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RUSE – hands-on

We have one ruse card left, and here’s where our idea comes into effect. RUSE’s generals have access to decoys – units that appear just as real, lumbering and downright deadly as their non-fake versions, but are made of nothing more than balsa wood and packed only with the devious giggles of their boss. That’s you.

A secret, secondary force! Or so they think. Tanks and men, seconds ago jammed against the broken teeth of our smashed military mouth, are directed eastwards, toward the site of the decoys’ push. We see the arrows transform from stabbing red to distracted blue, changing their charge to a trundle. We’re safe, for now. We’ve bought time to rearm and re-supply, and we’ve demonstrated RUSE’s greatest triumph: it’s brought the mystery back.

Those units on the other side of that hill might not have been tanks. They might have been a teeny group of badly-outfitted men, dressed to look like tanks with the sneaky Revert Intel ruse, where a light band of soldiers can stomp around, looking like a terrifying heavy unit to a badly informed enemy. Or, perhaps more sneakily, with the same ruse a thrumming column of armour could put on their infantry cloak and appear as nothing more than a couple of flimsy troops out for a non-threatening reconnoitre.

Players facing the possibility of scoundrelry need contingency plans on contingency plans; deciding to turn your army round and dig in to defend against an assault means your own offensive will stall. Use a vital ruse card to hide your buildings and buy you the time to finish your attack, and you won’t have one spare to blanket your troops with radio silence on their way to your opponent’s base. Trying to keep on top of all the variables being chucked at you requires a fearsome level of concentration, reminiscent of the gargantuan Supreme Commander.

Weaponry is built in factories laid down by slow-rolling construction trucks sent from your nearest supply depot. It comes in several flavours, from the vanilla infantry barracks to chocolate-chip with tank warehouses, to the super-experimental double-beef and sherbert prototype facility, which produces expensive but potentially battle-changing machines such as the Panzer VIII Maus supertank.

While America is the only side available in the single-player campaign, in multiplayer you’ve got the choice of six factions: America, Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union and Italy. Plumping for one is as dependent on your preferred style of play as your love for jackboots. Go for the Soviets and you’ll have access to long-range artillery, while the US are devoid of serious shelling ability, relying on cheaper jeeps and tanks supporting a mobile battlefront.

Victory isn’t just a matter of wiping your foe off the map. Scores are awarded for destroying an enemy’s units: focus on defence of your own soft military underbelly and pop more of your foe’s ironclads and you’re set to ride out the remainder of the game in your turret-ringed shell. Few strategy games cater to a varied approach – many of the most popular become no more than a cakewalk for masters of the Zerg rush. That RUSE consciously provides the base tools with which to explore the full range of tactics used in WWII – from city-square ambushes to withering artillery bombardments – is an exciting prospect.

Jan 28, 2010

12 comments

  • joy - February 1, 2010 3:22 a.m.

    @ DrLovez69 - Whats that you say??? >>Lol have been thinking the same thing!
  • CH3BURASHKA - January 30, 2010 10:20 p.m.

    The reveal of the iPad makes me hope for a port of this. No promises on actually buying the iPad, though.
  • civver - January 30, 2010 8:28 p.m.

    WWII again huh?
  • DrLovez69 - January 29, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    Whats that you say??? FREE SHIPPING??!! COMPETITIVE PRICES??!!! ANY SIZE AVAILABLE!!!???!!! I MUST CLICK ON THE LINK!!!
  • DrLovez69 - January 29, 2010 2:09 p.m.

    Creeplytuna my good man: I just joined gamesradar literally a handful of days ago, so thats why it was my first first. And the whole first thing, its just a bit of a laugh, just as long as your comment actually ADDS something or your opinion to the article, not justa "F!RST!!!!11!!" but like what i did, you getta' me? But some people complain waaaaheeey too much and become waaaaheeey too aggressive about people who say first, those moanbags eat fun for breakfast, and pop kids bicycle tires. You're not one of 'em, cause you said a joke, Devils soul obesity and the like, so thats. FIN
  • terdferguson - January 29, 2010 1:11 p.m.

    i think i will stick with world in conflict when it comes to pc strategy games.
  • nik41507 - January 29, 2010 12:15 a.m.

    @creepytuna: What obesity problem? *stuffs 3 twinkies down mouth while ordering a New York style pizza extra large*
  • nik41507 - January 29, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    Ive never been first or said first. I really hope this works because if it does I WILL play this to death. really new looking game play approach
  • Kenzo - January 28, 2010 11:38 p.m.

    definitely looks interesting, I just hope it's not too crazy to actually sell, people tend to like thier WWII games nice and predictable.
  • CreeplyTuna - January 28, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    ps: never say first or the devil will eat ur soul. thats what causes Americas obesity problem
  • CreeplyTuna - January 28, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    drlove, how have not been first before? ive been first 15 to 20 times and NEVER said a thing about it. now uve gone and made me say something about it so f*** u
  • DrLovez69 - January 28, 2010 11:16 p.m.

    I do be first. MY FIRST FIRST. Hm, I'm not sold, i don't play many games like this, strategy 'n the like, but i don't understand how "ruses" would work, its basically two players cheating to win, it wouldn't end, but i hope it works. Sure Looks puuurty ee though *pulls up dungerees*

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