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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The latest and greatest Advance Wars
Being a veteran of the 3 prior games (Advance Wars 1 & 2 for the GBA and Dual Strike for the DS), my expectations are very high for the latest title in this fantastic strategy franchise. I'm happy to report that this Advance Wars satisfies most of those expectations. The addition of several new units adds even more depth to an already deep gaming experience. Surprisingly,...
Published on January 24, 2008 by Ronald Ian Bantayan

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid game that tries new things, but falls short of expectations

Firstly, I'd like to say that I'm a big advance wars fan, and I was really looking forward to this game. I give the game's developers credit for trying new things in DoR and trying to take the game in a new direction. Some things that are great additions to the series...
Published on April 8, 2008 by Audasis

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The latest and greatest Advance Wars, January 24, 2008
Ronald Ian Bantayan (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Being a veteran of the 3 prior games (Advance Wars 1 & 2 for the GBA and Dual Strike for the DS), my expectations are very high for the latest title in this fantastic strategy franchise. I'm happy to report that this Advance Wars satisfies most of those expectations. The addition of several new units adds even more depth to an already deep gaming experience. Surprisingly, a few units were taken out as well to keep things pure and simple, and I applaud the developer's brave decision which ultimately is for the best.

A new take on war gives this game a fresh feeling, although feeling familiar at the same time. It sheds it's cutesy, almost comical approach to war, for a more serious and rugged post-apocalyptic setting.

The addition of the CO system adds an exciting new layer to the already deep gameplay. This time around you can actually have a CO out in the field in the fray with your army. The dynamics of boosting your CO bar in order to use your CO power have been modified dramatically.

The online portion is also fleshed out: you can battle with others online, and you can upload and download maps from Nintendo WiFi Connection to keep the gameplay experience fresh through the addition of new maps. Voice chat through VOIP is also present, but you can only do this with people in your friends list, so don't expect Halo-like trash talk fests. :)

The only drawback is the lack of unlockables (which to me was icing on the Advance Wars cake). Overall this is a worthy addition to a very high Advance Wars pedigree, and a title that's worth adding to your videogame library. 5 stars.


*Addendum*: So far I have clocked in 51 hours into this game, and I see no end in sight. I am completely hooked, even more so than the three previous games combined. I find myself downloading recommended maps every day and creating new ones every few days while whistling Gage's and Brenner's BGM. This is truly the best Advance Wars yet.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, January 28, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Proving that change can be quite good, Nintendo's long running portable turn-based strategy series Advance Wars gets a fresh coat of paint with Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Taking a more mature themed storyline, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin still features pretty much the same tried and true gameplay that fans of the series will come to expect and will be quite easy for them to pick up and play. Besides a more mature themed storyline, Days of Ruin also features a more comic-style artistic design scheme and a less cartoony feel to it as well, making it a pleasure to look at as well as play. Sadly, the Shop that was in previous installments of the series has been done away with, but what we get instead is some spectacular multiplayer and Wi-Fi options that only up the replay value even more so than ever before. The single player mode, which has been shortened when compared to Dual Strike, is still great as well, but the multiplayer options are where the most fun is to be had. While there's really nothing new in terms of the overall gameplay mechanics of Advance Wars, Days of Ruin remains a spectacular strategy game that delivers on all fronts. All in all, fans of the Advance Wars series will should cry with joy once they pop in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, which is undoubtedly one of the best installments in the series, and one of the best strategy games and multiplayer experiences you'll have on your DS.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding War Strategy, January 23, 2008
Roger Green (Fargo, ND United States) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Days of Ruin is the second Advance Wars title released for the DS, the first being the now hard-to-find Advance Wars: Dual Strike. With over 120 hours logged on the first game, Dual Strike provided excellent entertainment for under 25 cents per hour. Based on my first 5 hours on this new release, I'm sure I'll get the same value out of Days of Ruin. One can easily spend over 100 hours completing every map, mission, and rank in the game.

