Meridian: New World is a fully featured RTS game largely created as a one-man project – which makes this a stellar production in its own right. We look at how one man’s production stands up against the greats of the genre.
In Meridian: New World, you arrive on the distant planet Meridian to explore (as the title suggests) a new world. As the commander of this mission, you initially assume the place is deserted – only to receive a distress call after which things quickly take a turn for the worse.
What unfolds next is a sci-fi epic that plays out through a series of story missions – and with a real time strategy formula that resembles the classic Command & Conquer / Total Annihilation experience, while adding a few twists of its own. Besides straight up RTS gameplay, there are also small doses of RPG-inspired choices that can affect the outcome of your game.
As the commander of this mission, you also gain experience points by defeating the enemy. Throughout the game, these can be used to gain new abilities that can help you turn the tide of battle – something you can also do by exploring the research tree and developing new weapons and items. These can then be attached to your units, further personalizing your army.
It’s not fair to compare Meridian: New World to Starcraft of Company of Heroes because of the size of the development teams and the production values we see from them, but Meridian is a champion of the genre in its own right. The game’s visuals far eclipse what you would expect from a one-man production, both in-game and during the cutscenes that lay out the storyline.
The AI and gameplay dynamics aren’t as deep as we’ve seen in other games, but the game makes up for that by being accessible and instantly enjoyable. The downside of this is that you won’t be as likely to dive back in for a second playthrough, and also makes the game less suitable for multiplayer fans. But if you’re a fan of the original RTS games that we saw in the mid to late nineties, you have to check out Meridian. The fact that this was made by a one-man team blew us away – but the fact that it keeps its own among all those other games is perhaps its greatest achievement.