Review by Gandalf The Wizard
"One Of The Best Games 2005 Has To Offer"
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is the newest (and most fun) installment into the Advance Wars series. For new players to the series, AWDS is a turn based strategy game where players create military forces and try to capture the opponents headquarters.
With a couple dozen units, and many unique CO's (Commanding Officers) with different abilities. AWDS provides players with hours of fun. AWDS includes many new features and a host of new CO's. AWDS is my favorite DS game I have purchased so far. Since everyone has different standards I grade categories with words instead of numbers, with the exception of the final score. I will grade categories with the terms bad, average, good, and great. Now on to the review...
Black Hole forces return with new CO's in AWDS. When Black Hole plans to conquer Omega Land with their new mysterious black crystals, the Allied forces must put an end to their diabolical plan.
The story is very simple in AWDS. With some funny parts in the dialogue here and there, it is enough to keep you interested. In between missions, CO's build bonds with each other. It's interesting to see how they react to each others presence. Though, the story isn't important in this type of game though...
As said before, AWDS is a military turn based strategy game. Players take turns moving and attacking with their units. The main goal is to capture your opponents Head Quarters or destroy all their units. Some units include infantry, artillery, tanks, battle copters, submarines, recon, battle ships, pipe-runners, jets, and many more.
Players create units by purchasing them with gold at factories. Players get 1000 gold per turn per building captured. The stronger the unit, the more expensive the cost is. That doesn't mean a tank is better than and infantry, or an infantry is better than a tank. It all depends on the situation you are in. Infantry type units are the only types of units that can capture building. The more buildings you have, the more funds you receive. The more factories you own, the more units you can produce. Be careful though, opponents can capture your buildings with their infantry. Damaged units can heal if they sit on a city or base you own. Some maps have Fog of War. FOW covers up unseen areas so enemies can move without you seeing them. Each unit has there own range of sight. Some units have higher vision when atop a mountain. After you beat each mission, you get points based on three categories. You can spend these points in the map shop later to buy maps and CO's.
Units do different amounts of damage to each other. Each unit has 10 HP. For example, anti-air missiles do 10 damage to planes. Infantry do about 1 damage to a tank. Be wary though, if you attack and the opponent is still alive, they will counterattack. Some units can attack from afar with missiles. Another twist is that units that have less HP inflict less damage. All battle takes place a square-type grid with different type of terrain. Forests offer more defense than an open road. Mountains give a great defensive boost, next to your HQ which gives the highest. Some terrain types are sea, plains, road, Forest, shoal, and pipe.
CO's can change the tide of the battle. Each CO has their own set of abilities. One CO gets a higher attack bonus while on roads, while another can see better in FOW. After taking and receiving damage, a CO's power meter goes up. When it is high enough you can use your CO power or Super CO power. These powers can help your force tremendously. Some powers are getting extra movement, extended sight, attack power, extra defense, summon units, etc. One new feature in AWDS is you can use two CO's in one battle. At the end of each turn you can change to the other. This is useful for getting bonuses that you will need for the next turn. When both your CO's have a full power meter, they can unleash a Dual Strike. A Dual Strike activates both CO's Super powers, and allows you to have two turns in a row! If uses correctly, it can be game over for your opponent.
AWDS retains the same style of graphics that its two predecessor had. The menus look colorful and vibrant. You also can set the background picture to whatever you have bought in the Map Shop The overlook of the field is still very basic looking. The overlook would be nicer if there was more detail, but it good enough for what it's used for. The battle animations look great. When bombs explode of infantry, fiery explosions spackle over the enemy. All in all, the graphics in AWDS are simple, nice, and accomplish what they need to do.
Each CO has there own set of tunes that play. Units make noise when firing and moving. The theme song plays when the main menu is up. Nothing bad, nothing amazing.
Control in AWDS is extremely simple. One plus is that AWDS offers touchscreen or button control. Button control is the following. A is select, B is cancel, the D-Pad to move to cursor, and the Start button brings up the menu. Touch control is very self-explanatory. Touch to select. Tap in a shaded section to cancel. For combat mode the touch screen, A, and Y are shoot. The L trigger is used for activating your CO power.
Extra Content/Replay Value/Fun Factor-Great
I'm 12 hours into the game and feel I have barely scratched the surface. With a stat tracker, 300 medals to get, two difficulties, a new real-time combat mode, the War Room, loads of maps to purchase, you'll easily get your moneys worth for this game.
A great game, you won't regret your purchase. It's easy to learn for beginners, and still a challenge for veterans.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/29/05
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