Infendo Reader Review – Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin

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[Infendo Forums reader, ejamer, decided to hold a contest of his own in which Forum fans would write a game review. The winner, Alucard, nabbed some Wii Points. We’ll be sure to let everyone know when there’s another contest going on in the Forums. Here is the winning review for Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin for Nintendo DS.]

Brief Summary on the series:

Advance Wars is a series that originally started on the Famicom gaming system in Japan, developed by Intelligent Systems. Intelligent Systems was made up of people from Nintendo Research & Development 1 division lead by Gunpei Yokoi until they splintered into their own development teams. Famicom Wars, known as Advance Wars in America, is a turn based tactical game (Similar to Fire Emblem) where you control many different units and use them to conquer a map full of enemies. The first game to reach the United States was Advance Wars for the Game Boy Advance. This game along with Advance Wars 2, were the only games in the series that were not released in Japan when they first came out. It wasn’t until 3 years after the original release in the U.S.A that they were released in a compilation pack for the GBA.

The Advance Wars series is usually full of a comical and a brightly colored cast of characters. The original Advance Wars featured a Pseudo/Superfluous-Anime look that doesn’t look serious at all, which can be seen below. Each Advance War game has a group of CO’s, Commanding Officers, which usually drive more slapstick comedy lines than you would expect in a military tactical war game. This type of action followed all the way up to the first Nintendo DS iteration of the series, and were never really a disappointment to my sense of humor.

Brief Summary of Story:

The story in Days of Ruin is not like any other Advance War game to date, of course it still has the tactical turn base war design, but it has a more serious and darker story then the previous games. This game focus’s more on the dark side of war, and the entire story surrounds the post apocalyptic events that cause a dramatic change in the way of life. The post apocalyptic even being meteors crashing into the earth destroying most if not all of the civilizations on the planet, leaving nothing but strife, and chaos.

The game starts out with a young man named Will, a cadet of the Rubinelle military academy who seems to be the only survivor of his academy. He is searching for people in a world scared from the meteors, and begins to try and use his radio to call out for people. He is soon discovered by a group of ex-soldiers, Scavenging on the weak for food and supplies. These scavengers call themselves the beast, and quickly try to take out Will, the lone cadet. All seems lost until a small group of survivors, Captain Brenner, Lin, and his troops come to your aid.

Now safe from the lawless ex-soldiers, Brenner talks with Will about where he came from and the situation in the world is in. Brenner wants to bring the World back to its former self along with helping any survivors they can find, and is dedicated to helping as many survivors as he can while they struggle to get by themselves. Brenner, along with his second in command Lin, recruit Will to help with rescuing survivors and restore order and law to the now lawless world. Though, this may be how the game starts, soon more sinister evil events and unimaginable good come out of the most odd situations unveiling an interesting and intriguing story.

Game Changes:

Just like the previous Advance Wars, and similar to the fire emblem series, the game revolves around moving units around a map to either defeat the enemy units, or to capture a base. Each unit has a unique strength against some units, and is weak against others. Making it a somewhat complex game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. New to this Advance Wars game is the ability to have units level up during battles, which increases the power of the units, and can make for some complex and difficult fights. Units increase their level once for each enemy unit that they destroy. The level of each unit is identified as I, II, or Vet, with Vet being the highest level.

Changes made to this game include some changes to the unit prices. They have been readjusted and several units renamed, as well as many new ones introduced. New land units include the Bike, Flare a new tank-like unit, the Anti-Tank, the War Tank. Along with some new sea, and air units as well, the Gunboat, the Seaplane, and the Duster.

Game Play:

Advance Wars is a collection of Missions (Chapters) and battles one after another. Usually you have a mission to complete each time you go into a battle, either there is a special circumstance, or its straight-forward destroy the other team, or capture their base. A special circumstance mission for example would be Protect a certain area/unit until back up arrives.

