Review by neonreaper
"A good turn-based strategy game."
Advance Wars: Dual Strike descends from 2 classic strategy games, Advance Wars 1 and 2. If you're a big TBS or SRPG fan and look for challenges, I actually suggest you pick those up before Dual Strike if you can play them, as they're a bit more difficult and you won't have to stop being used to the touch interface. Dual Strike isn't necessarily easy, but it feels like it is aimed at being slightly more accessible, though ultimately the complexity the game offers and difficulty of later missions won't appeal to anyone casual. If you like games like Starcraft and/or Fire Emblem, you should really take Advance Wars for a spin.
The basic description for the gameplay is that it is reasonably standard turn based strategy. You have pair of Commanding Officers (COs), hence Dual Strike, that have special abilities and as you build them up, you can execute a dual strike and devastate the enemy. You receive a certain amount of cash each turn, and use it to develop more military units, like tanks, soldiers, submarines, jets, etc. You capture cities to gain more money, and typically try to capture the enemy base or destroy some special enemy unit. Most early missions are pretty easy, but the difficult steps up sharply halfway through. The final battle is worthy of being an epic finale, though I will say you're mostly not going to experience a ton of problems until then, sharp raise in difficulty or not - I'd say that's the first mission that truly requires sitting back and thinking (and re-thinking) your strategy out for any real length of time.
The story is weak and really just there to facilitate cool tank battles, nothing you'll care about, but it doesn't need to be strong. It does keep the game from really rooting itself in your heart, and you'll just judge the COs for their abilities and their abilities alone. I think this is OK, as the game seems to have other aims in general, with an accessible initial point of entry for the campaign, multiplayer, and hard challenges for the hardcore. Dual Strike packages quite a bit of gameplay and gameplay modes, story takes a backseat and I imagine most fans have no problems with it, though again, it's a bit too bad that the game doesn't also try and leave you with much of an emotional impact.
Graphics are basic, they don't really take away from the game in this regard. It's an effectively simple presentation, which is really what you want in this type of game. The styles are nothing memorable on their own. The game music is good, though effects aren't great - possibly standard at best.
The heart and soul of Dual Strike is definitely invested in the gameplay and level design, and those elements really shine. This is a terrific little game in those regards, and it offers plenty of content even if you're just looking to beat the campaign and leave the other options alone. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, fans of the genre will probably find a new gem, and there's really little to complain about. Nothing is really bad, here. Every gamer that owns a DS really should play the Advance Wars titles.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/21/10
Game Release: Advance Wars: Dual Strike (US, 08/22/05)
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