Over the past couple of months, I have been spending a bit of time in the game Perpetuum, by Avatar Creations. For me, the game popped up out of obscurity. For a person who reads plenty of gaming blogs and new sites, it surprised me that I had never heard of it before. A few days before release, all of a sudden it was popping up everywhere on Twitter, and people were raving. I was fortunate enough at this time to be given an early access pass, and I’m glad I was.
It is apparent right from the start, and very important that I include this, that the biggest influence on Perpetuum is EVE Online. The game is essentially EVE on the ground, with Robots instead of Space Ships. You do not ever see your physical body and instead, you are one with your Mech. This is a great concept not seen very often in the MMO genre. The game feels almost like a spiritual successor to EVE.
Like EVE, the first aspect of the game that stuck out to me was that there wasn’t going to be much hand holding, which is something I actually like in my MMOs. In the age of “Easy-Mode” gaming it is a nice change of pace to have a challenge placed in front of me, especially one that makes me think and figure out a few concepts on my own. For anyone new to MMO gaming, this could be a major turn off, and is really the game’s only major flaw. If you’re a quick learner though, this won’t be much of a problem.
When creating your character, you have to decide what play style you want to go with. You have a choice of Combat (blowing things up), Diplomacy (Corporation (guild) leading and bargaining), and Industry (Farming materials and Crafting). You can even mix and match if you so choose, or you can focus all energy into one area and be weaker in others.
There is no leveling system in Perpetuum. Let me repeat that: There is NO leveling system in Perpetuum. Instead, the game offers a unique skill system, very similar to EVE. The really neat part of how this works in Perpettum is that you gain skill points as long as you have an active subscription at one per minute. So no matter what, your character is always progressing, and there’s no need to set a skill queue or to make sure you log in to set your next skill to train. You can progress your skills at your leisure and your choosing. This system really opens up the game to completely original character builds, with no real “cookie-cutter” setups.
I’ll be honest. I’m not much of a crafter, so while I did do a bit of mining, I don’t have much to add to that discussion. Where I can chip in is the game’s combat.
Combat in Perpetuum is slow. Very slow. It can actually be a bit of a downer at first, but it is a part of the game I came to love over time. If you’ve played EVE at all, you know what I mean when I say you have to manage your power in order to be the most efficient in combat. Basically, your Mech has a limited power supply that drains with each use of a weapon or shield. This power regains over time, but it’s quite possible to become at a disadvantage if you overdue it too early on. This is too much of a problem early on, but I can assume that as the game progresses into the later stages, and the battles get bigger and longer, that this part of the game may get a bit tougher to manage and stay alive.
The combat is pretty fun once you get used to it. It is definitely not your button masher like most MMOs. The fights involve strategy and weapon management to complete, and this is something that really helps set Perpetuum apart from the rest. The only downside is that people who are used to fast paced action may want to look the other way.
PvP is the main driving force of Perpetuum. In fact, it’s one of the biggest parts of the gameplay. Again, this is just like EVE. If you’re in a high security sector, you’re pretty much safe. Once you start moving out to the lower security sectors you had better have the firepower to protect yourself, or some friends to come along and protect you. This is the one part of the game that you have to learn to live with. The world of Nia is an everchanging world and is completely player driven. There are people who love to PvP and they’re not going to let up just because you don’t like to. Also, there’s only one server so there’s no way to avoid this.
The Final Verdict
Overall, I had quite a bit of fun with my time in Perpetuum. The best part of the game being new is that if you like an open sandbox world — a la EVE Online –, this is a great game to get into right now. You would be starting at pretty much the beginning and other players wouldn’t have much of an advantage over you. The gameplay and systems that are in place are vastly different than almost all other MMOs on the market, giving Perpetuum a leg up on the competition, and really feeding the needs of those wanting something that doesn’t play like World of Warcraft. And if you’re a fan of EVE, Perpetuum is a game you’ll definitely want to check out! The world of Nia and the lore surrounding it is top knotch, and you can tell the developers really love their game. I look forward to seeing where this game goes in the future and how it continues to add innovation to the MMO genre.
I give Perpetuum a 4 out of 5.