The first mission in the game is a skippable training mission. The training exercise will guide through the basic controls of your vessel (starting with movement), rotation, and finally combat training.
After some play, you may feel that the controls may not be optimal (especially after playing other modern games such as Half-Life.) The controls can be reconfigured without problem from the main menu, and adjusted to centralize the movement keys in a single area.
At the beginning of the normal campaign, you will be provided with the Pyro-GX, with a laser and a few missiles. The ship's weaponry can be upgraded by collecting the various items floating around; the ship can also be recharged and repaired in the same fashion.
There are five difficulty settings, ranging from Trainee to Insane. The higher difficulty levels increase the aggressiveness of enemies, increase their dodging ability, and reduces the bonuses received from energy and shield pickups.
Most players may want to play on Rookie or Hotshot difficulty. If played on Insane, the robots are capable of creating extended dogfights that may cause you to run out of ammunition.
Descent 3, like the other games in the series, has been known to cause motion sickness after several minutes of play. If this occurs, pause the game, and take a short break.
The multiplayer portion that requires Parallax Online is non-functional.