Part 1: Starting out
Hello there, welcome to the Let's Play of Days of Ruin.
Moving on from the title screen, we get the main menu. The top screen of the DS gives details of what is in each submenu, but I'm here for that. Single DS play has Campaign (which ends up including the old War Room later on), and Free Battle, which allows you to choose map and CO's. Multi card play is local multiplayer using the DS' wireless connectivity to each other. Nintendo WFC is the extension of that, going over the internet through Wifi. Design room contains the Map Creator as well as CO colors option. Because I don't mind the default CO colors, we'll be leaving that alone unless you guys really want me to change them. Records has a list of various stats like the number of each type of unit created, number of each unit destroyed, etc., as well as a music player, along with the option to reset your stats. Options should be fairly obvious. But enough of menu features, let's jump into the Campaign!
In case you couldn't figure it out, Days of Ruins sheds the cutesy "war is fun!" mentality of the previous Advance Wars games. Don't get me wrong, there is still humor to be had, it's just not nearly as cheesy constantly like Dual Strike is.
: Please... Please let me find someone...
: HELLOOOOOO!! Help me, please! I don't want to be alone...
So there's our main character, Will, who looks a little worse for wear. And is completely stranded...somewhere. We don't actually find out what happened to him until after this tutorial mission.
: Where's my radio?! Maybe I can call them and tell them I'm here... Help me! My name is Will! I'm a cadet at the Rubinelle Military Academy! Um, do you read? Over.
Hey Will? Where'd you get the bike, sidecar, and extra person? It would have made more sense to make him a 1HP infantry, but IntSys isn't exactly known for stellar decisions.
: ...What's so funny?
: Look sharp, roaches! We got us a live one! And he's just a punk kid. You know the drill! I want his food, and I want his weapons! Leave his corpse where it falls! Ain't no one going to complain! Gwar har har!
: No! Don't do this!
Take the bike, Beast! That poor infantry back there needs to get off his feet, and you're riding around in a recon. This tells you where IntSys decided to go for the setting and feel of the game. Rather than have Black Hole bumble around with characters like Flak and Lash, we have the Beast, who is more than willing to outright murder a defenseless kid.
For the observant, you'll notice the perspective changed. Days of Ruin introduced a zoom feature for some reason. I prefer the zoomed out mode, since it feels more like the older games, but depending on framerate, we may yet see more zoomed in play. Anyway, Will knows he has no chance, and because this is a tutorial level, lets the player know that running into a recon, bike, and infantry is probably going to get him killed. He suggests the spot I'm moving my lone unit to. We'll follow his thoughts, mainly because there isn't a better spot. The Beast gives chase on his turn. Things aren't looking so hot...
: I've got a single soldier being pursued by a pack of raiders. The soldier appears to be one of ours. Shall we intervene?
: Do it.
: Yes, sir, Captain.
: Who are you guys?
: Skip the introductions. Fall back, and let us handle this.
Will leaves rather quickly, breaking movement ability to do so. Cutscene powers are amazing.
: What's the big idea, dogface? This got nothin' to do with you!
: It's got everything to do with me. I'm a soldier, it's my duty. You remember what duty is, don't you? I think you used to be soldiers.
: Duty? Gwar har har! Don't make me laugh! This world's dead, soldier boy, and so is your precious duty!! We stopped being soldiers when the meteors hit.
: Not anymore.
: And who's gonna stop us? You?
: That's right. Your days of preying on survivors are over. We're going to put you down like the rabid dogs you are. You may have forgotten your duty, but we have not.
: Move out Lin. Let's end this quickly.
: Yes, sir.
Well now, That's a whole lot of words for "I'm going to kill you, hope you don't mind too much." At this point, we get access to Lin and Brenner's units, so we may as well take a look at all the units available on both sides right now.
The infantry is your basic foot soldier. Infantry aren't there for fighting, only carrying a machine gun effective against other foot soldiers and not much else. What they CAN do is capture cities, bases, etc. This will be huge in later maps, as building captures becomes one of the deciding factors in who wins a battle. They have 3 movement, and can also cross mountains, one of two ground units capable of doing so.
