R.U.S.E. Review: The Strategic Bewildered

R.U.S.E.  brings a creative spin to the historic real time strategy based  genre, delivering an intense multiplayer experience, brilliant use of reconnaissance and a fascinating take on strategy that tests the players ability to control the battlefield. The competitive action is through the roof, but there are certainly some key problems with R.U.S.E that makes it rather surprising for a product of its price point.  The campaign is paced awkwardly, involving missions that are either too big or too small where it counts, the writing dialogue is sadly mediocre at best along with scaled and poor voice acting, and the mission structure design is sporadic and interrupts the action of the strategic element.  Despite all these chunks of problems, R.U.S.E. has notable gameplay elements that are decent, particularly  reconnaissance and intelligence.

R.U.S.E comes with a storyline that is decent, but fails to impress and adds onto an already convoluted campaign that lacks on focusing on the key strengths that make R.U.S.E. a decent title. The voice acting in the storyline becomes the first thing that leads to a negative impression for a title that holds promise. The voice acting is awful and the character models seem like they have heads larger than their bodies, which makes for a weird believability factor. The story campaign cutscenes continue to be dim-lit and the dialogue itself is overly cheesy and almost bearing on a sad disappointment. The storyline sees our heroic Major Joe Sheridan rising up from the ranks of the US Army during the course of World War II, all the while trying to deal with the compendium of German soldiers at the foothills of the mountain border countries. The campaign storyline is not particularly gripping or believable, and the gameplay continuously serves a horrid reminder of terrible voice acting through mission updates every few minutes during the campaign that are all too distracting and disheveled. While the storyline cutscenes seem decent from an animation standpoint and the core fact of being cutscenes, they deride from the true nature of cutscenes to be entertaining and add something to the story. But when the story you have is ill-conceived and ineptly written and delivered, there is not much keeping R.U.S.E from seeming like a poorly made title.

Gameplay keeps R.U.S.E. from being labeled an ineffective game in terms of the RTS style despite delivering something that is not up to par. The simplicity relies on few restrictions in terms of building points and structures that can be built in a limited area. For the most part, veteran real-time strategy players will find the offerings further disappointing when it comes to tech upgrades that are hardly efficient, and units that cannot guard other units. Regardless, the model that R.U.S.E. uses mixes and matches unique gameplay factors such as intelligence and reconnaissance. The RTS slowly becomes complicated as the gameplay wades on, and that is where the core of the gameplay’s strength lies. Ruses are essentially special abilities aside from add-on upgrades that add the flip factor in a match or duel for a country. Maps are divided into pieces that can activate specific ruses and the limitiations to how often ruses can be used and how many can be activated at a point in time determine the course of the gameplay and the action of the battle.

R.U.S.E.  completely comes alive in terms of the online gameplay, partly due to not utilizing an established number of the horrible elements of bad storytelling in the campaign and furthering the action in a Command and Conquer/Domination board game style. Four players are assigned to one of six dependable nations and the action begins from there. Reconnaissance is highlighted to an extreme: the abilitiy to see where the enemies are whether cloaked or hiding in certain areas of the map outline.  Environmental cover is hence one of the most important factors of the game and depends on certain unit ruses and types of units. Heavy infantry can ambush through woods or hide in cities, and can surprise enemies. Further resources can be shared among different soldier types, which lead to a deeper strategic element that is essential.  One of these annoying parts of the game can be ruses themselves if in the hands of a not so smart opponent, but an opponent that exposes the battlefield. Many resources can be distributed to these types of troops, and hence used to ambush in dozens.

R.U.S.E. is an interesting game that takes initiative to be different, but unfortunately delivers unexpectedly through a lackluster campaign and fails to impress on a larger level. Strategy enthusiasts might tend to stay away from this one considering the mixed elements that are too disoriented to be detailed, but amateur strategists that love a decent challenge will find R.U.S.E. a unique but interesting take on battle warfare.

I'm all about one thing: reviews that are easy to understand and make sense of.

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