reviewed on NDS
Bright and cheery?
The name Advance Wars has become synonymous with excellent strategy gaming. Deep and rewarding, gamers flock to each new entry. The latest in the franchise, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, introduces a paradigm shift that makes it the best yet..
To Advance Wars purists, one thing will be glaring from the get-go as there is a significant change of art style. In the past, a bright and cheerful atmosphere was the norm. To most eyes this was no reason to complaint. To me the former style was a little unsettling, seeing as war isn't supposed to be peppy. Happy-go-lucky characters, cheerful music... Advance Wars didn't really portray war accurately. Advance Wars: Dual Strike's box art was the straw that broke the camel's back, stating "War was never this much fun!" War isn't supposed to be fun... war is cold, cruel, and bloody.
Ruinous days indeed
Days of Ruin makes amends with its gritty art style and grunge-style rock music. The background setting tells a post-apocalyptic tale where more than 90% of mankind has been killed off in a disastrous meteor strike. Due to this collision, dust has blotted out the sun and the world becomes enveloped in darkness. The remaining civilians band together to form small towns.
The military wasn't entirely wiped out though, but instead of helping each other, they are divided. One group preys on the remaining population while the other tries to protect it. If the plot sounds generic, fret not, things get complicated quickly. Old rivalries are renewed, and shady organizations are established, hurling the world into a hate-filled void. As can be seen, the game is much more moody and darker than past installments.
The plot goes hand-in-hand with each mission. The story advances with ever level and the gameplay has hardly changed and, as a result, is just as good as ever. The standard tactical warfare is essentially the same, except for a few subtle changes. To begin with, a few new units are making their debut. The Anti-Tank works great against tanks, the rather weak Gunboat that can carry one soldier, the versatile Duster aircraft that attacks both land and air units, the War Tank that replaces the Megatank, and the Bike that offers the same power as foot soldiers but has a much better range. These new units don't serve as a drastic change from the regular, but they do add a little more strategy to the mix. Sadly, not all the new changes are great. Gamers familiar with Dual Strike will be disappointed to learn that the Neo Tank, Piperunner, Black Boat, Stealth Bomber, and Black Bomb are all gone. Faux pas move, Intelligent Systems.
No Pros and Cons at this time