RUSE is shaping up to become a nice addition to PC gaming, and also to the vacant market of real-time strategy games on consoles. Halo Wars and Red Alert have pretty much been the only standouts, but where's the real depth and longevity of a title like StarCraft? Ubisoft's RUSE is hoping to fill that gap, and based on the time we spent with it recently, it may be just the thing. That is if it'd stop with the gimmicks like showing it at E3 on a Microsoft Surface table and just give us the console goods. Not all of us have a spare $15,000 sitting around.
Head beyond the break to see a (very, very) long demo from the Tunisia setting in RUSE, and to read our thoughts about it. It's not something you can pick up and learn in a scant few seconds, but it offers you enough to keep coming back to it. Find out why inside.
We've seen RUSE before, but we only got our hands on it for the first time very recently. We were playing it on a PC with a Windows 360 Controller. Since we didn't use the keyboard at all it was easy enough to just pretend it was just an Xbox. And wow, we hope it looks this good on a console. The developers assured us it would be the same experience, and then slotted up a battle near the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, which took place at the beginning of 1943 (and is historically accurate, to boot).
Once you dive into the game proper, you'll see how hard it can be to scroll over numerous units, set orders, and maintain control over everything. Granted, the dev was dropping us well inside the game, and promised that it has a very robust tutorial that will explain everything from issuing orders, to combat, to handling the ruses in the game. The developer had to help us through most of the demo, but after about 30 minutes we pretty much had it down. Although don't think this is saying that the game has difficult controls -- there's just a lot going on in here. It's refreshing to be presented with a game that can't be played with only a few simple button mashes.
As you select units (multiple combinations of triggers and buttons select units in different ways), you'll notice info popping up on the screen describing them, and the game will point out their strengths and weaknesses. You might have selected 20mm mobile gun and thought you'd use it against some armor, but the game will note "Weak Against Tanks" in the information, telling you that you need something with a bit more oomph. Luckily you're able to "mine gold" as you defend your base, and this happens transparently, so you don't have to click on a unit and have him gather anything. Once you've accrued enough gold, you can build different types of units: planes, tanks, infantry, etc.
If you've ever played tabletop games like Axis & Allies or Tide of Iron, RUSE will be right up your alley and you won't have 3.148 little plastic pieces to lose in the carpet. It'll also appeal to WWII aficionados who don't mind learning RTS strategy, and to people who like a little more think in their games. Hopefully we'll actually play the console version of this next to see if there is any graphical difference.