Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
I’ve never been a fan of the Advance Wars franchise. I did play a bit of the first and second game, Black Hole Rising, but I can’t say I overly enjoyed it. I’ve always been a Fire Emblem type of guy. After picking up Days of Ruin, I can still say I prefer Fire Emblem, but Advance Wars’ gameplay is deeper and more advanced, no pun intended.
The game’s story revolves around a group of soldiers who survived the end of the world, a meteor storm and natural disasters. They, the 13th Battalion or Brenner’s Wolves, are going around in search of survivors. The game starts out with one of the protagonists, Will, calling out for someone. But instead of help, he is confronted with the games first antagonist: the Beast. Will is saved by the two other protagonists, Brenner and Lin. From then on, Will joins up with them in search of survivors.
The plot is much more compelling then the other games in the series. It does get deeper as you move along, as one would hope for.
The meat of Days of Ruin though, is its gameplay. It has to be the sleekest strategy game I’ve ever played. Its minimized menus and confirmations, now to attack something you simply select a unit and draw its movement path onto another enemy unit, this will make said unit move and attack, without you having to make a bunch of confirmations. It’s a real amazing and sleek system, and it works very well.
The game adds a level-up system of sorts to the franchise. Every time a unit destroys another unit, it will level-up. Units go from neutral to I, then II, then Vet. When a commanding officer is injected into a unit, it is leveled-up straight to Ace, the equivalent of Vet.
Let’s talk about commanding officers. They are executed quite differently now. You can still have them sit back in your base and use their power when needed, but you can also eject them into a unit. This gives said unit an area around them called a ‘CO zone’ which grants units within it a boost of some sort. The CO zone grows as the CO’s power bar is filled up.
One thing that separates the Advance Wars and Fire Emblem games is the strategy element. Fire Emblem is all about leveling-up the right units, getting good equipment, and regulating experience points. Now, Advance Wars is more about raw strategy; unit positioning, choosing the right units, when to use your CO power. From my own experiences, I find Advance Wars’ strategy to be more compelling.
In all, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is one great game. It’s a DS masterpiece, a really good strategy game. Everyone should pick it up. Absolutely everyone, franchise veterans and newcomers a like.