January 21, 2008 - While North American gamers have been enjoying Advance Wars' rock-paper-scissors approach to turn-based strategy for seven years now, the war has been raging for much longer than that. Going all the way back to Famicom Wars in 1988, the Wars series is one of the longest-running franchises in gaming. Not surprising, then, that it was time to change things up a bit. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin packs the same gameplay you know and love, but you may not recognize it at first glance. The subtitle is appropriate -- this is a much darker game. Once they get over their initial shock, though, fans are likely to fall in love all over again.
If you've been draft-dodging the Advance Wars series all this time, allow me to debrief you (no, I'm not going to take off your pants). Turn-based strategy is the name of the AW game. Players are given command of an army of cute little soldiers and take turns sending them into battle (where many meet their cute little demise). There are ground, air, and naval units, and the real strength of the AW series is that all of these units are extremely well-balanced.
True to its name, our story begins as protagonist Will digs his way out of a disaster and finds the world in ruins. Instead of the happy-go-lucky anime characters of yesterwars, this is a world of savage road warriors terrorizing the wasteland, cowards self-appointed as leaders, and parasitic plants that grow in and on human hosts. Luckily, Will is soon rescued by Captain Brenner and his merry men and the group sets off in search of more survivors.
The drastic mood change Advance Wars has gone through should pay off for Nintendo. Even if you really liked the artistic design and youthful exuberance of previous entries, the gameplay is still as solid as ever. It is compared to rock-paper-scissors because Unit A is strong against Unit B, which is strong against Unit C, which is strong against Unit A. While Days of Ruin starts out on the easy side, later missions will provide quite a challenge. Mercifully, helpful tactical advice specific to your current battle is available from the Mission Info menu.
Popular games in this genre:
1. Halo Wars (X360)
2. StarCraft II Terrans: Wings of Liberty (PC)
3. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (PC)
4. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC)
5. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS)
Popular games on this platform:
1. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS)
2. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
3. The World Ends with You (DS)
4. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS)
5. Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)
ESRB Content Descriptors: Language, Mild Violence
Features: Online via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Multi-card Multiplayer, DS Card Save, Downloadable Content, Mic/Headset Voice Support