Days of Ruin is functionally similar to the original, keeping most everything that made the original so addictive. Still, Days of Ruin departs from previous Advance Wars titles in enough ways to keep the new game fresh. As previously, a campaign mode provides a story-line series of increasingly difficult maps for the one-player gamer. Multi-player modes are also available including a Nintendo Wi-Fi mode that allows you to challenge players around the globe. The artificial intelligence of the computer players is enough to challenge anyone, but the ready availability of human players makes the replay value of this title nearly infinite.

Bottom line:
Outstanding value.
Outstanding fun.
Outstanding replay value.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change of Pace, July 10, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is the latest entry in the Advance Wars franchise. However, unlike the previous three titles (Advance Wars [GBA], AW: Black Hole Rising [GBA], and AW: Dual Strike [DS]) this game is set in a totally different universe. It's a change of pace to be sure; the question is whether this is for the better or worse.

Those familiar with the previous AW titles shouldn't have much trouble getting used to this one. The general play is quite similar: turn-based, capture cities for funds, capture production facilities to make units, commanders with powers, etc. There are, however, many changes to familiar units, plus some units that are entirely new. For example, battleships can move AND attack in this game, and APCs (called 'Rigs' here) can build temporary airports or naval bases that can repair but not produce units. You'll also see a first in the anti-tank unit, an indirect attacker that can actually shoot back if directly attacked. Combat tactics are somewhat different as a result, but nothing that will take a veteran too long to get accustomed to. Additionally, you can zoom the map in, though I haven't found much use for this feature since it's quite easy to see all the icons in regular view mode.

The units, COs, and animations have a more realistic look to them, and the general theme and plot of the game is more grimly realistic than playful. Most of the music is some form of rock/metal type track that sounds like it belongs in Command & Conquer, and the post-apocalyptic setting brings back memories of Mad Max and the likes. Themes are generally more mature, with not-so-funny plot twists and some profanity. In general, it won't take you long to realize that this is no Omega Land, and likely never was.

Probably the most interesting new features in Days of Ruin are the veterancy system and the reworked commanding officers (COs). Units that destroy other units get promoted up to two ranks, and become more powerful as a result (merging units grants the higher veterancy). It's not overpowering, but enough that if you have mostly veteran forces you'll have a substantial advantage. Additionally, COs no longer just hang around the HQ- they can actually take to the field in any unit, deployable one at a time from the HQ or any production facility. The chosen unit is granted immediate maximum veterancy. Additionally, instead of granting their bonuses to all of their units, as in the previous AW games, COs only affect a 'radius' of units around them. For example, Brenner provides a global defense boost to any kind of unit. However, for units to enjoy this boost they must be within 3 tiles of his unit. Additionally, the CO powers do not charge at all if you don't have your CO deployed and in combat, and the power meter will drain to zero if the CO unit is destroyed (you can deploy them again at no penalty if this happens). To top it all, there is no 'super' CO power, no 'tag' as in Dual Strike, and most of the regular CO powers are nowhere near as strong as those enjoyed in previous titles. In short, COs don't play nearly as major a role as they did in the past games. Is this good or bad? That really depends on how much you enjoyed the varied CO abilities and powers in the previous games. If you're one of the folks that preferred tactical play to marshaling stars for a super attack, or thought that some COs were overpowered (bit hard to deny this, even though I loved them), then this is obviously a good change. If your whole reason for playing AW was the COs, then obviously you're not going to like this. Personally, I think I'd be happiest with something in the middle: maybe keep the CO zone idea, but make them all bigger, for example. It's quite difficult and often undesirable to keep your units clumped up inside such a small area.

The campaign is quite linear, with no bonus objectives or branches. You can play bonus tactical challenge maps, but these don't present any reward, so unless you're just bored there's not much point. Playing the campaign from start to finish unlocks everything. Yup, you heard that right- there's no Battle Maps or grinning Hachi looking for your credits in exchange for spiffy CO color arrangements. You can still change CO colors, but this and all playable battle mode maps are automatically available. There is also a music room and wireless play, which is probably the only reason to do free battle mode at all.

In terms of customization, Days of Ruin has a ton of space for you to make your own maps. 50 maps, as a matter of fact- probably more than anyone will ever need. You can use these in online mode, and in general this is a good improvement over Dual Strike. In addition to wireless play, you can play using Nintendo WFC- a first for Advance Wars. Maps can be traded online, if you choose to do so.

