A New RTS That's As Old-School As They Get

A New RTS That's As Old-School As They Get

It looked too good to be true, but it's real, and it's playable: Meridian is now available on Steam (Early Access), and it's pretty much everything it promised to be.

It said it'd be a traditional RTS, and it sure is. This is every bit a StarCraft and Command & Conquer kind of RTS, all about resource collection, mass armies and a quick mouse finger.

It promised to looks gorgeous, and it is. For such a small development team, things are looking crisp and colourful, and there's a surprising amount of detail on the units (though sadly they look a bit samey).

It promised custom maps, and even now, with the game only fresh in Early Access, there are new and varied maps to download for skirmish battles.

One last thing it promised, and one which I was dubious about at announcement, was the presence of Mass Effect-style "chat with the crew" sequences. How was that going to work in an RTS?

It could have taken inspiration from StarCraft II, and simply had you click around some static screens, but Meridian does something a little cooler, and gives you a player avatar that you can stroll around the halls of your base/ship, visiting various areas and talking with the crew between missions, sometimes for critical decisions, sometimes just to shoot the shit. It's a nice, personal touch, even if it's not quite as entertaining as it could be.

How much you get out of Meridian really depends on what you're expecting. This is not a blockbuster entertainment spectacle full of top-shelf writing and engaging characters. Nor is it a reinvention of the RTS genre. It's an old-school game for those who prefer their strategy old-school, something for folks who wish Command & Conquer hadn't been driven into the ground, or that Blizzard made their StarCraft games faster.

Meridian is $US15 on Steam.


    It is terrible. Starcraft 1 with only marines. A small amount of unit customisation that makes me miss Metal Fatigue.

      This just in: Early Access game from small studio has limited units.

        This just in: Early access games are immune to criticism

    Yes yes yes. All I really want is more of the same base building and element collecting. Maybe this will be the start of an RTS resurgence. Probably wishful thinking though.......

      We can only hope. There's been an amazing lack of RTS games in the last few years. The classics still fill the game, Company of Heroes is awesome and 2 was brilliant but I still pine for the base builders etc.

        Now all they have to do is make Supreme Commander 2!

    looks kind of like an updated Total Annihilation

    all about resource collection, mass armies and a quick mouse finger.

    Forgive me, I'm confused but when has an RTS ever been about anything but this?

      Sometimes they leave out one or two, but I can't think of any which omit all 3.

      Warhammer 40k 2 - no mass armies (squad combat) and very little resource collection.
      The Tone Rebellion was pretty languid. I think it had resource collection. As I recall armies were pretty small.
      Close Combat as I vaguely recall was also squad-based with no resource collection.
      Myth and Myth 2 had no resource collection and fairly small armies.
      Creeper World 3 has no armies (although it does have a smallish air force). It's all about seizing territory, sort of similar to Perimeter. Power clicking not really needed for this either.
      Tower defence is a particular subset of RTSes where the mass armies are all on the other side, and resource collection typically consists of killing bad guys.

      Anyway, lots of examples. There are probably more RTSes that omit at least one of those three than include all of them, although there was a period in the late 90s when all RTSes were pretty similar.

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