There’s games that get in the spotlight because of their qualities and there’s those that get attention for their huge advertising campaign or some touchscreen gimmick. Probably everyone has seen that “uber hot” trailer where R.U.S.E. got controlled through Microsoft’s Surface Table and touch technology but just to make things clear: R.U.S.E. manages to get the spotlights aimed at itself strategically for both reasons.
Delusion and deception are certainly not good things to put on your CV but it’s these things that can help you achieve your goals. Especially in warfare these “interesting” character properties can make that you stay a few steps ahead of the enemy and win the war. Ubisoft and developer Eugen Systems decided to make a unique RTS in which nothing is what it seems. Deceiving your opponents plays a large role in that, but there’s more…
Next to ruses you’ll need something else very important to be succesful in this game. Something called strategic insight. Without this or patience your troops will rather be smashed by a second class soldier than honorably go down against a batallion. Planning your steps carefully and staying ahead of the enemy is a must, you can see it as a big game of chess.
And that’s what R.U.S.E. is, a big game of chess. One moment you’re deep into the action, with bullets flying around, tanks exploding and planes crashing down next to you, and the other moment you’re watching the battlefield from your commando room, where your units are displayed by colorful bricks. The zooming has been worked out truly magnificent and only this aspect alone already separates this RTS from others.
The second thing where R.U.S.E. wants to make itself stand out with is the element of deception. As the campaign progresses you get more ruses at your disposal. These are temporary strategies that make that you get certain advantages. As such you can have a period of radio silence so hostiles no longer can detect the position of your troops, or you can call out a Blitz strategy which gives your army a temporary speed boost. There’s also the possibility to map hostile territory thanks to spies and you can even send out a “fake” army like a Trojan horse while you’re flanking the enemy. It gets all the more exciting knowing that your opponent also has these ruses at his disposal.
Luckily there’s the campaign which guides you step by step so that you get the hang of as many gameplay elements as possible. Therefore you can see this as a large tutorial for everything that’s to come. Next to the story there’s plenty of other modes that you can try out. In “Battle” you get going with up to three other players to defeat the enemy and in “Operation” you can finish the story with three others. Both modes are available in co-op and Versus over the internet but unfortunately R.U.S.E., just like so many games these days, doesn’t have a splitscreen option.
A big plus are the controls in R.U.S.E.. Never have we played an RTS so smoothly on console as this one. Units can quickly and intuitively be selected, the zooming in and out works perfectly and even the micro management runs smooth. Those that play the game on PS3 and have a Move controller laying around in the house can use it and you’ll quickly notice that once you get the hang of it, you won’t want ot go back to a controller. Next to mouse and keyboard these controls work extremely well.
There are, however, two things that disappointed me quite a bit. The story is only a weak extract of an extract, and graphically it’s beneath average. Ubisoft didn’t spare effort nor cost with the beautiful cut-scenes but next to beautiful plastic and CGI they’re mostly boring and monotonous. Awful dialogues and stereotypes is what you get. We all know that graphics aren’t overly important when the gameplay is good, but I found it extremely sad that this game didn’t get better graphics. The zooming in and out could be portrayed so much better and your units look quite lifeless.
R.U.S.E. isn’t a game for gamers that like easy combat, where you just rush your troops blindly towards your goal. Strategy and insight are certainly needed in this time of run and gun. The controls are perfectly worked out for the console version and qua gameplay everything is set up as it should. R.U.S.E. contains next to a very extensive campaign a lot of modes and also has a fun multiplayer that will certainly keep you busy for several hours.