- The final chapter to the Descent trilogy saga was greatly needed for a story that was a little more than half-complete, and, executed using the right scripting, Descent 3 helps explain the entire situation about PTMC robots, why they were corrupt, and who was behind all of the attacks throughout the saga. (Forget the animation of the cutscenes that is rather dated and thus somewhat cringeworthy, although it may also make the cutscenes fun to watch because of the so-bad-it's-good effect.)
- The graphics even for a Windows 98 game are the very type that makes us want to take them seriously and solemnly respect them, which is to say, it is among the best-looking graphics even by today's standards. The audio fits well as an excellent quality, too, and that music...
- The artificial intelligence is greatly enhanced (they are more aware of their surroundings and stay being involved) and unpredictable, and the combat is surprisingly challenging, especially more so without powerups or on a higher difficulty level.
- What makes this game arguably the best in the saga is the ability to fly in outside environments. Previously, we were busy navigating only mines and destroying reactors before escaping through an exit. With this, however, the game allows players to fly in mines and in the outside environment, allowing a true sense of variety.
- Another thing that makes this game the best in the saga is that each mission has its own objectives for the player to complete, primary and sometimes secondary. Previously, we would play numerous varying levels with the primary objective being to destroy the mine's reactor core and escaping and the secondary objective to rescue hostages (for which the game rewarded the player). Descent 3 promises that numerous types of missions are possible.
- Multiplayer is greatly expanded again, and it seems that it has reached the best that it could. One of the most functional and most developed multiplayer out there.
- The useful wireframe automap has been entirely replaced with an even more useful one with textures, and using it is easier and clearer than it ever was beforehand.
- Undisappointingly, it has played it safe and retained all the features that make a Descent game what it should be: level editor, first-person shooter perspective, robots, multiplayer, cooperative, secret areas and levels--I could go on.
- There may not be the Pyro-GX anymore, or the Earthshaker Missile, but there are three ships (plus another in the expansion pack that comes with the Steam version) with their own statistics, with one average, the second fast but weak, and the last slow but powerful, and there are more weapons like the Black Shark missile with more originality and an even wider variety of function. And we also have the beloved Guide-Bot as a sidekick that comes with us for all of the campaign. Like the one in the game's predecessor, it is of high assistance, which may make it and the Material Defender an excellent duo. However, powerups can make it an excellent weapon.
- Descent 3's campaign, Retribution, somewhat falls "short" in that it partly feels like a comprehensive summary of a larger story, leaving some questions to be answered in the end, although all the important plot points are given. Descent 3: Mercenary seems to have resolved the issue, so this does not apply.
- The game has been notorious for bugs such as those that would cause the game to crash apparently without an explanation, and unfortunately, at version 1.4, it still is somewhat buggy. The crashing is occasional, though somewhat predictable, and it can be made even rarer if one can identify the cause of the crash (such as using the Guide-Bot in multiplayer and exiting the Descent 3 windows perhaps to calibrate the joystick before returning) and avoid it. Gameplay-wise, I do not expect people to have too much trouble with bugs such as the Guide-Bot seemingly swaying to and fro in one area.
CONCLUSION: It may be a commercial failure, and the bugs may occasionally throw off some gamers, but Descent 3 firmly stands as a 6DOF classic to one of the greatest game series, and with a consistent conclusion. Speaking of which...
P.S. Rest in peace, Descent. It may be true that there may never be a Descent 4 (though we do have Descent: Underground and Overload) and that the causative commercial failure was Interplay's fault, but you rocked the world with your inspiration and at least completed the entire story with 3. See you later. <:-(