A Superb RTS That Excels At What It Does
Having been playing this game since it was released, I consider myself familiar with this game, but by no means an expert. I couldn't wait to see this game released, I'd been following it for a few months before its release. When I follow a game for length of time like that, I'm usually unsatisfied with the end result, but RUSE has surpassed my expectations. What Eugen Systems has created is, quite boldly, the best RTS I've seen on home consoles (excluding PC). But do not think you'll be able to jump into this game and master it in the first few hours to days, it will take a sizable amount of time and effort. As what you see, is not always what it seems, and what you DON'T see could be your undoing.
STORY: The story of RUSE is what I find to be interesting. It doesn't follow WWII's storied history to the tee, it instead creates an alternate reality that mirrors what really happened in the war. The main character, Joe Sheridan, is a fictional figure who commands US forces in fictional battles on non-fictional battlegrounds; if that makes any sense. This Joe Sheridan is essentially playing a high-stakes game of Chess against a German counterpart, all the while, a spy named "Prometheus" is feeding them both true and false information. WWII's victorious Allies did not win the war with sheer might, they won through the use of spies and espionage, and this story moderately portrays what happened on a regular basis.
SOUND:Sound quality in this game is quite good. For the magnitude of the games unit database, each has its own distinct sound. When zoomed in fully on the battlefield, explosions and gun fire become extremely loud and immersive. When you are on the receiving end of an artillery barrage, you'd wish you had brought some earplugs.
GRAPHICS:RUSE's graphics are both satisfying, yet they're also one of the most lacking areas of this game. I know that this game has massive maps, varied terrain, and different weather conditions, but one area still irks me. When zoomed in all the way units go from being large, highly detailed figures, to being nearly minature Hotwheels-esque "toys." Not to mention the fact that when zoomed in completely, tanks and infantry look as though they are traveling nearly as fast as aircraft!
ONLINE:BEWARE OF THIS NEWCOMERS! This area is not for the faint of heart. Although low ranking, newbie players are found on the servers, most games are dominated by the best of the best. Many of the people playing this online have mastered the game, and will not suffer fools lightly. I suggest playing plenty of Skirmish battles against the AI before entering into this realm.
REPLAYABILITY:Should this even be a question? RUSE has more than enough for you to do to keep you coming back for more. Once you finish the 15-20+ hour story, you can play Skirmish battles against the AI in either 1v1, 1v1v1, Free For All, or 2v2. There is also a "Operations" category that pits you against the AI in objective based games. And don't forget, there are 6 different factions to play as, and 3 different time frames to fight in.
CLOSING COMMENT: RUSE has not received half of the media attention it deserves. The few game sites that have reviewed it gave it stellar scores, but sadly, this is not enough. I highly encourage any potential or current RTS fan to rent or purchase this game. I do not want to ruin the full experience of this game, as it is what makes this game complete. Should you aquire this game, you will see first hand how espionage, spies, trickery, luck, and a smart mind can win a game, or how even one blunder can result in a complete breakdown. One of the greatest feelings is knowing you have outwitted another person, and playing this game entirely justifies that feeling.