David Klein On September 29, 2010 at 11:32 am

Games sure do go through a lot of changes from when they’re first announced to when they actually do ship. When Ubisoft first showed R.U.S.E., what they showed off was a trailer where two fairly serious players were battling it out on some sort of high tech touchscreen table. This table looked like it had a very intuitive and innovative interface where you could execute tricks and ploys with ease. While this trailer showed this innovative looking concept they mention only a short time after the release of the trailer that unless you happened to have a multi touch capable Windows computer like the Microsoft Surface table (which costs around $10,000) then you wouldn’t be able to play anything remotely like what they showed off. Instead on the 360 version of the game you’re stuck with the same old traditionally RTS hostile control scheme. This leads to the question of whether Ubisoft has some sort of trick up their sleeves to make this work this time around or is it yet another example an RTS doomed by bad controls.

I plan to start off by answering what I think is the most pressing question, does the control scheme work? I’ll make my answer short and sweet, no it doesn’t. This is kind of ironic since when they first showed off this game you got the impression that it was easy to use and control while the Xbox 360’s version is not that. The biggest problem is that when you’re trying to effortlessly select specific units or just very quickly trying give out crucial orders the control scheme fails you. The game makes it very easy to make mistakes with misclicks and the blame lies solely with the Xbox 360 controller. Looking at the different platforms the game is available it becomes quite obvious that the 360 is the worst choice control-wise, the PC has the option of mouse and keyboard which is the tried and true control scheme for RTS games, along with that you can use the touchscreen controls if you happen to own a Microsoft Surface or multi touch Tablet PC which are both far superior options. Then you’ve got the PS3 version that while it has a similar gamepad but now it’s being patched to use PlayStation Move which from the demo I played gave me a great deal of control that you don’t get playing it with just a controller. Now the point I’m trying to make is that the Xbox 360 has to have the absolutely worst version of R.U.S.E to control onscreen.

R.U.S.E. is pretty run of the mill in terms of strategy games as far as gameplay mechanics go. The one thing that is supposed to set it apart is the ability to use ruses to try and trick your opponent with misinformation. You can use this to setup fake bases and fake attacks to try and trick your opponent while setting up a secondary real attack. You can also give speed up units in a specific region using Blitz mode or you can spy on a specified region of the map seeing what your opponents are doing among another half dozen other abilities. Most of these abilities have been done before in other strategy games but perhaps not with such ease of use and with such an abundance of them available to the player. Something else that’s a little different from other games is that instead of having infantry hiding in say buildings on the map, the game instead let’s you hide in forests and towns setting up ambushes for enemy units passing by. Looking at the balance of the game, each unit type has a type that defeat another one creating a sort of rock paper scissor like mechanic for creating units. This makes making sure to have the correct intel using your ruse ability essential. All sides in the game have essentially the same units and I never noticed much difference from being a German or American.

While not the highlight of the game I figure I should give the story some quick lip service. You start off as a lowly soldier, Joseph Sheridan who quickly shows some initiative causing him to rise up the ranks of the US army. Later on in the game you take on the role of a German commander Erich Von Richter who is a proven general trying to prevent advances of the allied army. The story isn’t going to impress anyone and it’s about what you’d find on a Friday night World War 2 movie on your local movie channel, I found myself not paying too much attention to it and it only served as way to advance the game from one level to the other efficiently.

The graphics engine in R.U.S.E is an interesting beast, you can zoom out to the point the game looks like a giant game board where you’re able to macro manage all your forces from a glance or you can zoom to specific regions of the gigantic map where you’re able to see up close every individual battle between units. The graphics are nice but there are some slow downs especially when the game decides to make the game seem more cinematic with some split screen action during the single player campaign. While the game is trying to show you a cut scene mid game it both slows down the game having it lose frames and you also lose control of the game when you could be using those crucial seconds to order your troops around since the game continues even while the cut scenes are happening.

The voice acting doesn’t really scream amazing performances here. They’ll communicate the briefings of every mission and make some comments during the mission but the delivery just seems really average. The music in the game is okay it’s pretty serviceable, but it’s nowhere near as good as one of my all time favorite soundtracks in the first Command and Conquer game from 1995 which had an awesome soundtrack of techno including great tracks like “Industrial One”. It’s your typical generic ‘This is World War II’ soundtrack with a mix up of upbeat and tragic songs to try and create a mood.

When they designed the multiplayer they kept it fairly basic, the game has 21 maps included for 2-4 players. You can either play free for all, 1 v 1 or 2 v 2. The games that I played didn’t seem to have any lag and were pretty smooth. When I was testing the game the servers seem pretty empty and I had to pick a random game with any settings to be able to find any multiplayer games to play. From my experience most players seemed to turtle a lot building their bases up which made the multiplayer experience kind of boring and less eventful then say if you played something like Starcraft 2 on the PC. The game also included a few cooperative maps to play with around with friends but that’s probably not a lot of extra content there.

Looking at what I wrote you’re probably left with the impression that I’ve been particularly hard on this game and that I hate it. The reason for it is probably because I saw a lot of potential in the game and even moments where it’s a ton of fun to play. But then the control scheme happens to interfere ending the moment and making me wish I were playing the game on any other platform possible. The game does some things right but there’s enough to hate to make it a tough recommendation unless you’re a big fan strategy games and if that was the case wouldn’t you have a PC?


Oh I wish I could just plug in a mouse and keyboard into my Xbox and it would work but sadly that doesn’t work.


The graphics look nice but slowdowns during cut scenes can really be annoying.


It’s World War 2 themed and they don’t let you forget it.


If you’ve got a Windows PC, buy that version instead. If you can deal with the controls with the 360, this game is not bad.

Buy R.U.S.E. for the Xbox 360 from EBGames.com

Click here to buy R.U.S.E for the Xbox 360 from EBGames.com


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