Graphics:
7.1
Gameplay:
8.3
Sound:
7.3
Control:
8.1
Replay Value:
8.5
Online Gameplay:
8.5
Overall Rating:
7.9
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Developer:
Eugen Systems
Number Of Players:
1-4
Genre:
RTS


Real-time strategy aficionados typically stick to the PC, and for good reason. But if you’re looking for a competent RTS with a bit of a twist, and are willing to deal with a mediocre campaign story and a few small mechanical shortcomings, R.U.S.E. will likely fit the bill. The mere existence of “ruses” might warrant a look, simply because such deceptive tactics are amusing and fun to use, and a carefully timed ruse can easily alter the ebb and flow of battle. Furthermore, although it may appear to be a bit more simplistic than other RTSs available, time will yield the goods: there’s a lot more beneath the surface than one might initially believe (the game starts slow, especially if you don’t partake of the Battles or online multiplayer modes). It’s too bad they didn’t work harder at the story, and there are some gameplay limitations that might scare off hardcore strategy fans but still, Eugen Systems has produced a fairly solid title.

As always, the visuals take a back seat to the gameplay; strategy is all about sitting down and carefully formulating a plan of attack. It isn’t about ogling cutting-edge graphical presentations. That being said, there’s still too much pop-in when panning about the battlefields and many of the landscapes appear drab and dark. The highlight focuses on the various ways in which you can view the action: pulling away reveals the entire map on a table, where colonels and generals toil in the background. Zooming in brings you up close and personal with the action, where you can see individual foot soldiers and other units moving and firing. The special effects aren’t overly “special” but they work pretty well for an RTS, especially considering that most strategy games don’t use such a dynamic style. The character designs are just plain weird, though, and the lack of artistic excellence – not much besides generic WWII stuff here – sort of holds everything back.

Thanks to a good soundtrack that fits the on-field strategy, and the crisp battle reports (both from weaponry and commanding officers), the sound manages to succeed. The only downside is the voice acting, which is only average at best, although the actors can’t really be blamed for poor writing. I particularly liked zooming in all the way and hearing everything that’s happening: it’s not an all-out action experience and yet, one senses the chaotic atmosphere that only war can generate. One could argue that the effects should be even more intense when close to the combat but for the most part, fans of the genre will like what they hear. The soundtrack could’ve been more prominent and the campaign suffers due to the aforementioned voice issues, but don’t let that dissuade you. The majority of the time, you’ll be in the midst of a battle and that just so happens to be where the sound shines.

Let’s start with the campaign, which begins slowly and follows the rise of Joe Sheridan in the U.S. army. He begins as a major and rises up the ranks during World War II, all the while fighting against German forces and pursuing one mysterious individual – known only as Prometheus – who he blames for “sending a lot of boys home in pine boxes.” It’s not a very engaging story and with the forgettable voiceovers and often lame dialogue, you’ll soon want to skip over the plot-related scenes. However, even when you are engaged in battle, updates will often cause you to temporarily lose track of the map action. When the omnipotent commander issues a new objective, you can’t do anything while the game processes that objective for a few moments (during which time, units will continue to move). The game will also wrench camera control from your grasp sometimes – in order to highlight something specific – and that too can be annoying.

But you what? The requisite strategy is there. You’ll be able to achieve your objective in a variety of ways, via the likes of infantry, heavy armored tanks, airstrikes, and of course, ruses. You have to take the environment into account, too, as you can hide behind obstacles and buildings, and use your eagle-eye view to appropriately arrange any “anti” units at your disposal. You can even use radio silence to sneak all sorts of units into ambush situations, and you just gotta love the Terror ruse, which causes enemy units to “Rout” faster than normal. When a unit is Routed, it responds more slowly and becomes incapable of attacking; it’s just one of the many basics of battle. Basic control is simple: you can zoom in and out with ease (and it doesn’t hinder the game at all), there’s always plenty going on so there’s little chance of growing bored, maps are divided into segments where ruses become usable, and selecting and directing a unit is as easy as aiming with the left analog and pressing the X or Square (Select All) button.

The ruses are just really cool, if I haven’t mentioned it already. These special little trump cards can completely shift the momentum, and you always have to look around for good opportunities. Sure, the upgrading aspect isn’t as deep as some avid strategy followers might’ve hoped, but between the terrain impact, ruses, battlefield size and overall activity, and modes other than Campaign, the game offers plenty of longevity. Another big bonus is its accessibility. In addition to the three difficulty options, there is a distinct pick-up-and-play feeling that is often absent in games in this genre. Then, when you go online, you will find a robust and satisfying system that lets you choose between six different nations and compete on maps that support up to four players. The nations have different strengths and although exploring about and general reconnaissance is always crucial, the nation distinction adds variety.

It really is too bad that the Campaign has to fall so far short of expectations. If they had only managed to refine that entire mode, and allow us to dive into the nuts and bolts of the game earlier, R.U.S.E. could’ve been a great – perhaps even an elite-level – RTS. As it stands, though, it’s probably still a good option for strategy buffs; the depth really is there, despite a few limitations and drawbacks, and the different ways one can view the action, along with those ruses, make the game enjoyable. By the way, the vision changes are attributed to IrisZoom, a technology that “offers an intuitive interface that allows for smooth, rapid transitions from a bird’s-eye view of the entire conflict, down into the heat of the battle and vice versa.” It’s not a bad idea at all. We just needed more in the way of polish; more attention paid to the technicals and most certainly to the single-player campaign experience.