Dual Strike added a lot of interesting new features, such as the dual front battle, tag, CO experience, plus some new units (most of which aren't in Days of Ruin). Days of Ruin adds some more- particularly the Internet play- but also takes out many of the best new things in Dual Strike. In particular, Days of Ruin relies very heavily on its multiplayer for replay value. The campaign and versus mode offer nothing in the way of rewards for the offline player, and the COs aren't especially fun to experiment with.

In conclusion, Days of Ruin is definitely a change of pace for Advance Wars. It's similar enough to its predecessors that fans of the originals will probably like it. How MUCH you like it depends heavily on what your favorite aspects of the past games were. If you were addicted to unlocking things, really liked the old COs and their powers, and mainly play offline, then Days of Ruin will probably be less attractive. If you were in it for the tactical play, want to see what happens when a battleship can move AND fire, and mainly play online matches instead of versus mode, then this game will be more fun. Personally, I don't think Days of Ruin is much better or worse than the previous games- it's simply different. I'm not big on multiplayer, so I found Dual Strike to be more fun. However, it also introduces some interesting new game aspects that I hope will be integrated with the best features of the others, and I can't wait to see what Intelligent Systems has lined up for the future of this awesome series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Initial disappointment, but I got over it, June 4, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
At first, I hated this game completely. But after a while, I grew to like it. First, I'll explain the bad parts.

They got rid of ALL the old COs and powers of the previous game. There is now only one generic CO power (still varies from CO to CO); no Super Power. Powers can now only be obtained through the use of a CO-occupied unit. If you don't have a CO in a unit, you don't get your CO power. Simple as that. The COs also don't have distinguishing differences between them (like stronger close range units, etc.) They are all basically the same except for their power and CO presence.

They also got rid of the ability to use 2 COs at the same time (which means no more Tag power), the CO skills, and Hachi's shop. You now have to UNLOCK everything, which is really stupid. But oh well. Maybe some of you like it better that way.

They get rid of a LOT of units from the previous game, Dual Strike. A complete list of what they termed follows:
- Neotank
- Megatank
- Black Bomb
- Stealth Fighter
- Black Boat
- Piperunner (and pipes!)
- Oozium

However, they DID add units as well.
+ Bikes (basically an infantry that can move farther)
+ Antitank (basically an artillery that can hit units that attack it directly)
+ Duster (basically a sucky fighter)
+ Gunboat (actually really cool; carries one infantry and has a good attack against other naval units)
+ Sea plane (basically a fighter and a bomber combined, but not quite as powerful as either)
+ Wartank (basically a less powerful and costly version of the Megatank)
+ Flare (nothing special; just shoots flares that reveal fog of war; worthless in maps without fog of war)

They also changed a few of the units. Infantry cost 500 more, while mechs cost 500 less. Medium tanks now cost 12000, but are less powerful. Missiles' range is increased by one. Cruisers and Landers each cost 2000 less. Carriers can no longer shoot anti-air missiles, but can now produce Sea Planes. They also cost 2000 less. Battleships can now move AND shoot in the same turn. Anti-aircraft now cost 1000 less. APCs are now called Rigs. They can build temporary airports and seaports. These ports can repair and resupply their respective units, but can't build anything.

Maybe I'm just weird, but I liked how infantry would "hop" on buildings to capture them. Anyone else like that? Well, they don't do it anymore. Probably part of the whole "more serious" thing.

They also got rid of a lot of the other assorted things like the War Room and Battle Mode and whatnot, but I really didn't care for those much anyway.

Now for the good.

The campaign is probably the highlight of the game for me. The initial plot may be overused, but it's pretty engrossing after that. I love all the interpersonal relationships that Dual Strike lacked. I'm a sucker for anime romance, which IS present in the campaign. The thing with the flower virus was pretty cheesy, but it's WHAT THE VIRUS DOES that matters. It also gets a little lengthy, but it's awesome. Other reviewers complain about one of the characters that slightly resembles Lash from Dual Strike, but she really doesn't. There's really nothing similar about them at all, except for the fact that they both think war is a game and soldiers are the playing pieces.

