Meridian New World Review




A huge percentage of games we play are produced by rather large development teams and when you get onto a AAA title the cost of making a game can reach a staggering sum. A team of twenty developers can spend two years making a mediocre game that we as critics and gamers the world over can criticise and tear apart, the thing is that we are right to do so. Effort counts for a lot but at the end of the day if we as consumers buy a poor game, knowing that it has been made by a small team is little consolation for our lighter wallets. This was my initial thought when playing Meridian: New World. Meridian is a real time strategy game developed by one man: Ede Tarsoly.

I want to make this clear from the outset, the fact that Meridian: New world has been made by a single individual is an incredibly impressive feat and I think that Ede Tarsoly should be very proud of his work. I think that a large part of the problems that Meridian: New World faces is the simple lack of perspective, not entirely surprising given how it has been developed. Let me explain…..

Meridian New world’s basic gameplay is solid enough and I think it had a minor StarCraft feel to some of the elements. The visuals are great with beautifully rendered maps and well animated units, some of the cutscenes could do with a little polish but by and large it’s a very pretty game. The level design is varied and objective based missions vary a great deal. In one early mission after surviving an ambush I had to commander an outpost. On my way to take the base I was given a choice of three options, destroy the enemy turret command, destroy enemy airfields or destroy enemy factories. I could only choose one option and whatever one I chose would change the enemy forces arrayed against me for the rest of the mission. You may think that was the only dynamic element for this mission but you would be wrong. After I had successfully taken control of the outpost I was then tasked with building turrets to fend off waves of enemies in a tower defence segment. All of these changes and elements in one level should have made Meridian stand out from the crowd and while I respect the effort i think it falls short. In this particular mission I had to restart the level three times due to a glitch that would prevent the next stage of the level from loading. My next frustration was then the length of time I had to spend on the tower defence section. It went on for too long and sapped the fun out of the game. This is my problem with Meridian. With only one person providing the input for the design of the project it is easy to tailor a game for your own enjoyment and forget that other people may not feel the same way.


I do like the diverse nature of Meridian: New World, the choice that it provides shake up the gameplay nicely and add a less formulaic approach to the genre. There’s plenty of customization for your units too. Unlike most RTS’s you can equip almost any vehicle with any weapon, providing you have researched it of course. The layout of the user interface is a little strange and takes some getting used to, when the factory is selected the first thing that you have to do is select the unit type (I find it easier to think of it as the chassis) and a little picture of the unit will show on the right of the screen. On this picture there will be small buttons, these represent the weapons available to equip, these range from the non-offensive “miner” (builder unit) to more typical weapons like lasers, rockets and auto cannons. It is strange to have such a unique layout but once I got used to it I managed to select and build my units without too much hassle and having the freedom of choice is a great addition.

Unfortunately the biggest problem I think that Meridian: New World faces is the AI. I found my units traveling a pretty large distance to engage enemy units without me giving the command, while I would usually respect them, if not for the practicality of their actions then at least the baddassery inherit in them, but it made defending against more than one avenue of attack very frustrating indeed. Meridian: New World suffers from the genre spanning problem of its brother strategy games. There are very little tactics involved in the game. Yes, you will need to pick your units and yes, you will need to decide where to build your turrets for defence but when it gets to the combat itself there’s very little you can do with your units to change the outcome, luckily it’s not all doom and gloom. This brings me to another excellent addition. As you play and progress you can gain points that you can spend on special abilities, the first skill that is unlocked is a simple (but hugely effective) repair skill and you can chose from other buffs like increasing the production speed of buildings or rate of fire of a unit to more direct aids like overloading enemy vehicles and so on. These are the most direct and effective methods of surviving a battle and can really turn the tide. It is a shame that once your units begin a fight that there’s not much you can do with them directly but having these abilities goes some way towards making it feel like an interactive experience.


The Soundtrack and audio in New World is brilliant, there’s no other way to put it, the music is fantastically epic and voice acting is performed with truly professional delivery but where Meridian truly comes into its own is in its storytelling, there is a huge focus on plot in New World and it is a fantastic effort on Tarsoly’s part. Between missions you take control of your character, Commander Daniel Hanson in a top down dungeon crawler style of gameplay. It immediately put me in mind of Dungeon Siege 2 (the first dungeon crawler I ever played). You will have to navigate the ship that serves as home, select missions, check bios and interact with your crew. I really enjoyed these sections of the Meridian, it may sound strange but it really added depth into the game and game me a reason to fight in the missions other than a simple objective notification. Interacting with the crew is excellent; you can choose different dialogue options that will steer the conversation in different directions. There is plenty of intrigue and mystery to be found in Meridian: New World and while these sections aren’t as fleshed out as an actual RPG they are commendable efforts and really do add an entirely new layer to the overall game. Meridian: New Worlds features a tried and tested skirmish mode that allows players to hone their skills against AI enemies. Sadly the AI in this game mode will try to steam roller you constantly without any other kind of approach. If you can survive the first five minutes then you have probably won. It is entertaining enough and can prove some insight when trying to set up your best unit combinations but sadly doesn’t add much over the single player campaign.