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 Post subject: blargh
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:28 am 
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I just finished Days of Ruin.

It was cute but largely underwhelming.

Actually, no, it wasn't cute, it was ugly.

Actually, I thought Will was a girl judging from his eye shot.

I'm all for serious and epic storylines, but this wasn't it. It felt more like playing through some AW fanfic where the author tried to make things more gritty and mature, and at face level succeeded, but ultimately the plot and characters are only marginally more developed than the AWs of old, if that. What was the story with Brenner's father? What's Caulder's problem? Why did no one see a meteor storm that large coming? For that matter, what's anyone's deal?

I find it hard to care about characters with no build up or lead in or, you know, if we don't see enough of them. Why couldn't we choose the generic silent sniper guy who inexplicably has blue hair or the generic obligatorily-mysterious amnesiac girl instead of the generic spiky-headed punk? DoR seemed much shorter than the other games. Do online features take up that much space?

Of course, no one plays AW for the story, right? Right. Certain war room segments were mildly amusing though, but I hear the localization is even more different than usual between regions. Some of the interim post-major battle pics looked off too, like, way off, like they ran out of money and had to hire a cheaper artist type of off.

At this point I would make some half-assed and likely incorrect observations about gameplay, but it looks like the guys at WWN took care of it without the half-ass and incorrect. That was fast.

I guess I can see where kiwi's "CHANGE" is coming from, but it'll probably make the game explode more than anything else. One thing that was brought up is power charging. In DoR, everyone has the same rate and zones govern how easy it is to fill powers, but more importantly powers only charge on attack. I think I like the old way better, but there are problems with it, namely that it, as noted, is defensive and rewards stalling tactics. We're not thinking about changing Crap Wars's charge rates yet. Hopefully the more accessible and aggressive unit structure will mesh with the defensive and reactionary power system for more dynamic gameplay. If DoR can make the opposite "work," maybe CW will too, but we'll have to see.

Oh right, thank you, Intelligent Systems, for making the entire game a piece of cake except for the last mission, which is apparently where all the difficulty went.

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 Post subject: Re: blargh
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:38 pm 
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The story wasn't good, but it was a story, which is enough to elevate it above the earlier games where you instead had a chain of missions loosely connected together by random inane nonsense without plan, suspense or a drama arc. That being said you are correct in that no one in their right mind plays Advance Wars for the story, and nothing in single player matters. There are a million strategy games that are infinitely better when played in single player, with more varied, unpredictable and challenging gameplay.

Where Advance Wars shines is providing gameplay that is simple and fast, but strategically deep enough making it ideal for online multiplayer. DoR is the only official version of Advance Wars enabling online multiplayer. It should also be noted that the gameplay is faster, more aggressive and more fun. For someone who has spent years on AWBW the freshness is welcome - I might have already gotten bored of the game if it weren't for its distinct tactical peculiarities that set it apart from everything I've seen before.

Graphically the game looks more modern and professional than ever. The graphics are detailed and convey the themes of warfare and life in post-apocalyptic world, as much as can be done without going into too much graphic detail (for Nintendo). The battle animations have actual perspective and have an eerie resemblance to real-life combat footage (an effect which could have been more complete with better animation and more subtle outlining). The characters are beautiful and easily identifiable, although this was a strong point of the old games as well. However some of the characters in those games were a bit sloppily done whereas here everyone looks more consistently solid. The colour choices, while artistically sound, however are not optimal for a handheld device - at least the rainbow-shaded, nintendo standard cartoon graphics of the old were clear if nothing else. Things are hard to make out in some of the DoR terrain sets, particularly shoals and wastelands. Even then this is more a fault of partial sloppiness in the execution rather than the overarching artistic design.

The music is fuller, more aggressive and more adrenaline-inducing, which is not only a good thing in a turn-based strategy game. I liked the oomph and immediate effect of the new audio, although the small soundtrack leads to repetition, getting tiresome fast.

Overall I give this game a score of nine out of ten, best fucking Advance Wars ever, could only have been made better by improvements in the online experience such as a turn clock for friend games, and better map selection for random, and a single player mode with an actual point (hint: dynamic campaigns always make things awesome. See: X-Com, Jagged Alliance and Total War series).


