Real Time Strategy games have kept strong over the past few generations of hardware, with Starcraft 2 dominating the PC space and developers trying to new tricks to bring the action to console gamers. Developed by Eugen Systems and published by Ubisoft, can the new game play features of R.U.S.E. hold their own against the competition.
R.U.S.E. puts you in the shoes of Major Joseph Sheridan of the US Army who through the course of the story has to command his outnumbered forces against the mighty German army while also trying to smoke out an internal spy who’s leaking his movements to the enemy.
Playing as a single commander far away from the horrors of war translates well in R.U.S.E., there is a feeling of separation between your orders and the action going down on the ground. Using the expected zoom feature, the player is able to closely watch his maneuvers, or even pull all of the way out allowing the commander to see the entire table of conflict. This did resulted in a feeling of empathy with my troops when an early mistake cost me an entire platoon. Thankfully there is no mini game to write back to Blighty to inform loved ones, but I vowed never to repeat that mistake again.
The moment to moment game play uses the familiar “rock, paper, scissors” win to loss ratio between units which after a few hours will push you to make the most out of the army. On top of that, the player does have a number of unique abilities up his sleeve which when used at the right time can shift the tide of any battle. These are known as ruses.
There are 3 types of ruses available, starting off with identifying enemy activity by listening in on radio chatter or sending a spy to scout a location. Once you have a plan ready, there are additional ruses to help in your attack pattern, such a radio silence within a region, allowing units to move almost invisibly. Finally there are the decoy offensives which allow the player to fake structures and units to either lure the enemy into the open or preoccupy them long enough to make a hasty retreat.
Once the 22 campaign levels are completed there is still a wealth of content from challenges and skirmish modes to the multiplayer which opens up 6 different factions, each which has its own unique balance of strengths and weaknesses.
The French developers Eugen Systems have done a great job with the controls of R.U.S.E., especially when it comes to console play. Playing on the Xbox 360 at no point did I feel my hands start to cramp from trying to micro manage my forces while throwing ruse cards across the map. Plus its worth noting PlayStation 3 users are able to control the entire game with the PS Move controller input.
With a solid balance between familiar units and the addition of the ruses themselves, R.U.S.E. should appeal to most RTS fans. R.U.S.E does not reinvent the genre and nor did it set out to, but they have put a firm stake in the ground.
MLG Rating: 7/10
Platform: Xbox 360 (PC, Playstation 3) Release Date: 17/10/2010
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of RUSE for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of 2 weeks on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.