Even so, R.U.S.E. often succeeds where it counts.  Not a bad option for strategy lovers.

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Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
10 years ago

Can I get a reply?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

to what?

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago
DazeOfWar
DazeOfWar
10 years ago

@Limited: lol. killed me.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Didn't even know this was RTS, which means I have to pass because I'm not into that anymore.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

Ya…you're into 10hit combos and progressing through hell. You're missing out man, SC2 is more of the same but has very impressive gameplay.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
10 years ago

And the most gorgeous cutscenes seen to date. Just waiting for the Zerg expansion next year.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

666 hit combos to be precise 😉

and RTS is over.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

It is not!

I've been watching TGS, ICO and SOTC are going to be in HD and 3D! and Last Guardian has a Holiday 2011 release date.

Booyah!

Simcoe
Simcoe
10 years ago

I tried the demo, enjoyed it, and debated buying it, but I really have to stick with RTS games on the computer, where a mouse and keyboard come in handy. Why don't developers give PS3 users the opportunity to use either the controller or mouse and keyboard?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I don't see why that can't be in a firmware update, I'd never use it but it would make lots of fans happy.

Shadow2222
Shadow2222
10 years ago

That doesn't even require a firmware update. Unreal Tournament 3 (on PS3) let you play with a mouse and keyboard.

Simcoe
Simcoe
10 years ago

True. UT3 is the only PS3 game that I'm aware of where you can use a keyboard and mouse.
Anyone know of any others?

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

Glad to see consoles getting a taste of what an RTS has to offer, the genre is not dead!

I'm surprised you even reviewed this game Ben, you must be starving for some RTS fun. Did you by any chance get/play StarCraft2?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Sorry, it really isn't my thing. Never has been. I've always been about turn-based strat/RPGs like FFT, Front Mission, etc.

frylock25
frylock25
10 years ago

ive been playing a few hours of starcraft 2 so far on a trial key a buddy gave me. ive got a brand new computer with pretty good specs and it eats my computer alive and sh1ts it out. have to play on mostly low settings. the cutscenes are pretty cool (maybe kotex will sell them to me later) but i just didnt fall in love with it.

i dont think i will pick it up though i dont like a lot of the things about it such as not owning the game. it was fun for 7 hours.

Underdog15
Underdog15
10 years ago

Hey Ben, did you ever play the Dynasty Warriors Tactics 2 game on PS1? I really liked that one.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Nah. Again, not my thing.

coverton341
coverton341
10 years ago

SC2 is the awesome. Once I finish going through ME2 with the new DLC on the PC I am going back to SC2 and finishing it up. What expansions are planned for SC2?

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

coverton,

Well there are 2 more full campaigns to be released: Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. Both are said to be priced as expansions.

coverton341
coverton341
10 years ago

Awesome news LV thanks.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
10 years ago

btw my username in SC2 is Payson if anyone wants to add me.

Pyramid
Pyramid
10 years ago

@Simcoe : When i DL the demo too the Move controller was enable to use it.Try…

Simcoe
Simcoe
10 years ago

Yes, I saw that. IF I end up getting Move (which I am more and more leaning to now that the Heavy Rain patch will be out next week) I will no doubt give it another shot.

My only problem is that time flies (for me anyways) when I play RTS games, I'll start playing at 9 pm and the next thing I know it's 3 am. They've cost me a lot of sleep over the years, so I purposely try not to buy them anymore.

Axe99
Axe99
10 years ago

Good review Ben. I'm only eight missions into the story, but while the acting is lamer than a cheap sitcom, the actual battles involve more attention to detail than your average RTS. Often the units are named as they actually were in the actual order of battle for the actual conflict.

The way the units work together in combat I is what really distinguishes RUSE from other more 'standard' (a la, drawing heavily from the Dune 2 model, almost 20 years on) RTS' like Starcraft 2, C&C 3, C&C:RA 3 and so on for me (these games are still fun, but they're very much 'strategy lite' – whereas the way RUSE plays (at least early in the campaign, but I can only see this getting developed further), it's far more about actual strategy, than exploiting whatever resource is near the base as quickly as possible to tank rush an opponent (which is _just_ strategic, but in many cases 'RTS' games are actually about quick mouse clicks more than strategy)).

The only thing you didn't mention was Move support. I'm going to give it a good shake (boom boom) tomorrow morning, and depending how it works, it could really help the way strategy games work on console (Under Siege is another strategy/tactics title coming soon with Move support – I'm like a pig in mud 🙂 All we need now is Civ 5, a Total War and a good 'Paradox-style' strategy game, and maybe a Galactic Civilizations, and I'll be happy 🙂 Yes, I've played 'em all on PC, but I prefer console by a fair margin).

JackC8
JackC8
10 years ago

Looks kind of interesting. Though with the skimpy single-player campaign, it'll probably be one of those that sits on the wishlist until the price comes down substantially.

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