Perimeter: Emperorâ€™s Testament starts off with something thatâ€™s perhaps recognizable â€“ the idea of an exodus from a dying Earth â€“ and quickly veers off into the spiritual and the bizarre. What this means for you, as the gamer, is the battle between the various Spiritsâ€™, Emperorâ€™s, and Mechanical Messiahâ€™s forces in a real time strategy game that is unlike anything youâ€™ve ever seen.
The first thing to do is to forget a lot of your preconceptions about real time strategy games. This game isnâ€™t really about making specific units that will do things. Instead, itâ€™s about terraforming the land in order to get energy from it, and about building units that you can transform to do what you need them to do.
Itâ€™s weird. Itâ€™s unlikely to think that a lot of science fiction fans will look at it and think â€śmehâ€ť. In all likelihood, a fan will either love it or hate it, but I have a hard time imagining anything in between. Iâ€™ll try to describe it, using the press release information:
Humanity is leaving a dying Earth under the guidance of the â€śSpiritsâ€ť. They have huge colony ships called Frames. Along the route through the Chain of Worlds (since the Spirits are the only ones who can find new worlds and make portals to connect them) that exists in the Psychosphere they run into various hostile worlds.The maps are bizarre and weirdly beautiful. You use units to terraform the land, make them into something not only usable but also that provides energy. (Before you can move your frame, for instance, you need to provide it with energy from the zero level to power it up.) All of your units and buildings are dependent on energy, and you need to build the appropriate buildings to maintain this chain of power.
Eventually the humans start to break up. The Harkbacks want to go back to Old Earth. The Exodus, guided by the Spirits, want to go on. The Empire wants to create a â€śSponge Empireâ€ť of Sponge Worlds. The Emperor makes a Mechanical Spirit to find new worlds, has one of his Vice Frames (an automated base) test it, and it, due to some sort of catastrophe, becomes the Mechanical Messiah and reveals the existence of a parallel Chain of Worlds.
Over the course of 25 single player missions, the player will discover whatâ€™s going on behind these events.
You also build units. Unlike other games, though, you donâ€™t necessarily research new units. Instead, you use nanotechnology to transform your units. For example, if you have three officer units, you can create one sniper unit.
The missions provided in the demo show a variety of different game modes. The first one, for instance, requires that you escape to the portal â€“ youâ€™re forbidden from capturing or destroying the enemy Frame. In other missions you race an infected Frame across the map or just simply slug it out with your enemy. You also have Battle games, in which you see how long you can survive against a swarm of enemies.
Itâ€™s not the most intuitive of interfaces thanks to the sheer difference of the game from perhaps any other game like that. In some ways it almost feels like a puzzle game, as you try to figure out what you need to do to go on. It provides a very different game experience in all odds from perhaps anything else you may have played, and therefore would probably be a good experience for both real time strategy players who are looking for something different as well as for people not normally interested in real time strategy games but are intrigued by the strange and creative background.