"Ruse" Beta Impressions by SniperWolf427

Disclaimer: This is just impressions on a beta, so there isn't terribly much to talk about. Please forgive the length. Those of you who have read my reviews before know how long they usually are, so this is unusual for me.

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RTSes and I have had a rocky relationship. On one hand, games like Sins of a Solar Empire and Command and Conquer have always been right up my alley, not requiring too much acclimation time before I'm stomping on the face of the nearest untrained person, laughing at their tears as the base they worked so hard to build crumbles to the ground aflame. However, on the other end of the spectrum, I've been the sniveling bitch in several too many Starcraft or Supreme Commander matches, which tends to frustrate me a great deal. Well, the public beta for Ruse came out this past Tuesday on Steam, and now that exams are over I've finally sat down and taken the time to play it. Much to my dismay, Ruse fits in neither of those aforementioned categories, rendering me unable to use spicy adjectives to color my like/dislike of the game.

For the uneducated, Ruse is a real time strategy game set in World War II, depicting certain battles between the Axis and Allies. Of course, they've been beaten to the punch by about fifty-million other games, most of which are bad; so, what makes Ruse stand out? Well, for starters, the game employs an in game engine known as IRISZOOM (yes, according to the game's site, it is in all caps) which allows you to zoom as far out from the map as to make it look as if it were a strategic board, and as far into the map as to focus on a single unit. When zoomed as far out as possible, all units and bases turn into little tokens, if you will, giving the idea that you're simply in a war room looking over strategic plans for attack. Understand that it's quite difficult for me to explain (luckily, I come bearing images), but it works incredibly well and looks absolutely stunning, especially when zooming very quickly. Not content with instituting only one innovation into the genre, the game also gives you bluffs to confuse the enemy, called Ruses. These vary from camouflaging your bases so enemies can't see them, to disguising your units as different units, and even initiating fake attacks. They're brilliant ideas and work absolute wonders for gameplay, adding a complete other dimension to strategic planning.

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Who the hell is that guy over there and how did he get into my war room?

Underneath all of that flashy and overrated "innovation", Ruse is a fairly standard RTS. You build bases, gather resources, build units, and then send them off to give your opponent a bad day. However, there are a few small tweaks that drastically effect the way matches are played out in Ruse as opposed to something like Command and Conquer. For one, resource gathering bases can only be built in certain locations, and they are not even infinite in supply, meaning that you'll have to spread far and wide across the map in order to keep yourself well supplied. Ruse is also much more realistic. Units have lines of sight, certain units can't go through certain types of terrain, and matches can be won or lost in the most interesting ways. A fleet of bombers can annihilate an enemy who didn't build enough anti-air guns. A bunch of your ground troops can slip through a forest undetected and destroy anti-armor guns guarding the enemy base so your tanks can break through and seriously fuck shit up. It's this type of thing that gives a real warfare feel, something that has eluded every other game in the RTS genre.

The beta allows you to choose from several different factions, including the Russians, Germans, Japanese, Italians, French, and, of course, those boring ol' Americans who can't seem to stay out of any damn game. I played several matches and used the Germans, Americans, and Russians. All the units of each faction are historically accurate and each faction has its share of strengths or weaknesses, making each one play drastically different. As the Germans, my tanks seemed weaker, but my anti-tank defenses were damned near impenetrable. As the Russians, my tanks were stronger, but my anti-armor guns seemed to be made out of glue and tinfoil. This allows for a great deal of gameplay diversity and gives people many opportunities to find a faction that suits them.

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If you look up into the top left corner, you'll see that the German army has 69 American dollars. There are so many fucking jokes in there, it's ridiculous.

The graphics are another strong point, looking decent even on some rather low-end systems (like mine for example). The environments are massive and absolutely beautiful. No one object is completely stunning, as individual things are low detailed once you zoom in (this is an RTS after all), but it's the way the entire package comes together that makes everything amazing. The maps have a great abundance of colors, which is an absolute breath of fresh air, and it makes a nice contrast to the black and gray machinery of war when they rumble across the landscape. One particularly impressive aspect of the graphics are the explosions. Yes, the fire and smoke effects are magnificent, and make it awe-inspiring when you drop a shit-ton of bombs on a city to eliminate the enemy units using it as refuge. Aiding the graphics is the awesome sound design. Explosions are perfectly deafening and simply increase the intensity of the battles. If I had to complain about the sound and graphical presentation, I'd say that they should really replace the way in which buildings are built. An annoying welding sound is used and the base simply appears. It's a nitpick, but it's really all I've got.

