Review – R.U.S.E.

Real Time Strategy (RTS) games have took a shot at consoles in the past and haven’t always lived up to the same level as their PC counterparts. The controls that were simple with a keyboard and mouse, were tedious and inaccurate on consoles. The console controllers would never equal the ease and use that PC gamers were accustomed too. Developer Eugen Systems and publisher Ubisoft came together to remedy that problem, and R.U.S.E. is the answer.

The campaign starts you out as General Joe Sheridan. A hardened veteran of Word War II who has already seen his share of battles and is nearing total victory with each passing minute. The weapons at your disposal range from infantry to tanks to bombers. Earn the victory and everything flashes back to the days when General Sheridan was only a Major and the weapons at his disposal were very limited.

The game slows down a bit once you travel back to 1942 Tunisia. You’ll have to work your way back up to General by completing 21 different missions, and you’ll have to earn all of those weapons you got a glimpse of earlier. You’ll have a British adviser who is a ranking officer and eventually an attractive Intelligence Officer from Washington to help you in your endeavors. The story line isn’t exactly tantalizing, but there are a few plot twists that we won’t spoil here.

The slow pace of the game starting out is a little off putting, but with patience you will be rewarded with a much faster paced game once you work your way through the earlier levels.

What sets this game apart from other RTS titles has to be the Ruse system. As you progress along you’ll also be introduced to different Ruses that will help you in your battles. This gives you tools of espionage and heroics that can turn the battle in your favor. There are ten in all and they are:

Decoy Building: Builds an empty building that is booby trapped and will kill troops that capture it.

Radio Silence: Hides your forces from the enemy and is vital for bombers when approaching their targets.

Camouflage Nets: Hides and protects buildings.

Decryption: Lets you listen in to the enemies plans

Spy: Drops a spy behind enemy lines and gives you their orders.

Decoy Army: Creates a fake army for you to place where you want your enemy to think you are attacking from.

Reversed Intel: Makes your tanks and heavy armor look like infantry on the map and makes your infantry look like heavy armor.

Blitz: Speeds up all of your troops and items by 50%

Terror: Makes enemy troops flee faster than normal when you are attacking them.

Fanaticism: Makes your troops fight to the death. No Retreat! No Surrender!

Mastering the proper use of ruses is needed to successfully complete all of the missions. Combining them will also help you eliminate your enemies and capture the targets required. Ruses are the key to almost all of the battles, and proper usage of them will give you the victory you need.

The battlefield itself is set on a table in your war room and you can choose at what depth you view it from. You can zoom all the way out and actually see and hear your office staff around you.

Zoomed out view

You can zoom all the way in and watch your troops decimate a tank column in a surprise attack, or you can zoom to anywhere in between those two extremes.

Zoomed in battlefield

The biggest complaint for most console based RTS games has to do with the selection icon. With R.U.S.E. you can quickly and easily select one group of soldiers, all soldiers in the vicinity, or even use a circle of selection to group your entire army and move them all at once. Zooming in and out also makes it easier for that selection.

The multiplayer modes are pretty straightforward and pit you against other opponents but they have also added the ability to pair up with a friend and go at it two on two against two other players.

If you want to practice your tactics, you can go into Battle mode and take on different countries from three separate eras. The era you choose determines the equipment available and can make the game a little tougher.

The difference in difficulty level almost makes this game feel like three games in one. If you are playing on easy, you may have reinforcements show up to save your tail from being completely wiped out, but at the harder levels you will end up as nothing more than a casualty. Tactics used on easy probably wont work on the harder difficulties, so make sure you take that into account.

The graphics for the game are great. The miniature tanks, soldiers, etc. are pretty detailed when you zoom in, as is the terrain on the maps. Whether you are in the mountains of Italy, deserts of Africa, or seaside in Normandy, the details fit the area well.

The sounds of the game vary from your level of zoom. If you zoom out, you can hear the chatter in the room. As you zoom in the sounds of the battlefield get louder and louder. The actual sounds of the big guns sound great. Machine guns, artillery, and tanks all have unique sounds and can be told apart.

R.U.S.E. is a game that requires much thought and military tactics to master. The game starts out slow in campaign mode, but your patience is well rewarded as you move through it. It can be very challenging on the harder difficulties, but seems to get a little easier as you progress along. That is probably due to the learning curve as you move through the campaign, and also due to the availability of new Ruses that weren’t available early on.

If you haven’t given Real Time Strategy games a try on a console, R.U.S.E is the one you want to try. There is a demo available on the PSN and Xbox Live and is definitely worth the download.

The game also has PlayStation Move support but we didn’t test out that feature.