for the fact that I very much dislike the tighter levels like caverns. That’s just personal preference though – Blizzard, Pipeline, and Syrinx are my top 3 here just because of the more open design, although I find Centrifuge to be the most fun of the tighter levels.

    Performance and Gameplay
    I’m pleased to report that I have not experienced any serious bugs or issues during my time with Overload, other than crashing upon exit (??) earlier in the EA. Since around 0.8 and afterward, I haven’t noticed this happening. As far as performance, I manage a rock-steady framerate with very few dips, no matter the carnage going on the screen. I’m using a Dell Inspiron with a Core i7, nVidia GTX 960M w/ 4GM VRAM, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD. Load times are equally fast, although I’ll take this moment to ask if there’s any sort of animation that can be added to the “teleporting to” screen, because it’s not immediately obvious that the game is loading and hasn’t crashed. I’ll add that I love the art and graphics design, which is exceptionally clean and sharp.

    Gameplay feels great with both mouse + keyboard and with a gamepad. My preferred method is with the M+K combination, although with a 9-month-old crawling around the house, it’s much easier for me to grab an Xbox One controller and sit down on the couch. I didn’t think I would enjoy using a gamepad with a 6DOF game, but you guys proved me wrong – I much prefer using it for this than I do for any other FPS game, and while I’m not as skilled with it, it’s arguably more intuitive and immersive than using a M+K. The only difficult part is managing all the slide controls, which leads to more bichording than I’d like to admit… But it doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of the SP campaign (although I fully expect using a gamepad to get me slaughtered in MP).

    Final thoughts

    Scores are dumb and irrelevant, so I’ve stopped using them. But I do think Overload is about 95% of where it needs to be for full release, and my only gripes would be nitpicks. I doubt Overload will ever be some sort of great paradigm shift for gaming, but it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to refine the Descent formula to be an absolute blast to play – it does, and it is. The three games I’ve enjoyed the most this past year or two have been DOOM ’16, Titanfall 2, and Red Faction: Armageddon; none of these games really innovated. They just made the simple act of running and gunning the most fun it could possibly be, and that’s what kept me invested. It’s often the quadruple-A titles that are hailed as massive innovators that leave me bored, because they move gaming forward in a direction that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me. I’m glad Overload doesn’t make the same missteps as the Descent series, because, despite my rose-tinted glasses, I can find a lot of faults with them when viewed within the modern gaming space (Class 1 Drillers, you sucked back in ’95, you suck worse today). But I’m also glad it’s doing all the things that Descent did right – and is expanding on them in small, but meaningful ways. Overload is shaping up to be one of the best releases in 2018 for me, and I am absolutely stoked to play the whole thing.

    One last thank you to the developers: this is a clearly a labor of love, and it shows. I am glad to have supported this project in some small way, and it really feels like something special to watch this all come together. Where most devs stumble and wander, you guys have really soared, and that’s a testament to the professionalism of the team, who clearly know how to turn a dream into reality while still navigating the murky waters of engaging with a long-established and rather opinionated fandom. Revival is the best, and I mean that with my wallet… Thanks.

    Mike Kulas
    Overload Team
    Topics: 24
    Replies: 186

    Thanks! That’s great feedback and it’s gratifying to read the Final Thoughts.

    Also nice to see Red Faction Armageddon get a mention. 😉

    Topics: 0
    Replies: 2

    I’ve two impressions I would like to pass along about .9. and Challenge Mode.

    1) The new explosions that the bots make look really cool, but I’m finding it distracting because if you’re right next to it, it hides everything else and I can’t see around the explosion at the bot hiding behind it. Maybe they could be smaller in CM?

    2) I like the larger maps, especially Bizzard and Pipeline. It is probably because I am using mouse and keyboard and it is harder to slide up and down in small maps like I used to with my old CH joystick with hat. That may be just me though.

    3) Extra… I know it is all code and everything, but in playing Ace in CM, so often it seems like robots appear out of nowhere from around corners. It’s not really something that I can point exactly to a certain time, but, I… just… it just sometimes feels like that. I have a great computer with a great video card so I doubt it is a rendering problem. it may not even be a problem at all, it just seems like they pop out to me.

    Thanks for listening. Oh, I remember playing Descent with my friends at home LAN parties with coax network cables and I just want to say that Overload is just amazing and certainly a worthy successor to Descent/Descent2. I loved those games! You guys are doing an amazing job!

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    I’ve two impressions I would like to pass along about .9. and Challenge Mode.

    3) Extra… I know it is all code and everything, but in playing Ace in CM, so often it seems like robots appear out of nowhere from around corners. It’s not really something that I can point exactly to a certain time, but, I… just… it just sometimes feels like that. I have a great computer with a great video card so I doubt it is a rendering problem. it may not even be a problem at all, it just seems like they pop out to me.

    Do you mean they pop into existence with no visual effect accompanying their sudden appearance?

    Prepare for Overload…

    Topics: 0
    Replies: 2

    It seems like it to me. It has happened too many times for me discount it as a fluke. I think, it is mostly in Pipeline.

    Luke Schneider
    Overload Team
    Topics: 10
    Replies: 115

    Ooh, yeah, that might be a possibility on Pipeline. Not sure we updated the occlusion after the level changes (same with Centrifuge). Sorry about that!


    Topics: 12
    Replies: 84

    Speaking of occlusion, I also noticed a few light sources popping in and out on some levels – kind of like some unintentional flickering lights. Most notable was in Phoebe Refinery, there is a flickering skylight (See the secret area with 2 Creepers & Scorpions)!

    That being said, I join D2Disciple. I’m very glad that the project has reached its final stages with such persistence, and with such quality. Keep it up, and good luck!

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 17
    Replies: 70

    Overload is awesome now. It’s really nice. I love the sound and the visuals. It’s a multimedia feast. I would still love to see more variety in textures and angles but it’s a really pretty game as is, if stark as f**k.

    Now one thing stood out to me as a bit weird. I liked how easy it was to save. But when I hit save, I was not confident I had actually saved. I didn’t see a reassuring message “Game saved : [file info]” or even just “Game saved” … or if it appeared I didn’t know where.

    So I had to go back and save again to check that I had actually occupied a save slot.

    It would be nice if we just had a “save” acknowledgement in the cockpit HUD.

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