The Immortals of Terra Review
The Immortals of Terra is an extremely attractive package. It's the video game adaptation of the extremely successful Perry Rhodan sci-fi novels, and it realizes this impressively deep and storied universe using attractive graphics and a slick presentation overall. Right out of the gate, it's apparent that you really should know a little about the universe of Perry Rhodan. The titular hero is one of a number of interstellar "immortals" living in the 4000 A.D.s, so called because the only way they can die is through unnatural, violent means (as opposed to sickness or aging). Likewise, there are many alien races, and a whole encyclopedia's worth of galactic history to catch up on (the series started in 1961).
For the most part, it is enough to check out the game's website, which handily sums up the character's origins and present situation. Likewise, there are many in-game encyclopedia entries. For Rhodan diehards, this is likely an annoyance, but for newcomers like me (who also like to read lore entries in games), these are lifesavers. You'll quickly be introduced to the game's somewhat reluctant hero, Perry Rhodan, the Regent of a planet teeming with an advanced civilization. Mysterious robots assault Perry's offices, capture Perry's old friend (and mother of their long-dead son) Mondra Diamond, and Perry is locked into his residence. From here, you have to escape, determine who was behind the attack, and find Mondra.
It's a story that spans multiple planets and various interesting locations, from scientific communities to the dangerous edges of space to gleaming skyscrapers. Through it all, the character of Perry Rhodan is revealed and explored. The story was written specifically for the game, so it's not a rehash of a book. It shows, as Perry explores his universe and makes discoveries that will change the Perryverse for good. Betrayal, conspiracies on a galactic level, criminals of the worst sort, and old friendships all feature prominently in Immortals of Terra.
It's a bit disappointing then, to realize that while the people behind Immortals obviously went to a lot o trouble to make their game a viable part of the series, they didn't produce the most fantastic game, play-wise. You'll be asked to collect items, examine them and plug them into a universal encyclopedia that will give you in-depth information on them, and then apply them to each other and the environment. It's annoying to realize that most puzzles are solved in two ways: returning to often-random NPCs to see if they've changed places or dialogues, or identifying items. Most of the time, if you're stuck, all you have to do is plug every new item into the ever-present galactic encyclopedias, and you'll be given a new bit of information.
The problem is not that you have to constantly identify objects, it's that there's no reason for why you have to identify them. Many times you'll suspect that you can solve a puzzle a certain way, but you won't be able to complete it until the surprisingly unknowledgeable Perry has been "reminded" of the object's usefulness by the computers he constantly relies on.