R.U.S.E is an interesting game that manages to bend some of the traditional RTS rules, add in a whole new sub-layer of deception based strategy and provide a 20 mission pretty solid single player campaign. Itís out on the PS3, 360 and PC with support for Move on the PS3. This review concentrates on the 360 version but weíll reference the others where applicable.Story
Ah, R.U.S.E thou-art cheesy and fun, the story is just a little overblown and is definitely hampered by some odd dialogue choices. It has a little bit of mystery and plays out between two opposing generals in World War 2. One US and one German, we wonít spoil the plot though so to find out more, play the game.Gameplay
Surprisingly for console the game has some good controls, nowhere near as good as the keyboard/mouse combo of the PC, or the innovative wand-waving fun of the Move controller for the PS3. However, it does a good job of letting you move, select and control units with a console controller and thatís no mean feat. There are several levels of zoom available that let you get a good strategic view of the battlefield, from a top level view where you have various war-room icons and symbols, to a close up view where you can see every shell and bullet fly.
Making units, sorting out production and issuing orders is as simple as can be with the controllers and lets you concentrate on the actual strategy of the game. This might put off the micro crowd who have honed their skill at games like Starcraft and so on, but for this game it really works quite nicely.
R.U.S.E isnít an ordinary RTS though; itís not just about rock-paper-scissors unit types pounding each other for 20 missions, or so on. Itís about planning and tactics, the use of Ruses that can turn the tide of battle. Ruses are unlocked as the campaign progresses in single player, giving you a spread of card like abilities that can change the battlefield. For example thereís a Spy Ruse that lets you see whatís going on, or a Ruse that lets you hide your units on the map and ambush the enemy.
Remember though, if you can do it, so can your opponent, so watch out for those sneaky hidden soldiers and enemy Ruses.
The units seem well balanced with anti-tank guns being destroyed by infantry, tanks decimating infantry, and anti-tank guns decimating tanks. Thereís a definite rock-paper-scissors mechanic here and it works like a charm. Once you learn the various unit attacks and defences youíre set to keep the worst the enemy can throw at you in check and have fun doing so.
Beyond the campaign, thereís a generous spread of maps in single player challenges, or cooperative play with friends. The AI has various behaviour types and you can setup matches how you want, even though there are few options compared to the standard fare, and for the PC thereís no map editor at all. Nor is there one for the consoles either, just to clarify.
R.U.S.E is playable enough, it doesnít set the RTS world alight beyond the RUSE mechanics however, and hardcore RTS players may be put off by the simple and effective approach to the gameís playability. However, itís a perfect entry point for new armchair generals and those who arenít able to memorise every attack/defence strategy over 100s of units.