R.U.S.E. is a real-time strategy game that lets players trick their opponents with, you guessed it, ruses. But the real ruse is the game commercial, which looks nothing like actual gameplay, even the cutscenes don’t look that good.

Contrary to what the title and commercial lead you believe ruses aren’t the crux of the game. In fact, their usefulness is often dubious at best. For instance, “Terrorize” is supposed to make enemies flee faster. Whether or not that’s true is hard to tell but ultimately it can be self defeating. The faster they retreat the more likely they are to escape and come back to bite you in the butt.

The best defense is a fake offense.

“Fake offensive” is a great strategy so long as you don’t actually go on the offense and reveal they’re decoys. But while an amassing army may scare off your friends, the computer seems equally indifferent to this ruse as it is to the others.

The only ruse you can always count on is “Blitz” which noticeably increases the speed of all units, including construction and supply lines.

Like all war games R.U.S.E. takes place during WWII. The story is equally original. You play as Major Joe Sheridan, an ambitious American who’s befriended by a stuffy British Colonel and a dame that’s nothing but trouble.

RUSE split screenYou can skip over the cliched cutscenes but not the checkpoints, during which the computer takes control of the camera, followed by an ugly split screen that’s notable only for how much the frame rate drops. Meanwhile, the fighting continues without you! When you finally regain control, the camera doesn’t return to where you were, which costs you even more valuable time.


The only thing slower than your troops are the construction vehicles that build the factories that build them. All construction vehicles and supply lines originate from your headquarters but you can build secondary headquarters to help speed up the process. You can also save money and time by taking over enemy buildings with infantry troops instead of destroying them.

Military Intelligence

The AI is so passive it makes your troops look like tree hugging hippies. Units will just stand around with them enemy right on top of them. It could just seem that way when zoomed out, but considering that’s the only way to quickly manage your army, it’s irrelevant.

Soldiers are cowards. They will always retreat when low on health, which is often pointless since most them don’t move fast enough to escape anyway and they’ll just end up getting shot in the back. This is particularly true for airplanes, which will sometimes retreat before dropping their payload and still and shot down. To make matters worse, planes fly in a staggered approach so anti-aircraft vehicles can concentrate their fire and take them down that much faster. You can use a ruse called “Fanaticism” to make your units fight to the death but why waste a ruse just to make kamikaze pilots, an even bigger waste. Instead use Blitz to help them make it in AND out.

Overlapping makes clicking on building with units on them such as airfields with airplanes practically impossible unless you zoom all the way in. Fortunately, the game wonderfully simplifies construction. You don’t have to click on specific base to build the corresponding unit. So long as you have the required base, you can click on any base or the shortcuts at the top on the screen and the nearest base capable will construct it.

Rock, paper, soldiers

Each country has it’s own units with their own strengths and weakness. Personal bias notwithstanding, America is the best. Other countries’ units are much more specialized. They’re very effective against one type of unit and not at all on others. Whereas, American units are more balanced, particularly the Anti-Aircraft Bunker, M16 Mobile Anit-Aircraft Gun and the upgraded M19 Armored Anti-Aircraft Gun, which are effective against building, infantry, and of course aircraft. The only units they’re not effective on are tanks, which just means you need a tank or two for escort purposes. Infantry are universally weak except when concealed in forests from which they can safely launch surprise attacks and decimate any land unit.

Fortunately you won’t have to memorize the game’s encyclopedia, Rusopedia (actual name), each unit’s effectiveness is conveniently listed before construction. As if that wasn’t easy enough, mousing over enemies will tell you how your units stack up (very easy, easy, balanced, danger, high danger).

Campaign mode has little replay value, except for the last 2 missions where you can choose to command allied nations (UK, France, or German transition army). You can play as allied or axis in single battles with up to 8 players. The maps are fixed depending on the amount players but you can choose: team or free for all, time limit, or the year, which will affect the level of technology.

R.U.S.E. is an incredibly user-friendly game, but to really enjoy it you’re going to need play online (against real people) because fooling a computer isn’t any fun.