The graphics in Days of Ruin are WAY better than those in Dual Strike. The battles are much more entertaining to watch (as if they weren't already). It's surprising how good they are. Everything from the terrain to the explosions to the animations looks a lot better.

Ships can now go on/through/under bridges.

I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, but they added a building called Radar. It just reveals an area of fog of war. Like the Flare unit, this is worthless if there is no fog of war. At least it gives you money.

I like how they made the units look much more serious and realistic. Some people don't, but I think it's a good change of pace.

I like the ability to put your CO in a unit to make it more powerful. The unit with the CO also will have a "sphere of influence" that makes everything nearby more powerful as well. I also like how units can gain experience: First Level I, then II, then Veteran - getting more powerful each time they kill a unit.

I also like the new "Ruin" terrain type. It also has some new terrain objects: Pillars of flame, ruins, wastelands, roughs, mists, meteors, and electrical fields. They changed the name of shoals to beaches, but whatever.

In map making, you can change the size of the map, but it's limited to 30x30. This may sound small, but it appears larger since it's more zoomed in than Dual Strike. You also have the option of saving up to FIFTY maps! Personally, with Dual Strike, I'd always be trying to decide which 3 maps I wanted to keep and which to delete. This gives map-maker junkies a lot more freedom. Now you know where all the memory from lack of COs, skills, and other things went.

It also has Wi-Fi capability, but I haven't used that yet either.

All in all, it's actually a mixed bag.

Hardcore Dual Strike fans: Prepare to be disappointed. This game gets rid of all the COs, CO powers, units, and other things that Dual Strike was made famous for. If you decide you MUST get this game, keep Dual Strike just in case. I'm glad I did, so you have the option of playing either.

If you're new to Advance Wars: Go for it. Days of Ruin is a great strategy game with almost infinite replay value - especially when you have 3 other friends to play with. It will push your strategic mind to its limits. This game is definitely worth the money.

-----Update: 6.21.2011-----

Whoo man it's been a while since I wrote this. Anyway, I just got into these games again and wanted to bring up some important details that I think need to be mentioned.

Comparing Days of Ruin to Dual Strike (some more):

Unit balancing as a whole has greatly improved. Counters counter what they're supposed to counter much better now (i.e. cruisers almost always one-shot subs and aircraft); subs devour anything that isn't a cruiser or another sub; tanks no longer completely rule the ground (thanks to anti-tanks). Fighters do more damage to copters and bombers.

I feel that naval units got rebalanced in a much-needed way. Carriers are no longer overcosted, glorified missiles. Their ability to produce, repair, resupply, AND launch (so they can attack immediately instead of simply getting dropped off) aircraft fulfills what they should have been all along: an MFB for your air force. Battleships can move AND shoot in the same turn (they were horribly vulenerable and underpowered in DS). Gunboats are WAY better/more useful than black boats. Submarines do a LOT of damage to anything that isn't a cruiser or another sub (tends to one-shot gunboats and carriers). It also starts dived and has more fuel. They can also move "under" bridges now; their previous inability to do so CRITICALLY hindered their utility, and clears the way for more options in map creation. Naval units also cost less in general.

However, as I play this game more and more, I find myself wishing more and more that I had the old COs back. In this game, there are far less COs, and they are far less unique. Your units are exactly the same as your opponents' until you get your CO out, and even then, the difference only matters where he/she is. CO powers also tend to be extremely boring--some borderline useless. (Some examples include: Movement range increased by 2, aircraft movement increased by 2, and my all-time favorite, unit vision increased by 2. LOL.) But there is one glaring balance problem: Caulder. This hero is so blatantly retardedly overpowered that it's amazing the final release of this game lets you even use him in melee games. (If you want an idea, imagine playing as Sturm against the more mediocre COs in Dual Strike. Yeah, it's bad. If someone picks Caulder and you don't, you can expect to get rolled unless there's a SIGNIFICANT skill gap.)

