The turn-based strategy differs from Final Fantasy Tactics and its ilk, employing a rock-paper-scissors style of weakness and strength to its characters. Unlike Pokemon which cruelly requires you to memorize convoluted character details Days of Ruin grants you each unit’s stats and the like on one of the DS’ screens. Throw in differing terrain, capturing bases, Commanding Officer powers (like granting your units +2 move points so they can move farther), and special mission-specific events like rockets raining from above and baby, you got a stew goin’.
For a series so renowned for its difficulty I found the curve very forgiving. The first several missions (there are 26 in all, as well as several extra ones) teach you all the basics and each consecutive episode offers a few advanced techniques until you’re left on your own. Even then you can access a little “hints” section at any time in the menu for a comedic sideshow – it’s rarely anything laugh-out-loud hilarious, they’re more like omake , fourth wall breaking and all – detailing some possible tactics you can use, making for a very user-friendly experience. Of course, the final few missions are controller-throwing hard. Er, except in this case the system is also a controller, so please have patience. With hard work and guts anything is possible!
Oh, there’s also a host of other options like online Wi-Fi multiplayer and a create-your-own map mode which I didn’t touch yet. I see myself perhaaaaps returning to the game to complete the extra missions but unless anyone’s up for an online match I had a great run with the story missions. Addicting, snappy gameplay, memorable characters and a decent plot – ooh, and tons and tons of techno/rock/industrial music – is all I need in yet another great Nintendo DS game.