Ahoy faggots (is it hypocritical to refer to the reader as a faggot after using “ahoy” as a greeting? Probably).

Today I’m going to talk about R.U.S.E, Ubisoft’s new RTS that allegedly employs a new and exciting system that is “set to reinvigorate the genre”.

I might seem sceptical already, given my use of the word ‘allegedly’, but having played the RUSE beta online a few times 3v3 I have to say it’s a lot of fun. That doesn’t however mean I believe it’ll be reinvigorating anything, at least not with the RUSE system, which is essentially a number of commander abilities that allow you to misdirect your enemy, spy on their units, hide your own or just go faster in whatever sector of the map you choose to deploy your RUSE card in.

It’s a good system, and as already stated, a fun game, but I do think suggesting it’ll have a large effect on the RTS genre on the whole may be stretching things ever so slightly. The game itself it’s fairly intuitive which makes it easy to pick up and have fun with, which, although I’m comparing apples and oranges, is something it has over the original Supreme Commander – an RTS many will find baffling to play competitively.

The only resources there are to be captured are supply caches, and your entire army is run on just one resource: money. There’s enough unit variety to keep you testing different races but ultimately Ubisoft seem to have done their best to make units largely comparable. By that I mean, the Germans can build Wirblewinds, which if you’ve played Company of Heroes or the lesser known (but much better) Men of War, is a rather unfriendly anti-air vehicle. To mirror this Britain have the Skink and the Russians have the ZSU which basically do the same job.

It’ll be a little longer before I’m aware of the more intricate differences between the races, I’m yet to find out whether the French units can be forced to retreat faster than the other armies, have a prototype white flag, or can build negligible bunkers that can be mostly ignored. I’m also yet to try the Italian army, and discover whether it’s possible to change teams if things are starting to look like they might go badly for me.

What I have established is that Tiger tanks are fairly unpleasant unless you can apply the correct dosage of fighter-bomber, which of course requires that they not be absolutely surrounded by anti-air, which they often are.

The Armour/Infantry/Air/Artillery balance seems quite nice; while it’s possible to spam an ungodly amount of bombers for runs at the enemy HQ and key buildings, it’s also possible to meet those bombers with a nice fleet of fighters and anti-air, which will allow you to practice your best evil villain laugh as they explode or turn back full of bullet holes and flak, only to discover that while they were gone you had some well placed paratroopers slip into their base from the forest behind it and capture their airbase, HQ, and any other useful buildings your elite troops could storm while the player was distracted watching his bombers fall out of the sky.

Oh, sweet justice.

The beta is available on Steam now, I’d say give it a try and see what you think of it. Don’t let the weird looking French blokes that introduce it put you off, I’m sure they’re harmless.

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