Also, despite the unit "fixes," I miss a lot of the old units from Dual Strike. The iconic neotank, the super-fun piperunner, the mighty megatank... If I had my way, I would take the unit base of DS, add the anti-tank and flare, switch the APC to the rig; remove black bombs and add sea planes (to be produced by the carrier); and make the navy identical to Days of Ruin's.

Another complaint I have is that the music is pretty poor in Days of Ruin. The music was much more awe-inspring and unique in DS. The music in this game is boring--sometimes bordering on annoying. The only track I can say I like from this game is the song that plays when you use your CO power with Will, Lin, Brenner, or Isabella.

One last thing. I previously praised this game's campaign; it's still good, but I have some more to say about it.
- They say the word "hope" at least a hundred times (usually part of some cheesy phrase that was fine the first half-dozen times but got old after that)
- The missions are too linear. You only get to use the CO they give you. The missions aren't challenging at all until the last few (but the last one is borderline impossible unless you know exactly what to do). For most, it's COMPLETELY OBVIOUS the EXACT set of moves to make. There's no diversity or choice
- I still stand by what I said about the character development being great (at times, it was the only thing that helped me soldier through the cheesy lines)
- I like the "darker and edgier" change of pace a LOT. I don't recall the word "die" (or any of its variations) being used ONCE in DS (I could be wrong though). It's a ******* war! PEOPLE DIE IN WARS! This game at least recognizes that fact. And they do a GREAT job making you FEEL it when it happens

Moral of the story: Good change of pace, but need COs and units back.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid game that tries new things, but falls short of expectations, April 8, 2008
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 

Firstly, I'd like to say that I'm a big advance wars fan, and I was really looking forward to this game. I give the game's developers credit for trying new things in DoR and trying to take the game in a new direction. Some things that are great additions to the series include:
-Wifi! Its great to be able to play and share maps.
-Actually, thats about it.

The single-player campaign is passable, but to be honest, I did not enjoy it as much as previous installments. This game was advertised as being "darker" and "more mature." Really? Given the E rating, I wasn't expecting blood and guts everywhere, but did they have to add TWO 10-year-old-squeakier-than-ever Lashs' to the enemy team? (for those of you who do not remember Lash, she was the one who thought war was a game, and soldiers were toys.) Prepare for a lot of: "*SQUEE!* TANK GO BOOM BOOM NOW!! BoOOM!" At least previous installments were honest and straightforward about being a bit childish, this one attempts to hide its juvenile story behind more sophisticated drawings. I cannot take a game that contains any of the following seriously:
-A virus that make you *gasp* grow flowers
-Characters that have and randomly lose stereotypical accents
-"WHERE THERES LIFE, THERES HOPE!" (expect to hear that, oh, 60-70 times....per cutscene)
-EVIL, bloodthirsty villains...who decide to play(teehee.) nice and join you. (Mr.Bear said he didn't want to die!)
-Characters so flat that you can see right through them! (I'm serious. if you can't predict the story from the moment you put the game in...)
-Story lacked spirit. Really, there was nothing interesting about it.

Now, you may be thinking "Thats ok, Advance Wars was never really about the story. Its all in the awesome strategy!! I can skip the cutscenes if I want and go straight to the action!" Alright, I'll agree with you here. I could forgive the story that some developer let his 5th grader write it ,if there were a noticeable improvement in the strategic gameplay to make up for it. Sadly, I do not feel as though DoR succeeded on this count either. It is mediocre, hence the 3 stars, but nothing fantastic. Lets do a run down of in-play issues and disappointments:

