No longer the domain of the PC gamer Ubisoft have taken the RTS genre and dragged it kicking and screaming into the next generation with the Playstation Move
Once upon a time the PC really was the ‘big boy’ of gaming industry, and every developer would pander to the whims and fancies of the hardware companies and manufacturers as they sought validation by the gaming giant’s for their titles. How the tables have turned now that Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have secured massive chunks of the gaming market with their individual consoles and peripherals, as one by one the developers have left the former giant to snore loudly in its slumber as the younger upstarts run off with the cookies from its jar. Yet one prize always seemed to be out of reach for the console gamers. One genre that always seemed to be ideally suited to the mouse control that the PC offered, and the consoles just could not wrest that Golden Egg from its fingers. That ‘prize‘ was, of course, the Real Time Strategy genre. Just take a look at the game that was billed as ‘The Release of the Year’ just a few weeks ago in Starcraft II. A true stalwart of the PC gaming title if ever there was one. But someone forgot to tell Ubisoft that they were supposed to ignore consoles with their latest RTS title release. That the game, that see’s a true return to form in the genre for the award-winning developer, would have looked, and played, better on the PC DVD Rom format instead of the lesser talents of the games consoles. But let’s face it, if you are one of the people looking to make this purchase, then all we have to say to you is that thanks to Ubisoft’s adoption of the latest advancements in Sony’s Playstation Move motion controller that you will be mighty glad that the developer decided against releasing their title on the PC.
So the latest release from Ubisoft see’s their Real Time Strategy title R.U.S.E. opting for the games console over the PC, and in doing so hammers in just one more nail in the PC coffin of domination over the console in the genre. The day of the mouse reigning as the accuracy king has gone, and there is a new claim to the throne, and it comes in the shape of the Playstation Move. Ubisoft’s inspired decision to release their RTS title R.US.E. as a Playstation Move compatible title has really shown the true strengths of the gaming peripheral, and also allowed the developer to take their title to a whole new audience.
The game itself is a joyous blend of first-rate quality graphics and excellent gameplay that see’s you commanding your armies as a General of the Allied Forces during the Second World War. You begin your campaign under familiar circumstances as you are allowed to command only a small token force that has to complete its objectives of either attack or defence as the situation requires it. Of course the game follows the standard fare of the Real Time Strategy format in that as you progress throughout your campaign completing your missions you will obviously gain the necessary bonuses and experience with which to strengthen your forces with better equipment and heavier items such as tanks and aircraft. Naturally you will also have to collect cash to make these purchases as well as building posts and munitions factories and garrisons for your troops.
The twist in the tale of R.U.S.E. is in the title, as unlike other games in the genre there is an element of subterfuge and deception that allows the player to use their wits to listen in to enemy troop movements and orders by utilising their ‘RUSE‘ ability from the menu. Listening in to the enemy movements is not the only advantage that the player can benefit from, as with a little practice and ingenuity it is possible to construct a total blindside surprise attack by putting together various elements that are available to you from the RUSE menu once you progress far enough into the campaign. Unlike most games that attempt to bring in a gimmick to give it some kind of individualism from its competitors, RUSE manages to pull it off with relative ease and the deceptive nature of the bonus works very well.
The next thing that works very well in the title that most certainly is not a gimmick is the excellent use of the Playstation Move controller by the development teams at Ubisoft. Where players can have a great game on either of the Xbox360 or Playstation 3 consoles using the standard controller of their system of choice, it is when the game is put into practice using the new peripheral that the game really opens up and you feel you get the best experience. A point that was not lost on us was when we were pulling in and out of the action, using the Move controller to great effect, was just how much smoother the camera movements were in Ubisoft’s excellent title. Being able to zoom right in to ground level to command individual infantry units , and then whoosh right out to then take control of an entire armoured division at the mere flick of the wrist was a sublime act that allowed us to fully take advantage of the excellent and smooth gameplay that Ubisoft have embedded into every line of the games coding.The area that has probably benefitted most from the titles use of the motion controller is the games online modes that see the gamer being able to keep up with the constant RUSE‘s being placed and the incessant attacks from enemy troops and armoured units.
All in all RUSE has shown that the PC is no longer the home of great RTS gaming, and that Ubisoft have added yet another string to their already well tuned fiddle. A really great gaming experience that see’s huge sprawling battlegrounds being brought to life with such beauty and attention to detail no matter what angle you view the map from. The gameplay is highly enjoyable and the online mode only serves to add longevity to an already immensely playable title.
Graphics: It is unlikely that you will have played an RTS that features the Second World War depicted with such clarity or painstaking attention to detail. The ability to zoom in and out at will, and with incredible ease thanks to the Move controller, will have you marvelling first at the detail as you study up close the features and of the game in close quarters, and then in amazement at the sheer scale of the combat zones and battlegrounds that lay before you. 9
Gameplay: Absolutely rock solid and making even the mouse look like a tired member of the has-been brigade by utilising the very latest motion control from Sony. Top notch in its single player campaign and the online modes have to be played to be believed. 8
RePlay Value: With the single player giving console gamers the RTS experience that they have been crying out gor,it is doubtful that such a landmark title, that has a storyline this involving and compelling will not be returned to be enjoyed time and again. 8
Presentation: When all is said and done what Ubisoft have managed to do is create the first Real Time Strategy game that allows the console gamer to experience what he/she has been missing out on for all of these years. The addition of the Playstation Move has allowed Ubisoft to create the first genuine challenger to the PC‘s claim to the king of the RTS genre throne. Fantastic! 9