A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that R.U.S.E. is a WWII combat game, but that it is not as intense as more graphic and realistic modern-day military shooters, such as games in the popular Call of Duty franchise. Players can command an army to destroy enemy units and buildings -- mostly from a top-down "eagle eye" view of the action. There is some mild profanity and support for open online communication. Parents may also be interested to know that one of the game's primary tactics, both in the campaign and against human opponents, is strategic deceit.
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What's it about?
Spearheaded by this summer's StarCraft II from Blizzard Entertainment, which sold more than 3 million copies its first month, real-time strategy (RTS) games might be poised for a comeback. You may be more inclined to agree after booting up Ubisoft's R.U.S.E., an ambitious but successful war game available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Along with some mechanics fans of the genre will find familiar -- such as dragging and dropping units on a map and researching new technologies -- the game introduces techniques such as undercover spies, troop camouflage, decoy units, data encryption, radio silence, and so on.
Is it any good?
R.U.S.E. is very good. In addition to several solo campaigns in which players must utilize both conventional RTS gameplay elements and R.U.S.E.'s unique "deception" strategies, there are also head-to-head and co-op modes, in which one's enemies are less predictable and potentially more challenging than the game's artificial intelligence.
The pace is slower than many other RTS titles, but players should enjoy the WWII backdrop and the cutting-edge graphics that let you zoom in from a bird's eye view right down to the level of individual soldiers on the front lines. R.U.S.E. is a great pick for those looking for a deeper war game that requires some brains as well as brawn.
Online interaction: The game offers multiplayer support for all three versions of the game. Players can meet in a central lobby and then launch a game (up to four players in total). It's possible to voice chat in all versions of the game. Common Sense Media does not recommend moderation-free online communication for pre-teens. We suggest using the parental controls built into game consoles to disable online communication features.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether a war game can be educational by teaching players strategy, resource management, and psychology. Can a game like this actually sharpen one's brain? Is it more beneficial than, say, vegging out in front of the television? Or do games like this simply trivialize violence and desensitize players to its horrors?
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