First things first, despite a fairly intelligent TV advert spot, RUSE isn't the big strategy blockbuster that some may have been hoping for, in many ways the game is a simplistic one relying on rock-paper-scissor mechanics for it's gameplay.
However, in this case the simplistic nature becomes a strength in the game, by relying on well travelled basic RTS structures, RUSE is able to create a game that is very pick-up and play, with easy to grasp nuances. Easy to grasp, difficult to master, a range of subtle touches combine to give the player a wide range of tactical options he can use to become victorious. In the game, you have multiple construction options to choose from, Infantry, Tanks, Anti-Tank, Artillery & AA, Air power and Experimental, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses, most of which are obvious (it might not for instance, be immiediately apparent that Artillery and Bombers do little damage against tanks, or that Infantry actually do phoenominal damage to vehicles in close range if they can strike from hidden positions such as woods or from cities). Each Nation also comes with it's own strengths and weaknesses to consider as well, Nazi Germany can do everything for a price, USA can do everything badly, UK is all about the air-power, Italy has it's cheap tanks, Russia has it's big red historically accurate PRESS THIS TO SPAM T-34s button, and France...
Well. The inclusion of France was sort of a suprise to a lot of us who were involved with Steam ran Beta. The fact that France were probably one of the stronger factions in a game made by Frenchmen was less suprising however. Nevertheless they're hardly as overpowered as they used to be (Lafferlies used to do more damage than the Marders that IRL Germany converted them into back in the Beta.) and it's unsusual to see France get a mention in a WW2 game, let alone a full faction.
Recent DLC finally added the much overlooked Japanese faction into the game, who transpired to actually be a highly useful swiss-army knife faction with various tools for various styles of play, well worth the £6 steam charged me for.
But onto the real meat of the game: The titular RUSES. Each player is alloted a use of one of his RUSES per a set amount of time, these RUSES run a highly interesting Gamut, from the creation of fake decoy structures, hiding your units or buildings, spies to reveal hidden units, increase your speed, reduce enemy morale or improve your own and the highly useful decoy army trick. The Ruses really do add a whole new interesting element to the gameplay, and it's this that really turns this game from an average RTS into an above average one.
All of this combines to make an engaging RTS that is both complex but simple to grasp at the same time, providing options to the player beyond just building up to your unit cap and pressing attack-move all the time (yes DoW2 Retribution, I *AM* talking about you.) and creates a style of play where battlefield intelligence becomes just as much a vital resource as those your supply trucks are holding. Given that right now Amazon is selling this game for £10 or less, this game is well worth value for money, and if you like RTS but have become tired of predictable gameplay that rewards twitch gaming rather than any strategic or tactical sense then this definately a title you shouldn't pass up.