Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is the second Advance Wars game for the Nintendo DS. Developed by Intelligent Systems, it is a turn-based strategy game that takes place in a fictional world separate from previous Nintendo Wars titles and features a darker storyline in which the countries of Rubinelle and Lazuria are fighting for control over what is left of their world after meteor strikes decimate the global population. Captain Brenner's 12th Batallion, or 'Brenner's Wolves,' are caught in the middle of a corrupt tug-of-war for power. The main character, Will, who is only a young cadet, must make sense of this chaos and figure out what kind of person he really is.
The game features a different art style and a brand new, darker story with new factions:
- Rubinelle 12th Battalion (Red)
- Lazurian Army (Blue)
- New Rubinelle Army (Yellow)
- Intelligent Defense Systems (Black)
As with the previous versions, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin comes packed with multiplayer features. You can play with up to 4 people on only one Nintendo DS console, or you can use the wireless connection to play with others around you. You have full control over the rules of war and how battle will take place. The game also comes with a map editor; this dramatically increases the lasting appeal of this game with the multiplayer experience. The game also features full online play through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, while developed by Intelligent Systems like previous installments in the franchise, was first released in North America and Europe in 2008. While a Japanese release was also intended, complications pushed the release back until it was eventually cancelled. However, in 2013, Nintendo announced that Days of Ruin will be a special Club Nintendo reward for Japanese 3DS owners. Available as a digital download, it will mark both the first time that Days of Ruin will be available for the Japanese market and also be the first Nintendo DS game made available for the 3DS in a digital capacity.
Like previous Advance Wars games, players perform turn-based military combat on a square grid. Infantry, the cheapest and weakest units, may capture properties that generate funds. These can be spent on new units or repairing existing ones. Direct combat (melee) units may move and fire on the same turn, but may take counterattack damage. Indirect combat units may fire safely at range but typically cannot counterattack or move and fire simultaneously.
Each square on the battlefield has a different terrain type, each of which provide units stationed on them varying levels of defence. In general, however, protective ground is more difficult to cross, reflected in increased movement costs for those tiles. Units have mobility types that determine how terrain effects movement; treaded units (tanks, etc.) navigate rough terrain more easily than those with tires (SAMs, recon), while air units can cross any tile equally well.
Unit weapons are classed into primary weapons, which take ammunition to fire, and secondary weapons that have unlimited ammo. Weapons may only be used on certain unit types: tanks can use their cannon against vehicles, but must use their machine guns if against infantry or helicopters. Units also use fuel when moving, with air and naval units additionally consuming fuel at the start of their turn and being destroyed if they run out, rather than just becoming immobilized.
Fog of war returns, but with slight differences. Captured properties generate vision of range 2 around them, and are now also hiding spaces in fog of war. Units now provide vision for all spaces they pass through instead of just their current space (a unit passing next to a line of forests will provide vision to to all those tiles when it completes its turn). Weather types also return from Dual Strike, but their effects are slightly different:
- Rain: All units' vision reduced to 1, and captured properties no longer provide outside vision.
- Snow: All units have mobility reduced by 1.
- Sandstorm: All attacks and counterattacks have damage reduced by 30%.
New units introduced in Days or Ruin are:
- Bike: Infantry units with high movement range. More mobile than Infantry on open terrain but, having the new "Tire B" movement type, they cannot cross mountains/rivers and have increased movement penalties on forests, wasteland, and beaches.
- Duster: Air units that can fire on both ground and air units with a machine gun. These are cheaper and more versatile than Fighters or Bombers, but not as powerful.
- Gunboat: Ships that can fire on other naval units. They can also carry one infantry or mech unit at a time. After each successful attack or counter attack, they have to resupply since these units only carry one ammo at a time.
- Flare: In a fog of war match, these units can fire flares (up to range 5) to uncover hidden tiles within a radius of 2. These are also capable against infantry and light vehicles such as AA guns and Recons.
- Anti-Tank: These units are powerful against tanks and are the only ranged unit that can also engage in direct combat. Powerful and durable but also expensive and with limited movement.
- Seaplane: Air units that can attack every type of unit on the battlefield. They are produced on carriers. Their limited ammo and fuel means they must be supplied constantly.
These returning units have been changed from previous games:
- APC: Now called a Rig. In addition to supply and transport duties, it can now build Temporary Airports on Plains tiles and Temporary Ports on Beach tiles that can repair (but not produce) air and sea units respectively.
- Battleship: Range reduced from (2-6) to (3-5), but gained the ability to move and fire in the same turn; it is the only indirect combat unit in the game with this ability.
