Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

Fight in a post-apocalyptic world to save what's left of it
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

<b>Mild Violence:</b> Bloodless violence against human-like soldiers. Enemies blow away and bloodlessly explode. Story hints at more intense violence.<p> <b>Destruction:</b> Vehicle-to-vehicle combat. Vehicles fall apart, sink, and explode.</p><p> <b>Language:</b> The words d**n, h**l, and c**p are seen in text-boxes at least once.</p><p> <b>Scantily-Clad Females:</b> Two female characters wear revealing outfits.

Days of Ruin is the fourth installment in Intelligent Systems’ Advance Wars series. They’re the same bunch that brought us Fire Emblem, which has the same basic formula for this game. Both are very much the same kind of turn-based tactical gameplay. In Days of Ruin, however, players hand over magic, horses, and swords for a grim world, heavy artillery, and tanks. The same idea is still present in this series. It’s even right in the title: war.

Plot:

Days of Ruin’s story is quite dark for starters. The game takes place on an unnamed world which could quite possibly be earth. No matter what it is, it’s a world I wouldn’t want to live in. It’s a world no one would want to live in. A series of devastating meteor strikes has all but exterminated humanity. As a result of the strikes, the sun is blotted out by the dust, leaving the world dark, barren, and forbidding. Survivors face a challenge of simply trying to survive. Sounds bleak doesn’t it?

Somewhere on the ruined continent-nation of Rubinelle, one survivor finds something that just may make his world less bleak. A young military cadet named Will escapes the ruins of his former academy. After a slight run-in with a rogue solider, he is met by Brenner, a former commander of the Rubinelle army. Brenner offers Will a life with him and his small troop which involves tracking down as many survivors as possible, in the hopes of rebuilding the destroyed world. Will accepts the offer but is soon draw into an adventure involving a reignited war, a mysterious young girl, the pain of loss and perhaps the very face of evil itself.

Gameplay:

If you’ve ever played any of the Fire Emblem games, Days of Ruin will be quite familiar. Each chapter in the story is laid out on a field. You’ll have a certain number of units, although you can make more by capturing a factory. You move your units around the board. If an enemy unit is within range of one of yours, you can attack. Each unit has 10 HP, and attacking takes off some of them or all of them depending on the strength of the attacker (i.e. tanks will do more damage and take less against soldiers). After all of your units have moved or if you want to end the turn early, you select End Day from the pause menu. Then it’s the enemy’s turn to move. This goes on until one of two goals is met; either one side loses all their units or you manage to capture the enemy HQ.

On the subject of your units, you have three basic kinds: ground, sea, and air. These types will vary from chapter to chapter. Sometimes you’ll have the chance to build and use sea and air units, but other times, you won’t. Each unit also has a set amount of fuel which is depleted when you move. The same is true of ammunition which runs down after you attack. If you run out of fuel, the unit will be destroyed.

Offensive Content:

Mild  Violence:

Each attack triggers a battle scene between the combatants, and  just about all of them involve shooting guns, cannons, or dropping bombs on unsuspecting targets. None of the units are particularly details. You can’t even see any facial features on the soldiers. During the scene, units get blown away, literally, when their health goes down, or they disappear in a puff of smoke when tanks or bombers do the work. After the scene, the defeated unit will explode bloodlessly.

The same violence also applies to attacking vehicles, although air and sea units will be shown sinking out of sight.

Dialogue hints at more intense violence, and it’s also hinted at during the scenes between each chapter. During one scene, we see a character point a gun, and the screen fades to black before we hear the shot. We don’t see it or the results though. Characters also refer to deaths quite a bit.

Mild Language:

Quite a few characters swear in this title. I lost count of the number of times I saw a swear word displayed in the text-boxes. You will see the words d**n, h**l, and c**p at least once, I’ll tell you that much. I saw the first two a lot more frequently.

Mild Sexual Content:

Two of the female characters you see wear tops that show off a lot of their midsections. The worst one is Lin. The other one had a slightly more-modest top, but the key word is slightly. You’ll see glimpses of their bare bellies during the cutscenes. Lin’s middle is seen entirely after a chapter that features her as the main character.

Anti-Religious Content:

During one chapter, blackjack ballroom casino a group of people work under orders of a religious fanatic, who promises healing from a disease in exchange for outright human sacrifice. Later, the person admits to having lied, but justifies it because it gives people hope. This possibly has some atheistic overtones to it. I didn’t get that impression, but some might.

Depressing Atmosphere:

I’ll say it again, this story is dark. Some chapters, it seems to get more and more depressing. Talk about death or dying is the usual fare, and after a certain key point in the story, it seems to hit a lot of lows. So, don’t expect this game to be happy until the very end.

Commendable Material:

While this game is bleak, characters keep on fighting no matter how bad the situation looks. Characters are also willing to put their lives on the line for what’s right, and one character makes the ultimate sacrifice for that cause. Known enemies are also willing to put aside their differences for the greater good. Even during the bleakest moments, characters speak of hope still being there.

Conclusion:

As a Fire Emblem fan, I wanted to check out the latest, well latest for me, series from Intelligent Systems. I thought if it came from the same bunch that made Fire Emblem, I’d be in for a griping story, interesting gameplay, and challenging moments. I was right on all three accounts. If you’re a fan of this type of game, you’ll enjoy Days of Ruin.

But during the game, I found myself wishing it would hurry and lighten up. I’m a big fan of games with big stories, and this was no exception. But all the while, I wished that the story could take a turn for the lighter side. When they kept referring to death and destruction, it was one thing. When the heroes seemed to be handed nothing but lemons, I kept thinking that it was getting to be a little too heavy. I’m a fan of games with deep stories, but you have to draw the line somewhere. And on top of that, the characters seem to believe that humanity on its own can fix every problem. As they often say in this game, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” As uplifting as it sounds, it’s not at all true. Only where God is is there truly hope. But perhaps, I’m over-doing it. Bottom-line. This is a fine game for any fan of IS’s famous series. But if you decide to sign up for this army, be prepared for a depressing story littered with some mixed-up theology, midriff-baring outfits, and an extra dose of bad language.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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