Glory Days 2

Greg Schardein  
 
7.0
 
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Glory Days 2

Videogames

Publisher
Release Date
July 31, 2008
MSRP $
29.99
Players

What was the first intuitive idea you thought of when Nintendo first announced its Dual Screen wonder, the Nintendo DS? Like many of you, I immediately imagined playing spinoffs of some of my favorite Real Time Strategy titles on a handheld and even fighting my friends using wireless internet. After giving developers a lengthy grace period there was no doubt in my mind that some company out there would be striking gold with their “first ever successful portable RTS.” 3 years later, we’re still waiting for Command & Conquer DS (wouldn’t that be awesome?) and my initial hopes have shifted into uncertainties. Sure, we’ve seen some attempts at RTS’s out there but when is a game studio going to get serious? Or will we ever experience quality RTS on the DS?

 Glory Days 2 is another title for the DS that I hadn’t heard much of beforehand. Though it seems like a 2D flight simulator/shoot-em-up from the surface, it actually implements an interesting approach to the RTS genre: you never actually command your units as is the case with most RTS titles. However you still have to make important decisions on the fly in order to push your army to victory. And though this isn’t exactly the RTS I’ve been waiting for over the last 3 years, the game’s unique combination of action/RTS is enough to turn my head.

 Decision Making on the Fly (while flying)

What’s interesting about Glory Days 2 is that there is so much going on at once. Two lines of tanks, vehicles, and infantry march 2-dimensionally towards one another and are constantly battling at the frontline. Though you don’t control these units (they march at a steady pace and cannot be stopped) you are given purchasing power over them (after the first couple of missions). Money is obtained by capturing buildings across the map via infantry or rescuing civilians along the way with your helicopter or ambulances. The goal is for your line to reach your opponent’s HQ and destroy it.

 Whilst all of the above action is ensuing, players take command of an aircraft or helicopter to help sway the battle. The catch is that though RTS is a major part of the game, your piloting prowess is the pivotal part of overpowering your opponent (try saying that 5 times fast). Dodging anti air, timing your bomb runs, dropping paratroopers and eliminating enemy aircraft are all part of the pilot’s mission in this game. Strategy aspects are also evident in action form: Should you bomb the enemy’s tanks or go for their funding supply? Should you be fighting on the front lines or transporting infantry to properties or civilians to your base? It’s factors like these that help to seamlessly combine the two genres into one.

War is hell (Sometimes the controls can be too)

The difficult part of the game is that you must take care of all of the above mentioned things at the same time and there really isn’t a perfect set of controls to use in doing so. I started out using the basic control scheme using buttons rather than the touch screen (as they seemed easier from the get go). However, once purchasing troops came into play it was almost necessary to use touch controls to choose the units you wish to purchase (using buttons forced me to stop navigating my aircraft completely every time I wanted to purchase extra reinforcements). This leads to a control dilemma: do you sacrifice precise flying for a more intuitive and quicker purchasing scheme or do you risk temporarily stopping control of your aircraft with a more comfortable flying scheme? All in all, the implementation of the control scheme was about as effective as I could see implemented into the game but nonetheless it is far from perfect and can be a hassle at times.

 My other major complaint about the game is the short campaign mode coupled with minimal cinematics and absolutely no story. Between each mission, players read a small note either from one of the soldiers to a loved one (family, significant other) or vice versa. Rather than have a story, this game relies on an attempt to evoke emotions by the heartfelt notes displayed between the missions. However, despite the small amount of emotions actually brought about in the gamer, there is really nothing that drives the players to continue playing through the 16 campaign missions. In a nutshell, the letters are about the struggles of a few different pilots and their thoughts and emotions are poured into their writing. The only problem is that you don’t know anything about the characters so you never really get attached to them.

 Aside from the campaign mode, there is also a battle mode where you can choose the battle conditions and fight against a computer (not all that appealing) as well as a multiplayer mode that allows you to fight in a battle with up to 7 of your friends. My only complaint with the multiplayer is that the only option is multicard play meaning you won’t be able to fight your friends with just your game (they’ll have to purchase a copy as well). Because of this factor, I was never actually able to experience multiplayer but it looks to be rather fun.

 Musical Masterpiece

 If story is an aspect where the game’s presentation falls short, its music balances the issue by providing you with some of the most stunning songs heard on the DS yet. I would go as far as to say that this game uses the most realistic sounding orchestra of any game on the DS to date. The instruments resonate with full, crisp sound that is great to listen to on both the DS’s virtual surround sound and via headphones. Sure, there is a lack of songs in the game but the quality of composition and instrumentation is what makes this game’s soundtrack so stunning. And, the war tracks make you feel the importance and epic nature of war. The music alone could drive you to play this game.

Visuals are also suitable for the game, featuring hand drawn anime caricatures for the different characters in the story and animation that doesn’t drop its frame rate even in some of the most heated battles. Though the game is two dimensional, the high speed animation and well drawn units keep the game looking very polished. Effects such as multiple mode 7 scaling and weather effects such as snow, rain, sandstorms, and sunbeams make the game even more visually appealing for a 2D side-scroller. All-in-all, the game looks well above average in terms of 2D DS titles.

The Verdict

Glory Days 2 is an interesting take on the RTS world and succeeds in its individuality. Never before have we seen a game that merges the elements of and RTS and a Shooter but this one succeeds at providing a functional, and enjoyable game, despite its control flaws. Though the game isn’t too robust in story (or actually doesn’t really have one at all), this is made up for by the epic soundtrack and high quality animation. If you’re up for trying something new, this game should be enjoyable for your $29.99. Recommended.

Editor review

Glory Days 2 takes War and presents it in one of the more unique formats on the DS. Whether you're an RTS fan or just an action fan, this game should appeal with its unique blend of both genres. Though the game's story mode is a little short lived and the gameplay can be pretty difficult to pick up at times, this is definitely a game that shoudl be checked out (maybe used or clearance).

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