-I was looking forward to gaining access to new units, but all of those added (carrier, anti-tank, flares ect) did not add much depth to the already existing gameplay.
-Lack of choice. In previous games, you had the ability to select your CO(s) when going into combat. It allowed you to tailor your team and your abilities to the challenges ahead. Upon failing a mission, you could go back, rethink your approach, and try something new. Heck, if you were completely stuck on one level, you could try a different one (typically, 3 or so were unlocked to you at a time) and take a crack at the problematic level later. It did not effect the story, but it allowed you to take a break from a frustrating level. In DoR, this is not the case, only one level at a time can advance the story. (Yes, there are side "training" levels, but they are even more aggravating and uninspired than the regular gameplay and have nothing to do with the story) This customization is sacrificed in the name of a piss-poor story that forces you to use one pre-designated CO per map.I would have loved more user customization, not less.
-The game designers advertised that CO powers and abilities were being reduced placing more emphasis on strategy. This is true for your units, not so for the enemy units. I am not complaining of difficulty here, its not that it is ridiculously hard, just irritating. You scratch an enemy unit, and then they turn around and one-shot yours. Prepare for a lot of "huh? why is my unit dead?"... For the record, simply making all of the enemy units stronger is not a satisfying way to create difficulty, try again.
- One more note on COs and CO powers: they feel more like an afterthought in this game, and may as well not be there. You don't even get them til well into the game! The COs do not lend themselves particularly well to any of the maps that you are forced to play on. Don't expect fancy flight-action when you get to play as an air-specialist! Mostly its a lot of generic play with Wil. Previously, more interesting COs allowed for more creative level design that would allow them to shine. Choosing the correct CO for a level was an important part of play!
- Difficulty could have been implemented through creative level design, this is also not the case. I felt like level design produced dull, repetitive, uninspired, slam-your-head-into-the-enemy-til-he-falls-over-50-turns-later style play with only a few interesting exceptions. I wish there had been more of the interesting ones.
-Lack of hard mode and other unlockables. Part of the fun of the previous games, for me, was unlocking all the nifty stuff in the war room, and trying my luck at the hard mode campaign. This had very little to do outside the single player. Like I did point out, wifi is great, so if you have lots of friends with AW, this may not be such a big problem.

Days of Ruin had a lot going for it, its still an OK game. You'll probably chug on through it and enjoy it just fine. I suppose I just had very high expectations for this game, and it fell far short. I can only hope that things improve in the future. Shinier graphics and "cooler" (see: stereotyped and boring) characters do not redeem a completely ridiculous storyline, mediocre single player game, and lack of unlockables.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much less of an SP experience than Dual Strike, July 13, 2008
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
It's not bad. It gives Advance Wars fans something more to chew on I guess. But what happened to all to all that totally awesome unlockable content and all the level-up stuff from Dual Strike? Why is the list of commanders so much shorter? How come the powers just don't seem to have as much impact on the game?

The serious plot was interesting at first but they really didn't make enough changes to the overall look and feel of the game to keep it going. The first few levels had an apocalyptic feel but then it was right back to happy sunny war times on the first naval mission where everything is bright and gleaming in spite of the fact that the atmosphere is supposed to be so choked with debris that you can't even see the sun.

And I missed the music of Dual Strike. A lot. Basically more of the same minus a lot of the really good things.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best tactical strategy game on the DS, but just shy of perfection, February 15, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I like tactical strategy games in general (e.g. Panzer General, Final Fantasy Tactics, Heroes of Might & Magic series), and I adored Advanced Wars: Dual Strike. I play exclusively 1P games, I don't use the multiplayer functions of this game at all, so I write my review from this perspective.

Clearly, AW:DoR is the best, most refined AW game to date, and so far, it's the best strategy game I've ever found for the DS. It definitely deserves a full 5 stars, as I've been glued to it non-stop for about a month. If you enjoy strategy games at all, pick up this title, you definitely won't be disappointed.

And yet I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed. The two major improvements were to the touch screen control system and to the online capabilities, both taking greater advantage of the DS platform. Unfortunately, I'm just not that interested in either advancement. I do not use the touch screen for this game at all, I definitely prefer the direction pad and buttons (though I have to admit, the touch screen option is very well done and fun to use). I also don't use the wireless options of any DS game. It's not that the wireless options are bad, just that I prefer single-player games in general as there's no need to coordinate schedules, no delays at all. The DS in particular is an excellent system to fill dead time during bus or air travel, neither of which work well with other players. The multiplayer options of this title are actually very tempting (not only can you compete against your buddy in another location, but you can voice chat while doing so!), but multiplayer gaming just doesn't fit well into my busy life these days.

As a 1P game, AW:DoR is the best 1P strategy game that I have yet found for the DS. But it's just not better *in every possible way* than the previous title, Dual Strike. This is disappointing, and I considered rating the product 4 stars. But given how well designed it is, and that I've enjoyed 100 hours of gameplay already and look forward to more, I feel it deserves the full 5 stars.

