Adam Montgomery of Ripten writes: Previously the series seemed rather pleased with the war; it was the opportunity for everyone to get out in the fresh air and shoot at each other. Now it seems the game has realised that those bullets hurt. War is beautiful no more. This means that the colourful depictions of the series are now gone and have been replaced with a darker, grittier look.
It's a post-apocalyptic nightmare where mankind is nearly all-dead. What's left is the charred remains of earth and a roster of gritty veterans – a sadly soulless re-imagining of a series that formerly boasted a light, approachable visual style.
The core remains as it was; the same turn-based strategy with a focus on exploiting weaknesses and employing strengths. But there's a key shift in emphasis: tactics over power. Now the focus is on elegant advanced planning, with many of the previously overpowering (and perhaps damaging to the game's balancing) units have either been removed or reduced.
What's been anticipated, and delivers, is online battling. Surprisingly, voice-chat is available even when battling a randomly selected opponent. For personal vendettas the friend code system is available, but either way the contests run without issue.
This game doesn't mark the ruin of what is a classic portable game franchise. Like the rest of the Advance Wars series, Days of Ruin is a campaign of addiction and satisfaction, as well as being one of the most accessible strategy games available.
Yes, the man has changed. He's lost his innocence and realised the truth of his struggles: wars are ugly and crippling – but the Advance Wars have never been better.