The game play is pretty straight forward too, you select a unit so an area of movement map shows up. You can then move the unit to the the limitations of that map, if you move next to or over an enemy unit with yours you can have the option to attack that unit. Hovering over the enemy unit and selecting to attack it will give you a percent damage rating, letting you know how your unit would face up against that unit. Sometimes you don’t even have to be that close to an enemy unit to attack, since some units have ranged weapons/missiles they can use.

Along with the normal game play you have the option to stop in the middle of any mission you play, to read tutorials by pressing A on a vacant piece of map. If your unsure about anything your doing this is a pretty decent reference to how things work in Advance Wars. Early in the game your tutorials list is short, because you only know what you learn from Brenner since your a cadet, but as the game progresses and you learn about new techniques and game play mechanics you can easily reference them from there.

Along with the tutorial selection, there is Mission Info, which well gives you info about your current mission. Mission info lists 5 Options.

Tactics: Selecting this option brings you into a tent with another CO, and they give you advice on the map and what to do to win the battle. Occasionally depending on the circumstances you will sometimes find the opposing teams CO in the tent, and they give you advice but its really rare.

Terms: This lets you know what you have to do to win the battle your in. Usually its very direct, Victory: Wipe out all enemy units. Defeat: Lose all your units.

Status: This brings up a simple chart that lets you know how many units you and your enemy has, along with how many destroyed and bases captured.

Chart: Lists all your units, along with their current HP, Gas, and Ammunition. Pressing L or R organizes them depending on Unit, HP, Gas, and Ammunition.

Surrender: Only Losers select this option, if your a loser select it.

Along with that there is also the options menu, where you can change Options on the fly, lowering and increasing both sound and sound effects, turning on and off battle animations, and showing the grid or not.

You can also Quit the game mid battle and return to the main screen

Load quick save data, Save make a quick save during the middle of a battle.

Finally End Turn, which ends your turn.

Graphics:

As I mentioned before the game is very dark and relies heavily on the grayish brown atmosphere and backgrounds, along with the red unit map. Which kinda reminds me of an alien planet in an episode of Dragon Ball Z. Along with the colors most of the up close scenes of your battle units seem blurry and pixelated, not as clear as it could be for a DS game. Even the units look kinda terrible, but you can’t really complain about it that much since Advance Wars is generally a bit graphics game. They also changed the look of the battle scenes, its not as similar to the previous DS game, which featured a slight 3D Mode 7 look on all the units. Days of Ruin, its more over layered sprites.

Also there is only 5 Colors that the game actually uses for the different Armies. Yellow, Red, Blue, and Grayish Black. Along for the neutral territories which are actually a light gray, it really isn’t as colorful as the previous Advance Wars game.

Length:

Advance Wars Days of Ruin is separated into 26 different missions. Along with the missions their is also story scenes that tie the plot together occurring between and during the battles. Along with the normal campaign mode, there is an addition 38 training missions that are unlocked as the game progresses. These training missions are a lot more challenging, are entirely optional. They can be played separately from the campaign, along with that a new feature in Days of Ruin is that campaign missions can now be played individually as the player complete them. Like the training missions, campaign missions can be selected from the main menu at any time.

So you can quickly get your fix on any mission you found to be fun, instead of replaying the game to get to that part or keeping separate saves. Along with the normal missions, their is also Wifi battles, where you can create custom maps. So this game can keep going and going, a long way after you finish the main storyline.

Overall Score: 7.8 / 10

The game is clearly visually nice, music is awesome ranging from some sort of mix of Rock/Techno scores, along with some type of ethnic sounding instruments once in a while. It can be nice to listen to, when doing some tactical missions. The game is almost perfect, in the sense that its a new Advance Wars game. After playing this game for a while and if you are a fan of the series, you might notice that something is missing. It may have just been me, but I felt something was missing from it. Overall. It probably was all those colors, and weird quirks the previous Advance Wars games had. I suggest getting this game if you love Tactical Strategy games, as this game can fuel your desire for a good Wifi DS game for a while.