New to the Advance Wars series is the bike. A bike is an infantry unit who decided that marching sucked, and got a set of wheels. With 5 movement to the infantry's 3, they are faster on roads, however having wheels slows them down in forests (3 move units per tile). They are also equipped with a machine gun.
The recon is the first vehicle available in the game. It's a lightly armored scout, hence the name and vision range. They have a movement range of 8 tiles, however suffer the same forest movement reduction as bikes, and using different sets of tires to the bikes take 2 move units to cover plains. Also carries a machine gun to harass infantry capturing cities.
The first real armor unit, a tank won't take many shells before dropping. It has great mobility, using those treads to cover anything but forests with ease, and carries a machine gun to take down infantry units. Where it shines though is against other lower end armor. With the main cannon, it fires shells that pack a punch, taking down the majority of a recon, or another tank. Once out of ammo, it resorts to using it's machine gun against these targets, severely reducing the effectiveness. Let's see one of these in action, shall we?
This is the standard battle screens. On one screen, your forces, the other has the enemy. A short animation plays, showing the weapons fired. I won't be showing too many of these off, because they end up being fairly cut and dry in screenshot form. Remember what I said about tanks being great against recons?
Yeah. Tanks hurt recons. My recon comes in and finishes off The Beast's.
No Will, training is over. This is war. War kinda sucks for the loser. Having finished off the enemy recon, my recon gained a bar of experience. There are three levels of experience for normal units, the first two giving slight boosts to attack, the third boosting attack a little further, and also improving the unit's defence. While this won't make a recon kill a tank, it definitely helps survivability against like units. I end my turn since my units are now used (and are greyed out to reflect that). The Beast moves his forces closer to me, but decides not to attack.
I make him pay either way, attacking his infantry with my recon, taking out 70% of it's health. My tank attacks the bike. The Beast again doesn't attack, mainly because it's suicidal for both units at this point.
Mopping up now, the recon and tank attack the same targets as before, killing both. Under the reticle, you can't see the bike has 4 hp left. Even with the machine gun, the tank rips apart non-armored units.
The Beast doesn't like losing, clearly. Guess he isn't laughing anymore, which is fine because "Gyar har har!" is annoying anyway.
A wonderful screen, S rank is the highest possible. Speed scores are determined by how quickly you complete a mission. Power is determined differently in this game as compared to the older games. Here you have to both deal as much damage as possible and kill enemies to max your score, while doing as few attacks as possible. Technique is also different, but it still is mainly determined by losing as few units as possible, while also counting the number of enemies the opponent had total. You can also ruin this score by building too many units.
I will try for as many S ranks as possible, mainly because some are a challenge to get, but I won't guarantee it.
You... you tell him Brenner. Even if you completely outgunned them in a tank.
This screen simply tells you units built and lost by each side. I won't be showing it again, because it's quite boring to look at. Aside from that, we get some conversation after the map:
: Yeah, I...I am now. Thank you. My name's Will. I'm a cadet at the academy. ...I mean, I was. Before the meteors.
: A cadet huh? Thought I recognized that jacket. So what happened?
: The academy is gone. One minute I was eating lunch, and then... Everyone died. Instructors and friends and... everybody. I was buried in the mess hall. I've been digging myself out for... I don't know. Weeks, I guess. I looked for survivors, but I only found rubble and bodies. ...I thought I was the only one left.
You know, this is honestly a really sad tale, and a major departure from the rest of the Advance Wars series. Just think about it for a second. You're sitting there with a couple friends, choking down a hamburger, and then the next second you're surrounded by rubble, and everyone else is dead. You get out after who knows how long and the first person you run into is a guy like The Beast. Poor Will.
: You did well to stay alive. I'm impressed.
: I didn't want to die.
: And this is my second in command...
: We've made it our mission to seek out and aid survivors of the disaster. The world is a dangerous place now. I suggest you come with us.
: Yes, sir! That would be fantastic! You won't be sorry about...
: Are you all right?
: Sorry, I haven't eaten in a long time.
: That was your stomach rumbling? I thought we were under attack. Come on. We'll get you some spare rations. Just don't get too excited. All we have is canned bread.
Canned... bread? Sounds wonderful. Though after weeks I guess gruel would be appetizing.
Rescue ops! The Beast returns and is angry! New units!