I can't say anything about the Campaign, as it is unplayable, but they do allow you to play multiplayer and skirmish modes. Honestly, after getting stomped by the AI on whatever the default difficulty is, I've been too afraid to go online, so this was based entirely around skirmishing with an AI. Hence why I said Ruse fits in neither of my pre-established categories. As much as I'm getting spanked by the enemy, the game never ceases to be fun, and the fact that battles are an amazing spectacle doesn't hurt either. I haven't gotten frustrated even once during my time spent with the game and considering my temper, that's an amazing feat. I'd recommend you check out the Ruse beta whether you're an RTS fan or not. Given the extreme difference between this game and its brethren, you may suddenly find that you do enjoy RTSes.

Thanks for reading and feedback is always welcome.

If you enjoyed reading this, feel free to read my other reviews: Stalker: Call of Pripyat, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Shutter Island, Halo: Legends, Stalker: Clear Sky, Stalker: Complete 2009, HAWX, Fable 2, and The Boondock Saints

Wow. Brilliantly written review.

I have read some of yours in the past but your name hasn't really been on my radar, but be assured that you have a new fan out there.

I'm away to read some of your other reviews. They are informative, excellently written with a nice sprinkling of humour and a light-hearted way of writing that is refreshing.

*other lavish praise*

Oh, and thankyou for using nice grammar. So many reviewers don't bother on here, attempting to write without actually using the language properly to start with.

Octorok:
Wow. Brilliantly written review.

I have read some of yours in the past but your name hasn't really been on my radar, but be assured that you have a new fan out there.

I'm away to read some of your other reviews. They are informative, excellently written with a nice sprinkling of humour and a light-hearted way of writing that is refreshing.

*other lavish praise*

Oh, and thankyou for using nice grammar. So many reviewers don't bother on here, attempting to write without actually using the language properly to start with.

Wow, never had a fan before. Thanks a lot man, good to know that even one person out there enjoys my writing.

Good review. I think you might have just sold me to this game.

GreyWolf257:
Good review. I think you might have just sold me to this game.

Haha, at least try the Beta before you say that I've sold you. It's different. Very different. And, if you really enjoy base-building and things like Starcraft, then this might be an unsettling change for you.

Good read, and I agree with your analysis. I have to say I like being the Russians, because I just spam tanks to the point I want to hold and then spam heavy artillery outposts just within range of their base and main body of units, and go get a drink and a book to wait the ten minutes out.

It only felt like being cheap for a half a minute.

The game absolutely decimated my midish level pc.

Absolutely drop dead gorgeous to look at though.

Good review, and I would agree with you on every word. Thankfully its just a beta though, because in the first few minutes of a match you can airial spam your opponent to death. In every game I played this has happened, so it got real old real fast. Has anyone else been confronted with this cheap tactic?

Good concise review, I might just go try the BETA out for myself. Just randomly appeared in Steam one day and didn't give it a second thought. After reading this though I'll try it out.

Stunningly good. Seriously.
Tell me again why you didn't participate in any of the competitions here.
Hell, I, having played no RTSs since Dawn Of War and Company Of Heroes, really got interested in this.

personally i found the single player easy ( try building a lot of anti Armour guns near the supply depot next to the bridge and waiting) online i got annihilated in every match, great review though

Journeythroughhell:
Stunningly good. Seriously.
Tell me again why you didn't participate in any of the competitions here.
Hell, I, having played no RTSs since Dawn Of War and Company Of Heroes, really got interested in this.

To be quite honest, when Pimp's contest first opened, I wasn't even really writing reviews. I had written a few before but I never really thought I had a knack for it.

However, several months ago I decided I wanted to be a journalist, and lately I've been writing reviews on a daily basis.

I'll be sure to enter into the next one, however.

Thank you for the feedback, though.

philosophicalbastard:
Good review, and I would agree with you on every word. Thankfully its just a beta though, because in the first few minutes of a match you can airial spam your opponent to death. In every game I played this has happened, so it got real old real fast. Has anyone else been confronted with this cheap tactic?

Most people don`t use camouflage net at the beginning of the battle so if you see a dude making an airport drop a artillery base and make around 5 or more anti-air guns or play the US so you can build the anti air bunker. Your days of fearing aerial attacks will be over.

Just keep in mind, my dear fellow Escapists, that this is a game by Ubisoft. You know, the company with the awful DRM? The one most people said they will not buy games from anymore?

Yep, that's the one.

Dublin Solo:
Just keep in mind, my dear fellow Escapists, that this is a game by Ubisoft. You know, the company with the awful DRM? The one most people said they will not buy games from anymore?

