Review by CyborgSage00x0

"There should be no reason not to own this game."

Ahhh....Advance Wars....a game with a history of giving people as some believed the only worthy TBS game out there. It's hard to blame them.

The first Advance Wars game, in my beliefs, is flawless. AW2 wasn't as good, but it was AW fun, no matter how you spin. Now the brilliant folks at Nintendo and Intelligent Systems(who also made Fire Emblem7 and 8) give us another slice of heaven with AW:Dual Strike. Now, let's take a look at this sequel of one of the greatest games of all time.

GRAPHICS: 10/10
The graphics, as you have noticed, recieved only a slight facelift with the power of the DS. Is this a good thing? Hell yeah it is!

AW has always shined as a 2D game, and it's hard to imagine it as 3D(although Battalion Wars for the GameCube looks promising), so its hard to complain about graphics. Every tree is lush green, the water is blue, airplanes have wings...its all the basics, but i wouldn't want it anyway else.

All-in-all, you will be hard-pressed to find better 2D graphics, and everything looks great!

SOUND: 9/10

The sound is basically where i want it to be. There is all the sound effects of missle's launching, helicopter blades spinning, the sound of tanks moving...it's all there, and does it's job.

The music is basically little track of Techno-like sounds, but mostly you will be lisening to what sound like an inside of a metal factory. If you can imagine that. Some of the music is really cool, and can getting your blood pumping and those TBS juices in your brain working. And the Boss battle music is usually pretty cool. These tracks do tend to play over and over again, but thankfully, the music is enjoyable.

Bottom line: The music sets the pace and works with the game.

STORY: 6/10

The story is the ONLY part of this game that really isen't fantastic. basically, you are fighting Black Hole's team again in another land, and you don't know why(until much later in the game.) Basically, they failed at thier last invasion take-over, and are starting a new one.

To me, the story justs feels lazy. really, not a ton of thought put into it, and doesfeel a little annoying. I mean, you spent all that time defeating them, and 1 game later, they are back again!? Come on....

But thankfully, AW isen't one of those games where you need a good story to have a fun time.I basically ignored it to figure out all the cool new elements that make up AW:DS. You DO get introduced to a few new charaters...but overall, the story is weak.

Bottomline: A weak story in this game, but thankfully, it shouldn't hinder your gameplay expierence.*

*Note: Black Hole returning should not be considered a spoiler, because this fact is mentioned on front of the AW:DS box.

GAMEPLAY:10/10

This....is....without question.......the best part of this game.

Seriously. EVEN IF YOU ONLY SLIGHTLY ENJOY TBS GAMES< YOU MUST PLAY THISS!!!

Heres what they did: Take the groundbreaking formula from previous games, add a ton of new stuff, stir, and you get a gem of greatness!

In essance, it's the same type of formula: Build an army using funds, attempt to crush the enemy army of capture thier HQ, all while paying close strategic attantion to the action, and being aware of other gameplay elements, like Fog of War, etc., all in attempt to win!

Well, this is good, because without this first formula, AW....well, it just wouldn't be AW. But the good people at big N and IS went many steps further and added a ton of new content, most of it using hte DS system's unique features.

First off, action can be handled by the d-pad or the touch screen. I myself like the touch screen better, as it lets you select units faster, map their movement faster also. To me, this greatly speeds up the strategit process.

Next, using the top screen, you can now fight in not 1, but 2, yes, 2 battlefronts at the same time! This really does give you huge options and alot more to think about. Units can even be moved to the next screen, but without laserlike precision, doing all 2 battlefront maps can be a tricky task to perform. When the top screen is not used for the 2nd battlefront, it usually displays unit information and such.

Next, is your CO's. Your CO's have cool new abilities. One of them is that you now have the ability to play as multiple COs! Thats right, and on the same map, too! This is made great by the ability each CO has. They give kinda like a feild power bonus, if you will, that can alternate a tonof things. For example, Jake gives tanks extra attack power and abilities in open-field combat. Nice! But, say, next turn, you need better air support for an air raid? Switch over to Eagle and soak up the power of your now stronger airforce! Cool, huh? You can only switch after your turn, but this element of gameplay is key if you want to really dominate your opponent's.

Also, for CO's, after each victory, they gain experience depeding on how well you did in the previous skirmish. Eventually the points add up, and your charater can level up. After a while, your CO can earn special abilities, like attacking in snow gives you a 20% attack power. And you get to unlease other abilities when your CO gauge is full.

And here's where it really gets cool. When usuing 2 CO's, once both of their gauges are full, who can unleash a Dual Strike attack. This means you can unleash an ultimate attack where both of your CO's attack within the same turn. That's right. You can unload huges cans of damage on your foes, causeing them to think twice before crossing you again. Now, the flip side of this is that your FOES can also use this! This puts extra pressure on you to accomplish the mission before your foes decide to unload on you!

Obviosly, there are also new units. This includes the ultra fun Stealth Bomber, capable of being invisible to your foes and dealing a good amount of damage. There is also the Mega-Tank, which is the king of all tanks, capable of destroying anything and everything in it's way.

Bottomline: This is the part of the game that makes it so desirable. Between the tried-and-true battle system, to the new goodies added, this is one expierence you don't want to miss!

MULTIPLAYER:10/10

This game is an awesome laced cake without the multiplayer, but the fact that it exists and that it is holy-crap amazing just adds the frosting.

Hook up with your buddies via wireless or download play, it doesn't matter. And proceed to pound the crap out of each other or work together. There are few things more satisfing than destroying/working with your friends in all the AW:DS
goodness. And the fact that you can trade custom-made maps in the map customazation mode(using the stylus and touchscreen to do this is as simple as brushing your teeth) makes this the must have handheld game in a long time.

Bottomline: Multiplayer will add unlimited amounts of replay value to this game, and easily justifies the $35 price tag.

REPLAY VALUE: 5/5: VERY high

You will be popping this game in to replay it years from now.

Overall: 10/10(not an average)

This game is awesome in just about everyway, and easily the best handheld game out for any system in a while. Buy it now, without any questions, because you will thank me. Even if you don't enjoy the TBS expierence, its really, really hard not to like this game. Rookies to this game might find the learning curve a little steep, as AW games are usually known to be a little hard the first time around. It's a little easier than previous instalments, but you will love this game, no matter what.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/29/05


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