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Mind Games of a Tactical Kind: R.U.S.E.

On its surface, R.U.S.E. doesn’t look to be any different from the usual RTS.

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Mind Games of a Tactical Kind: R.U.S.E.

Over the past couple of years, an interesting trend has taken over the real-time strategy genre. As more RTS games have come out, the genre has gotten, well, faster. What was once a genre that relied on thoughtful tactical precision evolved—or devolved, depending on who you ask—into memorizing the fastest build orders and knowing idiosyncrasies of individual units. So as more genres started to emulate popular games like the Halo or God of War series that revolved around the philosophy of constant action with constant reward, the RTS genre followed suit with games that focused on a more action-based experience. In turn, these slower, yet more tactical, focused experiences that put more emphasis on thoughtful strategy than on how efficient one could create an army were being phased out. While this reason alone would make Eugene System’s R.U.S.E. standout from the glut of other RTS’s, it’s the game’s specific mechanics that’s so memorable.

On its surface, R.U.S.E. doesn’t look to be any different from the usual RTS. Set during WWII and initially presenting itself as a very simplistic RTS with a generic rock-paper-scissors mechanic, the game doesn’t do itself any favors early on. But after the initial hour or two of mundane gameplay, the game starts to become more intriguing with the introduction of the Ruse Card System. The card system works by presenting the player with an intelligence or a counter-intelligence advantage depending on what cards you play. These advantages range from temporarily revealing your enemies orders (Decryption) to creating decoy structures (Decoy Structure) to hiding your troop positions (Radio Silence). Cards within the game can also act as temporary stat bonuses, like the Blitzkrieg card that speeds up your troop movement and supply vehicles. While the card system sounds more like a gimmick in theory, it’s in actual practice where you see its value.

Even though the game still plays like a traditional RTS, the mind-game aspect of whether something is real or not slows down the game into a more tactical full-scale war. Unlike games like Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, where speed and efficiency wins matches, winning a battle in R.U.S.E. requires patience and precision. A well-timed strike with a handful of units and effective use of Ruse Cards is usually the formula for success.

What initially starts as a traditional RTS quickly evolves into a tactical mind game making players on both sides question various incidents on the battlefield. In such moments, R.U.S.E. becomes a truly unique experience. The feeling of sending an army of tanks to an opponent’s stronghold only to be revealed as decoys for your aerial attack is a satisfying experience games like Starcraft II have had a hard time emulating. Yet the game mechanics are only half of R.U.S.E.’s winning formula.

The feeling of a large-scale tactical mind game is supported quite nicely by the game’s fields of view. The perspective in which R.U.S.E. presents the player is impressive from both a technical and gameplay standpoint. When the camera is zoomed all the way in, the game looks as if you are hovering right over the battlefield hearing the various explosions and orders being screamed by various units. When the camera is zoomed all the way out, however, the game’s aesthetic greatly changes from a chaotic warzone to a war-room setting with a map of the battlefield laid out on a desk. The game’s various fields of view are not there for technical splendor alone, they also serve as a vital gameplay mechanic. There will be instances where the player needs to be as close to the battlefield as possible (issuing orders, placing structure, etc.) and at other times the player’s best option is to view the battlefield from a table-top level (when unleashing decoys at this view tends to be the most helpful).

From an RTS standpoint, R.U.S.E. may not be the technical wonder as Starcraft II is, but it’s hard not to fall in love with what it’s trying to do. With the unique Ruse Card System and incorporation of various fields of view into its core gameplay, R.U.S.E. presents an alternative formula which the RTS genre should really take notice of.

R.U.S.E. Publisher: Ubisoft. Developer: Eugen Systems. Release Date: September 7, 2010. Platform: PC. ESRB: Teen. ESRB Descriptors: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Use of Tobacco. To purchase, click here.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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