Yep, that's the one.

Therefore it's a dirty whore of a game and must be banished to the depths of hell with the likes of ET for Atari, Cocaine sniffing modern Sonic, Bobby Kotick and Gabe Newell for not letting a scrap of a word out on HL2:EP3.

An absolutely stunning piece of review. Honestly this is well written, broken up nicely by images and in generally easy on the eyes to read. I can guarantee I will be looking for your review on the pages now, really brilliant stuff.

Wow, Even in a "short" review you get so much accross. Top notch review as ever. I love reading your reviews when they come out. Top Work!

SniperWolf427:
snip

dude, the AI is set on EASY!

haha, nonetheless, its interesting that the "game mechanics" are fairly easy to understand, but it takes time getting used to them, the first time i played i was near the middle of the battle when i realized i had 46 ruses without use

i was all "WTF"???

so i decided to use them all at once, it was fairly chaotic but i managed to win the game, if you dont use your RUSES it really criples your game (i had being in the middle of the map forward and back with medium tanks, i wanted to push forward with pure will... yeah right), but once used it gives a boost that really enhances your chances, i was also too afraid to try the online multiplayer, but perhaps after i get my friends a copy i will try it :P.

oh, and excelent review man, only a few points here and there, not too intrusive, and i loved how you refrained of giving your opinion i mean, after all, its just a "beta test"

hey, lets hook up later, i would add you in steam but you havent added it to your profile, add me!, we could have fun ;)

philosophicalbastard:
Good review, and I would agree with you on every word. Thankfully its just a beta though, because in the first few minutes of a match you can airial spam your opponent to death. In every game I played this has happened, so it got real old real fast. Has anyone else been confronted with this cheap tactic?

once against the AI, so i ussually go and spam my base with anti-air (just 2 heavy and all the others movile, not that shaby)

its fairly fast the way the things can go, you just have to addapt to each game

Well since you didnt cover the multiplayer aspect I think I might write a first impression preview of ruse.

Remember two things however, this is a beta, and the multiplayer is what is being beta tested.

The game is incredibly complex. I like to think of it as a more complex C&C generals. It had that feel.

Anyway when the Beta ends I'll write up something I think.

(also to the other people in the thread moaning about cheap tactics, there are cheap counters for every tactic)

Killerbunny001:

philosophicalbastard:
Good review, and I would agree with you on every word. Thankfully its just a beta though, because in the first few minutes of a match you can airial spam your opponent to death. In every game I played this has happened, so it got real old real fast. Has anyone else been confronted with this cheap tactic?

Most people don`t use camouflage net at the beginning of the battle so if you see a dude making an airport drop a artillery base and make around 5 or more anti-air guns or play the US so you can build the anti air bunker. Your days of fearing aerial attacks will be over.

Yea I'm usually to busy with my own base to notice enemy air-fields, so I should probably just make alot at the beginning of the game.

HentMas:

SniperWolf427:
snip

dude, the AI is set on EASY!

haha, nonetheless, its interesting that the "game mechanics" are fairly easy to understand, but it takes time getting used to them, the first time i played i was near the middle of the battle when i realized i had 46 ruses without use

i was all "WTF"???

so i decided to use them all at once, it was fairly chaotic but i managed to win the game, if you dont use your RUSES it really criples your game (i had being in the middle of the map forward and back with medium tanks, i wanted to push forward with pure will... yeah right), but once used it gives a boost that really enhances your chances, i was also too afraid to try the online multiplayer, but perhaps after i get my friends a copy i will try it :P.

oh, and excelent review man, only a few points here and there, not too intrusive, and i loved how you refrained of giving your opinion i mean, after all, its just a "beta test"

hey, lets hook up later, i would add you in steam but you havent added it to your profile, add me!, we could have fun ;)

I know it's on Easy, I just can't seem to win against the bastard. I always end up getting plowed by hordes of heavy tanks.... It sucks.

Regardless, my Steam name is on my profile, I just haven't played anything this week so it isn't showing up. Steam name is: SniperWolf427. Big surprise, eh?

I played the online beta, it's really easy to get to grips with, but money comes too fast. I mean, in the last 5 minutes I stormed the enemy base with about 150 tanks, having saved up for a while. Very fun though.

good review, and a very good game which seems to be abit complex for me online. The game is abit buggy but it is a beta afterall, really looking forward to its relise.

Excellent review! Bravo! I disagree with your opinion about the German tanks, they just take a bit of getting used to. Also, once you play enough, you get the hang of online and AI, but aside from those thoughts, a great review for a great game!

 

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