Review by Crazyreyn
"War! What is it good for? Less than before."
What do you do when the world is devastated by meteorites? Band together the survivors and work toward resurrecting civilization? Nope - you keep on fighting, duh! The game has a crack at this untested scenario in the latest iteration of the Advance Wars series. Gone are the cute and cuddly tanks that would not look out of place at a kids birthday party; missing, presumed dead are the old COs (not Andy! I hear you scream in terror) and in its place is a bleak and barren world, effectively brought across in stylish dark visuals and a plot that is surprisingly engaging for a strategy title.
Despite a new lick of paint and broodish undertones, under the hood the game is essentially the same. The rock-paper-scissors strategy gameplay is still as effective as it was before, revamped with a few new units and ground types. Highlights include those that can create temporary ports and units from within themselves, ruined cities to run amok in and plasma fields generated by felled meteorites to avoid. When push comes to shove (or when tank rolls over corpse, a more fitting analogy) the gameplay is nothing new - but if it isn't broke, why fix it?
In terms of features, the game is streamlined to fit the new aesthetic. CO powers are downplayed and more realistic' they now appear on the field and give stat benefits to surrounding units instead of turning the tide of the war with a random snowstorm. Disappointingly, the Shop and Battle Room are removed (remember that war is no longer fun!) although the Map Editor still exists in all its creative glory. Online play is inevitably added and works incredibly well and adds unquantifiable amounts of replay value despite the single player shortcomings. Although the campaign is not on the weighty side, certain missions will completely punish you, and there are additional side battles to partake in if you so please. Oh, and did I mention that music is quite simply awesome?
Days of Ruin is good, very good, and gives fans of the series plenty to mull over, especially with the online play. If you were undecided by earlier editions then this game will not change your opinion of the series. There is nothing wrong with this game, and while it does enough to warrant a playthrough, it is not the evolution in the series that you might have been hoping for.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/08
Game Release: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (US, 01/21/08)
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