[Edited by kevinpiatt, 9/20/2010 8:55:57 AM]
To take a milder approach to describing the game...
It's fun to play the missions, particularly if you are familiar with the history and know how the reality of them turned out however the game has significant flaws...
The entire game is played with L-clicks, selecting, targeting, moving, and so forth. While not a game-breaker, it is definitely contrary to convention that has long since been established for RTS games like this.
The scale of the game can be very large on some maps/levels, but that same scale can wind up being the problem as deployment is directly impaired by it. On top of that, unless the AI is being told by the script to do something sneaky (i.e. it's scripted to try and circumvent your lines), it's pretty dumb and will eagerly plod headlong into your units. On some levels the crush of the enemy ends up disguising its simple-minded approach, but on large maps where they could take any number of routes to you, they often just stick to the main avenue.
Without giving anything away directly, "Secret Technology" units are also available, late game for the campaign, but often times they are lumbering, take too long to make, or in some cases in reality weren't super high technology to begin with. Sort of leading one to question why have them as "super advanced", when there were many units that could have been put into the game as research-able-units to improve over what was already there and also commonly found in the war.
Some of the choices made with the game are painful to understand why they didn't just take a note from the tried and truly great RTS games like those from Relic, Blizzard, Westwood (I will not recognize the damnable EA for what they've done to C&C), among others. I'm not saying "do it just like they did it", but there are many advances and standards set as the high-water mark in RTS games that those developers have made to be the measuring stick of all other RTS games, and for RUSE to have wound up lacking many of the refinements considered standard for a RTS game is puzzling.
The interface isn't "bad", but they just went to far overboard trying to make an absolutely "clutter free" screen, so you wind up clicking, and clicking, and clicking to get what you need particularly early on when you're just starting to build your base and so forth. The fumble-prone directions given with the L-click alone also pose considerable questions. It's not that it doesn't work, it serves the purpose, but it could have been more refined to allow the player to arrange their lines more quickly and directly. It seems that RUSE is made to give the player a position of giving orders, but the final performing of that task is left to the CPU which frankly doesn't always think as well as you do.
Very late-game, you can spam spam spam facilities to crank out even the most difficult, powerful, and complicated weaponry in VERY short order, and on a huge map it simply makes it that much easier to make "facility farms" to do nothing other than stack up the speed of production. This is a tried and true RTS staple, which I actually like quite a bit that they were willing to adhere to what many would expect in that regard, but it of course begs the question of why they went so far out of their way to reinvent the wheel everywhere else, only to take a step backwards from the advances made elsewhere.
As to the actual concept of RUSE, the ruses themselves, for the most part I found them to be gimmicks either too limiting in scope, since they only effect certain sectors at a time, or simply not tremendously game changing in many cases. I liked the Blitz ruse to simply speed things up, but that merely plays into the earlier issue that, while the maps are large and I do like that, the speeds of the units are not to scale with it.
Honestly, I would far rather the speed of the units be -SLOWER- to properly match realistic speeds found on the roads and so forth of the maps, and DRASTICALLY shrink the scale of buildings and the like since a single base can easily be bigger than large cities in the game, which looks preposterous. It would be dozens of miles in every direction if that were the case.
As it is, movement is almost cartoonish for the sake of game play sake I guess, but if all units moved more realistically, the game would remain functional and scale would be effectively magnified when the pressing concern of an offensive had not only a power variable, but of course a time taken variable to consider. You can shift your lines, but how fast can you bolster them again to prevent a counter-attack if it comes from another direction. Spreading out too far, or of course doing para-drops to capture bases and the like sounds good in the current formula, but if it took much longer to connect with dropped units far away, it'd definitely make you reconsider the overzealous attacks in favor of safer-bets.
In the end... Is it a good game?
Yes, but it's not a great game. It's definitely not anywhere remotely as good as I had hoped it would be during development.
If I had to give it a 1-10 grade, I'd likely put it in at a 7. It's not a bad effort, but frankly Starcraft II came out just a matter of weeks ago. It's still "impacting" as we speak, and while I don't even remotely consider it the greatest RTS, it's a hell of a lot more refined and well put together than RUSE.
If you've played out your RTS library, and need another fix, RUSE is fun for what it is, but it's not going to leave any great memories.
[Edited by knightpress, 9/21/2010 3:44:16 PM]
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