Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, is a turn-based tactics game released for the Nintendo DS and 3DS January of 2008.
Developed by Intelligent Systems (the minds behind such acclaimed titles as the Fire Emblem and Paper Mario series), Days of Ruin has stood as the most recent edition to the Wars series for the past seven years.
Bringing forth the same well-balanced and multilayered tactical gameplay that longtime fans have come to expect from the Wars series, Days of Ruin repaints the franchise with a fresh new coat of both story and presentation.
The alternative style illustrates the developer’s desire to make the game stand out from previous entries into the series and makes the game feel fresh to old-time fans without sacrificing gameplay.
Players are placed in control of a small band of soldiers as they travel through the post-apocalyptic remains of their society in search of survivors and a safe place to live.
During their search, the soldiers will be tasked with overcoming not only the lack of supplies that comes with living in a newly formed wasteland, but also other such obstacles including but not limited to: raiders, uncooperative civilians, incurable diseases, mad scientists, a war that not even an apocalypse could end, and a painfully annoying mayor.
On the whole, Days of Ruin presents gamers with a well-executed plotline that inspires some thought provoking conflicts and interesting themes.
The serious and largely no-nonsense tone of the game is accompanied by updated graphics and set pieces meant to add to the credibility of the narrative.
Compared to the cartoonish style of the previous entries in the series, the dark and gritty imagery presented in Days of Ruin clearly illustrates the intense shift in atmosphere from its predecessors.
During the course of the campaign alone, players will battle on more than fifty unique maps, each boasting its own set of terrain and building placements to spice up the encounter.
The character models are no less varied. Each addition to the cast is memorable in both appearance and personality.
Realism is the name of the game when it comes to describing the intent behind Intelligent System’s character designs and the hand drawn aesthetics hold up well even with the game’s seven years of age.
Fans of the Wars series will be intimately familiar with the style of gameplay showcased in Days of Ruin. Despite the massive changes made to the narrative style, Intelligent Systems left all of the old game mechanics intact.
While the game’s campaign does do a good job of easing the player into each facet of combat by introducing them for the first time in separate, isolated environments that are often easy to handle, players that move on without firmly grasping key concepts will find later missions to be near impossible to complete.
With its complex, well-polished gameplay and strong narrative, Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin is a must buy for anyone even mildly interested in the turn-based strategy genre.
Even for gamers not interested in the genre, the well-executed plotline and character interactions make this game a great introduction to the genre or distraction from other more played genres.
For the latest, but hopefully not the last, game in the Wars series, it is nice to see a developer like Intelligent Systems mix up their tried-and-true formula to give their fans a new experience, while also maintaining the integrity of the gameplay.