OXCGN’s R.U.S.E. Debriefing: Tactical Success or Failure?

Sheridan & Von Richer Air Their Views

by Allegionary

© 2010 Alex Hilton

R.U.S.E. is a real time strategy game that gives the player fast-paced action when playing multiplayer that keeps you on your toes. If you don’t pay attention for one second, that could be the difference between a win and a loss.

R.U.S.E. is set during World War II where you are a general that commands the troops from behind the front line. R.U.S.E. is developed by Eugen Systems and published by Ubisoft.

Strategy is a main part of the game and the tactics required are different from normal real-time strategy games so I will review this game a bit differently.

For fun, today’s debrief will feature the Allies’ representative Sheridan, who is the main character in the single-player campaign, and the German’s representative,Von Richter, who is the main antagonist in the game. They will discuss two topics: the disappointing campaign and the unique gameplay.


Von Richter:

This game’s main fault is the campaign. It is slow and boring and doesn’t require too much thinking to complete. Each mission only contained one or two main objectives and only a few secondary objectives.

The enemy only reacted to your moves and did not attack you unless it was scripted in the mission. That made the fight boring because the enemy did not seem to want to win.

The cut-scenes break up the flow of the game and the models in the cut-scenes look, well, weird.

One time I was on a blitz with my forces and I was just about to destroy the enemy when a cut-scene started up and when it finished I had lost my momentum and the enemy was ready for me.

This overall makes for a very unsatisfying campaign.

• R.U.S.E. In-game footage trailer


Ok, I admit the cut-scenes weren’t the flashiest but this isn’t a story-driven game like the Role Playing Games or good first person shooters like Bioshock. It is a strategy game that wants to make you think, not pull you in to the story.

The story is like a tutorial in that it gives you the different types of ‘ruses’ (ways to mislead the opposition) and units in baby steps so that you get used to each as you go along.

At the end of the campaign it does get challenging so you can try out your skills before you go online or have a skirmish against the computer.

Von Richter:

The campaign may have been a tutorial into learning the strategies needed to play this game but if you look at all the other strategy games they don’t have the whole campaign a tutorial.

Even if the developer just merged a couple of groups of missions together, the game would have gone forward at a good pace which would have made the campaign more bearable.

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R.U.S.E. is a strategy game that requires a lot of thinking to play. When you are playing a computer or a real opponent the tactics required makes the game challenging and enjoyable at the same time.

The way you play Ruse is different from the other real-time strategy games in that it is not a rush for upgrades but a game that requires a strategy to win. The player will find their own unique strategy to win games, which is enjoyable.

Whether it is an offensive rush like the Zerg in Starcraft or  an impenetrable defensive line, it is up to the player’s preference.

The possibilities are endless for the choice of tactics to go with your strategy: do you want to reign terror on your opponent from the skies, or shock your opponent with a surprise ambush that destroys his/her best tank? There are many different tactics that can be used.

The mechanics of R.U.S.E. allows for the different strategies and tactics, which has not been seen often in real-time strategy games so Ruse is a refreshing title that requires the right tactics to win the battle.

Von Richter:

There is a downside to this part of the game as well though. There is too much happening in the game to make the game completely perfect. If the player forgets about one sector for one second, the opponent may push there and the player has suddenly lost because of being overwhelmed by the game’s complexity.

Sure ,if you have an incredibly quick mind and quicker fingers you might have less trouble, but it sure can be punishing and therefore frustrating.

Forgetting to build anti-air guns means that the player could lose his/her entire army to a bombing run that could have been easily prevented. The quick thinking that is required by this game is its downside.

The game becomes a matter of who can press the buttons the fastest and who can process and remember the greatest amount of information that is sent to them.


If the player does mess up a bit and loses his/her army, the game supplies the player with a way of getting back into the game or even winning by using ‘ruses’, which are powers that can be used to turn the tides of battle.

For example if the player only had a small army he/she could send a decoy army to attack the opponent’s real army, while the player’s army back-doors into the enemy base using blitz, which boosts the movement speed of your units.

The end result is a victory and a stunned opponent. This fun new addition to strategy is how R.U.S.E. is different from the other strategy games I’ve played.



The multiplayer skirmishes are where R.U.S.E. shines the most.

Playing online gives you a challenge, making you out-think human opponents to win games. You can, however, play local skirmishes against the AI if you wish.

The way that R.U.S.E. is designed gives endless ways a battle could end. Will one side control the skies while the other controls the ground? Will the game be a constant tug-of-war for victory?

R.U.S.E. is a game that makes you really feel like a general. From the stresses of battle to the relief at seeing your well thought out plans coming together, Ruse is a great game that makes the player think like a general.


Von Richter:

The graphics in Ruse aren’t that impressive for an Xbox 360 game. The models aren’t that detailed and the terrain pops up.

The sound effects and music don’t live up to a first-rate game as well. The voice acting is horrible- so horrible that I was tempted to mute the cut-scenes.

These factors make the game look and sound like a second-rate game when it has first-rate multiplayer.


The strategy genre in general isn’t known to compete visually with the big first person shooters like Call of Duty so I don’t see how that can be too much of a bad point though if the gameplay holds up.

R.U.S.E. does give the player the option of zooming in and out which is a great feature in that you can watch your troops fight like you are actually there or you can look at the battlefield from high above to create your plans.

While the controls are fiddly and inaccurate at times, this is the usual for console strategy games.  I’d love to have tried this on the PS3 with the Move features or on PC, but overall they did the job adequately.

It’s a shame there wasn’t a way to use Kinect, because the early adverts for this game had the commander using a large tactical touch screen waving his hands about to control troops.

Von Richter:

The zooming feature is a good addition but Ruse looks more and more like the board game Axis and Allies as you zoom out.

The units stack like the Axis and Allies board game by placing what look like player chips underneath the unit, which shows how many units are in that area. When you pan back far enough the battlefield is actually on a table too, like a board game.

This debriefing has shown how R.U.S.E. is about the tactical prowess of the player, so if a person who isn’t very good at strategy games wants to play, there’s a pretty steep learning curve that has to be climbed before attempting proper battles.

However, strategic gamers will have a lot of fun with this game because of the depth and difficulty of the fast-paced battles. If you are a strategy game enthusiast and love playing difficult but fun real-time strategy games then R.U.S.E. is perfect for you.

The campaign, though, has been found to be a pretty slow and boring way to learn the game of Ruse. Persist and learn the way to victory and then Ruse will open up to you and assist you to outweigh the odds and claim a victory with your Ruses when you play human opponents online.


© 2010 Alex Hilton

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I love playing video games a lot. I currently own a laptop, an Xbox 360, a Nintendo DS and an iPod touch. I play all of these consoles and enjoy them all because of the diversity in them. I play my laptop for strategy games, my Xbox 360 for most genres, my DS for Pokemon (not much else on the DS), and my iPod for the simple yet addictive mini-games. I also develop Android Apps. I have just started development and I am well on my way to fame and fortune (I hope) with the release of my first app. More details can be found at my blog: http://legionaryproductions.wordpress.com/ My favourite games are Warcraft III, League of Legends, Mass Effect 1 and 2, the Pokemon games and the Elder Scrolls series. I also enjoy shooters like Halo and the earlier Call of Duty games (before COD 5). I also enjoy playing Hockey, reading a good book and watching movies and TV shows. One of my favourite book series is Rangers Apprentice and my favourite movies are the Star Wars movies (as shown by my profile picture) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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