So what’s new? Truth be told, we were a little worried about what additions Intelligent Systems would chuck into this sequel, as the previous two follow-ups implemented changes that only served to dilute the experience. Advance Wars 2’s unrelenting difficulty made it more lethal than a poison arrow frog baguette, while Advance Wars: Dual Strike confused us to tears with its twin-battle double-screenery. Luckily, Days of Ruin (known as Dark Conflict in the UK) isn’t about addition; it’s subtraction that makes the difference.
Days of Ruin is a simpler beast than even the original. Intelligent Systems have crammed their formula into a sieve and filtered out all the extraneous stuff that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Gone are the second-screen battles - the top screen is now used solely for stat-displaying purposes. The special CO moves have been toned down tenfold, and the vast majority of the story mode has been banished to the darkest, dustiest recesses of the cartridge altogether.
What you end up with is perhaps the purest Advance Wars game we’ve seen yet - a solid example of wondrously balanced strategy that, stripped of distractions, is nothing less than the 21st century’s version of chess. New additions are limited to new pieces for your chessboard: flare tanks that dispel battlefield-concealing fog; motorcycles that act as a halfway house between troops and artillery; and powerful anti-tank units that can unleash devastating attacks but are as brittle as a Cadbury’s Flake.
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