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 Post subject: Re: blargh
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:01 am 
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I haven't and can't play DoR online, which would help replay value, which in turn I value highly in games that cost over 15 bucks. You're right about the graphics and sound being limited more by hardware than the game itself; more recently I've seen some CO portraits floating around and they're very clean, but I would like the devs to accomodate for the system: see also: load times, not that DoR had that particular problem.

Dynamic campaigns? Is that like branching paths or something along those lines?

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 Post subject: Re: blargh
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:09 pm 
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Dynamic campaign is like a strategic metagame that connects the missions in a way that is non-linear, interactive and, well, dynamic.

For example, in X-Com, a game where you are in control of an international military organisation defending Earth from an alien invasion, you have this screen called Geoscape, which is a rotateable 3D globe giving you access to screens where you build and manage bases, research technology, purchase weapons and hire recruits for your organisation. Occasionally a UFO shows up on radar and you send out interceptors to shoot it down, making a "crash site" appear.

Then you send a troop transport to the crash site, bringing you to the actual main portion of the game - a turn-based tactical combat simulation where you move around your soldiers on the scene, searching for surviving alien operatives to shoot. All these soldiers are the same ones you hired in the Geoscape, equipped with the weapons you researched and built, or purchased, or commandeered from the aliens in previous missions. Battles may also be triggered when you try to stop an alien "terror mission", where you attempt to prevent the aliens from killing civilians, or when you invade an alien base (or, they invade yours! In this case the shape of the battle map is determined by the layout of the base you designed in the base building screen) When your characters die, they're gone for good, and if you lose the battle, all the people and equipment you committed to it are lost, except the ones that you managed to retreat when you realised things were starting to go awry.

However, losing the battle doesn't mean losing the war - the campaign still continues and you can buy new stuff to replace whatever you lost, provided you have the resources for it. Compare this to the campaigns in games like Advance Wars and Fire Emblem where you're just forced to retry the mission until you win.

How I imagine a dynamic campaign could possibly work in a game like Advance Wars: There would be a world map screen made out of squares, looking similar to the campaign map in DoR. Some of these squares are owned by you, some are neutral and some belong to the enemy. Squares may contain army divisions, each containing a set of units, supplies and CO's. You could freely move these divisions around, and use them to defeat enemies and conquer territories. Battle maps could be randomly generated, save for the important story missions which would be predesigned like typical campaign maps in Advance Wars. You could also spend time and resources to train and upgrade your units and CO's and fortify your territories.

Units produced on maps would be temporary, and only the "core units" you produce outside battles, on the campaign screen would carry over between battles and would be lost forever if they are destroyed. The experience they accumulate would make them considerably more powerful than standard units, and meatshielding your core units with standard units would be an important tactic.

There might be auxiliary characters, such as scientists, political figures and intelligence agents that could help you by performing tasks not directly related to combat, such as researching technology (giving you access to new units), gathering intel (revealing nearby enemy divisions and agents), performing sabotage, and unlocking story segments and new characters when brought to the right place at the right time.


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 Post subject: Re: blargh
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:39 am 
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Quote:
Units produced on maps would be temporary, and only the "core units" you produce outside battles, on the campaign screen would carry over between battles and would be lost forever if they are destroyed. The experience they accumulate would make them considerably more powerful than standard units, and meatshielding your core units with standard units would be an important tactic.

There might be auxiliary characters, such as scientists, political figures and intelligence agents that could help you by performing tasks not directly related to combat, such as researching technology (giving you access to new units), gathering intel (revealing nearby enemy divisions and agents), performing sabotage, and unlocking story segments and new characters when brought to the right place at the right time.


First one sounds odly like a game I said I like and you said would be cliched and not fun D:. Yes I am talking panzer tactics D:.

Second one would be cool. I can just think up some funny story segments like you can challenge the final boss right away (but your units won't be uber due to tech limitations etc) :3

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 Post subject: Re: blargh
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:59 am 
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I never said Panzer Tactics would not be fun, and indeed I'm quite a fan of said game and many other games like it. It's not a very original game by any means however.


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 Post subject: Re: blargh
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:08 am 
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Hmm, ok mebbe my memory is wrong. I still want a game that plays like shogi :D, where you can capture and use any units and promotions have different effects on units. Just random thought I had today :D

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