Perpetuum: Terra Incognita is more than just a Mech based MMO
By Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Perpetuum: Terra Incognita is a new subscription based sci-fi MMORPG from Avatar Creations. The game focuses on the concept of companies/conglomerates trying to get the most resources out of the planet Nia with you as part of their "workforce".
For a subscription based MMORPG, I must say that Perpetuum looks pretty shabby compared to the bigger titles out there. Your "robot" is blocky and the visuals lack the oomph you'd find even in free to play games.
I don't know though if this is related to the world you're supposed to explore and mine, but it seems that the game never loses the color gray. While the game description puts Nia as a world that's similar to Earth, the planet feels more like cybertron instead of Gaia. It doesn't help that Nia is in fact filled with "synthetic" creatures which you'll have to destroy with either guns or rockets to emphasize its cyber-tronish characteristics more.
While Perpetuum does muck things up with the Earth-likeness of Nia, the game at least conveys a world that hits its mark as far as sci-fi is concerned.
Being that Perpetuum revolves around the story of commerce, mining and territory building, the game jumps between mining, earning resources, PVE-ing and PVP-ing. Before you jump to the conclusion that Perpetuum is action-packed with arcade-style controls, I will set you straight.
The game plays more like a RTS game rather than your usual action-based space themed MMOs. While you control only one ship, your tactics will play a key role in the success of failure of each mission.
Perpetuum allows you to fully customize your "mech". The customization options remind me of the console game Armored Core where your mech's look is determined by the parts you equip it with. Equipping parts to your robot isn't an easy task as anyone with experience with MMOs would expect. You have to actually mix and match the parts so that it fits to your intended task for the said robot. You also have to juggle with the limitations set by the capabilities of certain parts which hails back to the customization feature of Armored Core where the parts you can equip is determined by the power of the core generation of said AC robot. All this remains true in Perpetuum.
Aside from equipping your mech in Perpetuum your robot's strengths and weaknesses are also determined by how you build up your "pilot". This is set from the start via the choice of alliance your pilot has and focus on what skills your "pilot" should have. You can further determine this in-game every time your character levels up. Perpetuum uses a more customization friendly setup because the game let's you choose the "skills" your character can acquire.
While the customization of the mech is pretty thorough, the avatar creation is on a whole different plane but not in a good way. Yes you can "tweak" your avatar's look you don't really see it in action. The only use for your avatar is for the headshot of your character shown in your "character screen" and that's about it. I should also add that your character's headshot is comic to look at. It's pretty obvious that Avatar Creations didn't really put a lot of effort in the avatar creation compared to the other "customization" aspects of the game and that's forgivable in my book since you won't really bother with your avatar in the long run.
As I mentioned earlier, Perpetuum jumps between mining, PVE-ing and PVP-ing. The game uses a consistent open world PVP system with only one server to promote not only community building but also a "supposedly" intense PVP experience for players.
Battling monsters and other characters requires you to prep your targeting system while "arming" your weapon systems. You also have to work with the range of your weapons before you can start firing at your targets. Fighting low leveled monsters can even be a pain if you come in guns-a-blazin'. In fact there will be times that you have to be in a group to win the low level mobs since- they are tend to group up and will tear you apart before you have time to even snipe off one.
Perpetuum has a pretty solid community for a starting MMO. Once you get into the game you are welcomed by a GM who's tasked to help new players out in understanding the game. Aside from that the community chat is vibrant with players both helpful and not.
However I can't really give my final verdict for the game's community since it's still new and based on experience sometimes communities which start out as great have the tendency to turn bad once more players come in. So I'll let you decide on that one.
Overall, Perpetuum is a solid MMO that gives players a lot more customization features than your normal sci-fi MMO. Personally I don't think that the game's visuals merit this to be a subscription based game, however its robust customization and gameplay systems would make it worthwhile. With the way things are standing for Perpetuum, Avatar Creations have to be consistent with the updates because the game is specialized to hit a target market of gamers who want more "personal touches" in their sci-fi MMOs.
My few gripes aside from the game's visuals are that the interface is cluttered. While yes, you have the power to customize your interface’s looks, the menus are vast and required so a bit of clutter is a necessary evil to stay efficient. Aside from the cluttered interface, the controls can be quite a handful and complicated so you can't just jump in and play without going through the game's tutorial. This can be a deal breaker for a lot of people who'd like to jump into the game as soon as they made their characters but I think this is a good "filter" for the quality of players who would actually spend time (and money) on the game.
Perpetuum is a game that appeals to the more "hardcore" sci-fi gamers or at least to the people tired of the daily grind of the standard industry MMO.
Graphics - 2/5
Controls - 3/5
Features - 3/5
Customization - 5/5
Community - 4.5/5