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Digital Life: Not so quiet on the Western front

R.U.S.E, PS3/X360 : Not everything is what it seems. The first couple of hours with R.U.S.E. chalk it down as a competent if over-earnest entry in the real-time strategy genre.

The player controls military units from on high while reliving some of the lesser known battles of World War II. Point your tanks at the Jerries and let fly or rout the Krauts with a pincer movement -- that sort of thing.

Graphically, R.U.S.E. does a convincing impression of a table-top wargame, enabling you to swoop around the battlefield like an armchair general. If you've got the PlayStation Move Controller, you can waggle and point your units to victory but it's so awkwardly imprecise you'll soon revert to the standard controller.

Just as you're about to dismiss R.U.S.E. as a laudable but sterile experience, it takes an intriguing left turn with the introduction of dirty tricks. You can plant spies behind enemy lines or intercept their transmissions. Maybe you'd prefer a sneak attack under radio silence or to trap your opponent with decoy units.

The tricks open up a different dimension to the wargame, particularly in multiplayer, turning R.U.S.E. from an also-ran to a feisty innovator.

Rating: 8/10

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, PS3/X360

What could be better than a new Spidey game? Why, four of them in one, of course. Shattered Dimensions turns its back on the open-world antics of previous outings, in favour of a linear adventure across multiple alternate realities.

The time-travelling antics mean Spidey flits through four dimensions, including retro, modern-day and futuristic, each with differing powers.

Despite distinctive styles, the worlds play out a little too similarly. But Shattered Dimensions packs a heap of web-slinging entertainment.

Patience is the watchword for this prequel to the 2002 fusion of Disney's characters with the darker worlds of Final Fantasy.

If you don't get bored with watching the interminable and stilted cut-scenes, you may lose the will to live waiting for the PSP to slowly load each a new chunk of level every couple of minutes.

Persevere and you may be captivated by a deep and lengthy RPG -- but it's a big ask.

Rating: 7.5/10

Irish Independent