Games Review: R.U.S.E.

WE’RE not sure where the current trend for using P.O.I.N.T.L.E.S.S. acronyms in game titles originated, but we W.I.S.H. publishers would S.T.O.P. doing it. Someone probably derives a great deal of pleasure from conjuring them up, but it’s annoying.

R.U.S.E.

WE’RE not sure where the current trend for using P.O.I.N.T.L.E.S.S. acronyms in game titles originated, but we W.I.S.H. publishers would S.T.O.P. doing it. Someone probably derives a great deal of pleasure from conjuring them up, but it’s annoying.

Titular concerns aside, R.U.S.E. is an absorbing real-time strategy game featuring some of the key battles of World War II. In the 15-hour single-player campaign, you take control of Major Joe Sheridan as he locks horns with his arch-nemesis, General Major Erich Von Richter, in a series of pitched battles stretching from North Africa to Italy, France, Holland, the Ardennes and Germany.

At first glance, it looks like any other real-time strategy game – with plenty of base building and unit production going on – but there are a couple of important differences. Firstly, maps are laid out in front of you like a board game, and you can zoom in and out of the action with a flick of the analogue stick. With Allied and Axis forces reduced to a series of stacked chips and big blue arrows indicating lines of attack, you really feel like an armchair general.


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Zoom in, and the game takes on an entirely new dimension, as your tiny soldiers run around carrying out your orders. AI routines will do much of the dirty work for you, with your forces engaging any enemy units they encounter or retreating if outnumbered.

The other big change is the inclusion of R.U.S.E. cards. These let you choose from a range of tactical deceptions, including moving units around without being detected, deploying fake columns of tanks as a diversionary tactic, intercepting radio transmissions to predict enemy movements and even indulging in psychological warfare. In other words, it transforms a game of rock-paper-scissors into a much more tactically astute campaign.

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With streamlined controls and the option to wage war online, there’s a lot of bang for your buck. While the game creeps along at a tortuously slow pace – especially at the start of each mission – it provides ample opportunity to have a cup of tea and plan your next military adventure.

Publisher: Ubisoft

Price: �49.99

Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3, PC)

Age rating: 16+

Score: 4/5 Stars

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