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Perimeter 2: New Earth (PC)

Perimeter 2: New Earth (PC)

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Perimeter was a strategy game that ended up a cult classic, and rightly so because it combined a competent little game engine with some addictive and very unusual gameplay. It did away with the usual RTS methodology and you were allowed to shape the landscape. It also used voxel technology to create dynamic and appealing environments. The reviews were positive and many people have been hanging on tenderhooks for the long awaited followup.

The first title dealt with mankind’s journey from Earth after the discovery of technology that allowed inter-dimensional transport. Unfortunately doing this caused an alien force called The Scourge to enter into our side of the galaxy. These aliens assumed the shape of our worst fears and could be affected by our thoughts. So instead of travelling the galaxy and exploring far away planets humanity locked into floating cities and jumped into different dimensions. All these dimensions had a world that was created by human thoughts and the goal was to create a networked energy grid that allowed this floating city to move into the next dimensional gateway. Of course this was never easy as you had to battle the scourge through each of these using your newly developed technologies and weapons. At the time many reviewers stated that the game was an unknown masterpiece with many comparisons made to polish science fiction film Solaris. The only downside was claimed that the game was rather difficult.

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Perimeter 2 follows on from the original and humanity has found a new earth and has settled on it. Sadly along the way the human race broke into two factions, the Harkback and the Exodus. They are polar opposites in all mannerisms and actions – therefore the Exodus build on land and the Harkback can only build on water. This means the game revolves around the player having to raise the land, or sink it. Strangely enough doing this can destroy any of the buildings, so clearly the new human race are better at interdimensional space travel than building a house.

Altering the terrain is handled by building energy cores that either raise or lower it. Regrettably a massive aspect of the first game has been removed, you no longer have to make sure that these energy cores join together to form a networked grid. While this might seem appealing, part of the charm of the original title lay in this simple yet charming system of networking power across the structures. Perimeter 2 just plays now like every other RTS game by plonking down power anywhere in the vicinity which is stale and rather predictable.

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Additionally in Perimeter the unit design was organic and the military units could merge together to form more powerful vehicles. This flexibility granted the game a lot of additional defensive and aggressive strategies and you could adjust your gameplay on the fly to suit the situation. Now this has gone and you merely create units with specific factories and transform them between land and air states.

To be fair the game does still offer some customisable abilities if you can discover and dig up special crystals from the ground. These abilities let you detonate a nuclear style explosion that sends shock waves through the ground to cloaking them for invisibility options. These abilities can be furthermore improved to seriously powerful levels of destruction, so much so however that weapons like the upgraded nukes can level a whole base in one swift blow. That said, on many missions the enemy dig into the ground and are incredibly difficult to destroy because as soon as you kill them, they respawn and rebuild almost immediately. You are then in a position of trying to kill them by attacking over and over until you finally end their existence. It is tedious and monotonous and the Artificial Intelligence is also shockingly bad.

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All of this isn’t helped by the poor control system which is unintuitive and counter productive. Frequently the game just wouldn’t do what I asked and appeared to have a life of its own. Additionally the graphics seem to be downgraded from the first, and while the water is bright and colourful the environments are much less impressive and more generic by nature. Highly unimpressive all round from the unit design to the environmental detail.

The audio is annoying on many levels especially the electronic voiceovers which grate and irritate in equal measure. There is no musical score worth mentioning and the whole experience seems to be basically forgotten.

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Multiplayer lacks a server browser and unless you know the direct IP of someone else in the world who plays the game online you are going to be left poking in the dark. Unforgiveably poor.

There are also issues with stability, for example on an SLI system I had to disable SLI in the driver or the game would crash randomly and with ATI on the last Catalyst drivers I would get some missing textures and random hard locks. More testing and development time were needed because the only other alternative I can assume is that the development team just didn’t care enough to bug test.

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Perimeter 2 is nothing short of a disaster. The charming and addictive first game has been pushed to the side and replaced with a run of the mill, predictable and buggy follow up. It feels like the generic RTS game you deinstall after 10 minutes of playing and unlike the original this will be forgotten in a few months time. Avoid.

Nothing worth mentioning and no reason to install.
Bland, bland and did I say bland?
Techno style soundtrack which grates and shocking dialogue aplenty.
Single player is buggy and boring with appalling multiplayer support.
(Not an Average)
Avoid at all costs unless you like wasting money.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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