James Ireland On September - 28 - 2010

Developed by: Eugen Systems
Published by: Ubisoft

RUSE, set in good ol’ world war 2 that most abused and celebrated piece of history in the gaming world. You play Joe Sheridan, an American Commander with the mission to find a particularly nasty spy/entity that has caused the deaths of thousands of allied soldiers.

To start off the review I suppose I should start with gameplay. Love it or hate it Halo wars on the 360 is a mile stone when it comes to the console RTS, built from the ground up to utilise a pad over the keyboard and mouse. RUSE didn’t follow this trend being a multi-platform title, and it can feel a little bit sluggish at times due to the comparative lack of care put into the controls. It will be interesting to see how the Playstation move controls fair. Internet murmurings suggest they are much better. The main gripe on the 360 is when units are sat on top of one another and you’re trying to select between the two. There should be an achievement for going through that awkward process.

It’s easy to get into the swing of things with RUSE; you get a tutorial mission of sorts to find your feet. Give it about half an hour and you will get the gist of things. It is all very well explained and you are not left clueless when you start the game proper. Once you do start playing you quickly find out how enjoyable RUSE is. You can zoom out to show ‘Checkers’ on a war room table or zoom right in to see those checks turn into individual infantry units, hear the pounding of artillery and rumble of tanks. Scenery is very realistic with maps showing off cultivated land, ruined urban environments and all of it is in quite spectacular detail. Don’t expect vivid colour, it is all shades of greens and browns but its sets the scene and adds a great atmosphere. The aircraft are something that must be mentioned, they look absolutely beautiful.

The sound is something special. Tank cannons thud convincingly and infantry rifles crack while planes soar overhead. At no point does it become overwhelming where everything is happening at once; your ears are quite safe here.

RUSE isn’t quite as unique as it would like/is striving to be, at least during the first few missions. The one point to make this stand out is a game system called R.U.S.E. Once the R.U.S.E system comes into play you can start thinking about things more objectively, this is a system where you can for instance send in spies to gather Intel or create balsa wood tanks as a diversion (Oddly satisfying). RUSE does challenge the little grey cells, you have to think about multiple outcomes and take into account cause and effect. But all that doesn’t make up for the fact that it is yet another strategy game set in World War 2. It would be a joy to see an alternate universe or a far off dystopian future, something that no-one has seen or attempted before. Sadly developers are still looking at what sells now as a pose to what might sell in the future.

Now, onto a bit of a gripe that I and a few others share; The American commander you play ‘Joe Sheridan’ is poorly voiced and quite detestable. The reason why? By conforming to one of the most hated stereotypes on this side of the pond “The hero American”. I wouldn’t hate him quite so much if it wasn’t for the fact there is an inept British commander on the clips who Sheridan is teamed up with. Play the game for more than 3 Missions and you will see why, no example I can pull up will fill you with more seething hatred than the pairing of these two.

Overall R.U.S.E is a solid attempt by Eugen Systems. Whilst its warfare is on a grander scale than Ubisoft’s voice activated ENDWAR we cannot help but think that unless you build a RTS from the ground up for console controls you’ll never transition a solid RTS without its gripes. We’ll be interested to try the Playstation Move version as the new super accurate peripheral for Sony may well smooth over the cracks that the 360 version has.

Categories: Feature, Xbox 360 Reviews

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