The rest of my review is a detailed wish list of ways the 1P experience could be improved, along with some praise for noteworthy improvements over Advanced Wars: Dual Strike. If you're not interested in those details, my bottom line is that I highly recommend this as the best strategy game available for the DS today.

Wishlist for improvements:

The campaign is linear, with no optional side quests to explore. I miss the little secret labs, and the ability to unlock special unit types for later in the campaign! I wish there were more optional goals, side quests, and perhaps some strategic choice about how the campaign proceeds.

The game no longer keeps track of your score for the extra "free play" maps, nor do you get medals for solving them, nor do you win points for solving them, nor do you have to win access to unlock them. In short, the designers basically gutted all the reinforcers that made playing the extra maps fun! This is my single biggest complaint about the new game.

I wish free play maps came pre-configured for different default scenarios (e.g. this one has fog of war, this one has snow, this one uses these COs, etc.). It's great that the game allows you to tweak all settings for every free play map, but provide interesting and unique defaults for each map so you can more readily compare your experience with others. (Note that this also undercuts the fun of trying to complete a "checklist" of beating all "free play" maps, because now every map has identical defaults unless you expressly choose otherwise.)

Like other reviewers, I miss the Shop. Basically, the previous game required you to rack up points by playing the game, which could be spent to unlock various things (maps, CO uniforms, etc.). Human nature being what it is, having to win these little things is more fun than being given them up front. In this title, all the free play maps and CO outfits are available immediately, which is slightly disappointing.

The one multiplayer / community aspect I'd love is some sort of scoreboard, or score comparisons with your friends. This would allow me to play at my own pace w/o having to coordinate schedules with others, while still competing on the big board.

But even given the above limitations, the 1P game is still better than AW:Dual Strike. I love the new CO system, whereby the CO is attached to a specific unit. I prefer having a single CO over having tag team pairs like before. I like the fact that the units have been streamlined (stealth units weren't that interesting), though I would like the occasional oddball unit in the campaign mode. I love the fact that units can gain experience -- an excellent gameplay mechanic. I love the new tutorial screens, as well as the strategic advice screen. All in all, this game is extremely well done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Days of Ruin, May 27, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This is an epic game. The story is pretty sweet, and the missions offer challenging obstacles, however this game is a an exercise in frustration especially some of the later missions, but overall the story characters graphics and game play are solid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing the character & charm of previous Advance Wars games, June 10, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I've been a tremendous fan of the Advance Wars series since I first got my hands on the original Game Boy Advance release. I have followed the series since then right up to its most recent iteration, Days of Ruin on the Nintendo DS.

Days of Ruin trades the characters and charm of previous Advance Wars titles for a much darker, grittier tone. The game play has also been stripped down to its core fundamental 'rock, paper, scissors' basics. While it is still an extremely engrossing battle of strategies, these changes along with a obnoxiously bloated story make Days of Ruin my least favorite title in the Advance Wars series.

Due to a lack of overpowering special attacks, Days of Ruin requires much more strategy than ever before. If you are used to relying on your Commanding Officer's special abilities in previous Advance Wars games you'll need sometime to adjust to the evened playing field here. I found myself double and triple thinking my moves, and planning a full battle strategy as opposed to short term attacks. While this may be what the designers intended, it ends up making Days of Ruin more difficult and unforgiving than any other game in the series.

There is an on-line mode (a first for Advance Wars) but over all the package feels 'featureless', especially when compared to Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (also for the Nintendo DS).

While Days of Ruin is still a worthy addition to any video game library, if you're only going to pick up one Advance Wars game I would recommend you go with Dual Strike. It has infinitely more personality and though lacking on-line play offers additional play modes and options.

On a scale of 1 - 5 I rate Advance Wars: Days of Ruin as a 3. It's a very engaging, strategic experience but is weighed down by an unnecessarily long story, too few options, and a lack of the character, personality and charm that made previous Advance Wars titles so great.
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Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin by Nintendo (Nintendo DS)
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