- Carrier: Ranged SAM removed in favor of a weaker AA gun. In exchange, it can now produce seaplanes, repair air units in addition to supplying them, and launch its aircraft so they can move and fire immediately upon unloading.
Days of Ruin introduces sweeping changes to the CO system from previous games in the series. COs no longer provide global buffs and debuffs to units depending on type. Instead, COs must be loaded onto a unit (at price of half that unit's cost). They then provide benefits to units within a local radius, the "CO Zone". The CO meter also only charges when units inside the CO Zone deal damage, as opposed to previous games where any units taking or dealing damage would fill the CO meter.
The idea behind these changes was that the previous universe and gameplay were getting too out of hand, and they wanted to take a step back and make the gameplay more balanced.
Some features from Dual Strike removed for this game:
- Dual screen matches
- Purchasing new maps and options
- CO tag powers and super powers
- Survival and Combat modes
- A hard difficulty setting for the campaign
- CO's no longer gain xp and skills (perks)
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin comes packed with multiplayer features. You can play with up to 4 people on just one Nintendo DS console, or you can use the wireless connection to play with others around you. This is also the first Advance Wars game to make use of Wi-Fi, and you can play games or download other users' maps over the internet through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. You can play either with random opponents close to your rank, or take part in a friend match via the use of friend codes. During random matches the maps are chosen randomly but with a friend all the options are available, including voice chat, through the DS integrated microphone. There is a map editor that allows full multiplayer maps to be made and can hold up to 50 custom maps.
Medals and Records
The game keeps records of almost everything the player does, from the number of direct attacks, indirect attacks, moves, how many of each unit are made or destroyed; the list goes on. For achieving certain milestones in these categories of stats, the game will award you medals. They have no value except that they show up on your records section.
Much of humanity has been wiped out after a meteor strike destroys most of the cities on earth. To make things worse, the dust from the meteors' impact is also blocking the sun, making life for the survivors even more difficult. It is in this backdrop that the story begins.
The game starts with a young survivor named Will escaping his destroyed academy only to be attacked by a group of rogue soldiers lead by a man called The Beast. Things look bleak for Will when the 12th Battalion of the Rubinelle army, led by Captain Brenner and Lin, show up and rescue him. Will learns that they are called Brenner's Wolves, a group that is still loyal to Rubinelle and is looking for as many survivors as they can. Will is inspired by the ideals and bravery of Captain Brenner and looks up to him as a mentor. As they are looking for survivors while fighting off The Beast's army of ex-soldiers they discover a young girl in the rubble who has forgotten everything about her past. She instantly bonds with Will, who names her Isabella, and joins the group where they learn that there is more to her than they had realized. This is because she somehow has detailed knowledge about military secrets and information even though she doesn't know how or where it is comes from. The first part of the story ends with the defeat The Beast and relief for the villages that he was terrorizing.
A year goes by when Brenner's Wolves meet up with a new faction called the New Rubinelle Army lead by General Greyfield. They learn that they are currently fighting the Lazurian aermy, who were enemies of Rubinelle before the meteor strike occurred. Brenner is suprised that they are still fighting given the conditions but is told that the Lazurians attacked them first and so they are defending themselves. Thus, being the dutiful soldier that he is, Brenner helps the New Rubinelle Army by helping them defeat the the Lazurian Leader, Forysthe. Brenner had made a deal with Forysthe that if he surrendered, his soldiers would not be harmed but Greyfield would have none of this. He shot Forysthe even after he had surrendered and ordered all the Lazurians to be executed. Brenner was disgusted by the lack of honour that Greyfield possessed, and in wanting to keep his world to Forysthe he decides to help the Lazurian captives escape. He stays behind to buy them time while they escape. Greyfield, angry at Brenner's betrayal and wanting to make an example of him, uses a weapon that was given to him by a mysterious man named Caulder. Caulder claimed that the weapon would vapourize everything in a certain range and in his anger Greyfield orders it used on the area in which they think Brenner is hiding. The weapons causes the not only the death of Brenner but even Greyfield's own soldiers that were ordered to go after Brenner and kill him. With Brenner's death, Will is made the commander and they decide to flee from Greyfield's army since they cannot match them. It is at this time there is word of a virus that is spreading across the land called the Creeper, which turns people into plants and kills them. After a series of many battles, they finally face off against Greyfield. The Rubinelle Army under Lin's command defeats Greyfield and she executes him in cold blood to avenge Brenner's death.