Review by Ofisil

"War is addictive"

Advance Wars is a TBS developed by Intelligent System. This is quite an addicting game, almost as good as some of the TBS games of the PCs. Sure, it ain't perfect but its quite close…

Story: 4/10

Nothing special, the story is there just to spice things up a bit. You are the military advisor or something like that and must guide a small group of cartoon characters like the-too-young-to-fight Andy, the typical macho guy Max and Sami the commando girl. Your mission: simple… kill the bad guys. Avoid reading the dialogues if you are older than 12 years old…

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Replay Value: 10/10

The game starts by forcing you to play a series of training missions in order to unlock the campaign mode and while this is a bit irritating it introduces you to the mechanics of the game. You learn the units and the various cons and pros they have. For example foot soldiers are slow and weak but are cheap and can climb mountains, tanks are expensive but powerful and artillery units can be destroyed very easily but shoot at a great distance. Apart from these we have transport units and naval/air units. Generally there is a great variety in available units and each one can do more than just move and shoot. Finally each commanding officer, (CO) you work with has important differences like better artillery, better foot soldiers, etc and all of them have one special move, like a healing technique, a skill that make your tanks stronger and many more.

Typical mission in the game: The enemy has 10 tanks, 5 artillery units, many choppers and ships and you have only a handful of troops and must use the terrain carefully in order to outsmart the enemy since each square affects the defense\offense and movement of your soldiers. You need to capture neutral or enemy structures in order to get more money and construct more units, although almost in 90% of the campaign you won't have a factory to build units. The controls are simple and the Interface is wonderful, with all the info you need just a button push away. The AI is fierce just like in a chess videogame. The CPU flawlessly moves its units and never forgives your slightest mistake, making the game really tough. Completing a mission isn't impossible, but the fun in this game is to actually manage getting the high rank in a mission, which means that you must be absolutely perfect because even when think you are, instead of an S or A you get a B, forcing you to restart the mission and try to finish the mission faster!

Unfortunately the game is very slow paced. Creating units, moving them and then fighting with them can't take a lot of time even hours and when I say hours I mean it. It can take you up to 1 hour in some missions to just secure a couple of bases. Also after some missions you'll likely to get bored of it. Yes it is addicting in the beginning and quite challenging but you'll soon realize that while you can complete a mission in more than one way, usually you'll choose between the best 2-3 courses of action. Fortunately the game's saving grace is its replay value. There are tons of unlockables, like more COs, Maps and we even have a level editor!!! However these would get pretty boring too if it wasn't for the multiplayer mode! Here is the real fun, since when playing with a human things get tougher, you can use more special strategies and have extreme amounts of fun!

Graphics: 8.2/10
Design: 8/10
Sound: 7.8/10
Music: 7.5/10

Great graphics, very well designed and quite detailed. The units are simple but unique in their design and the only thing that changes between units of different users is the color, with the exception of foot soldiers and the main base of each player. The areas you fight you fight are good too with the only problem the lack of variety… we have mountains, trees, sea\rivers and grass and sometimes snow. The various special effects and small details in the battlefield are quite good but the game shines when a battle between 2 units starts. Then the view changes and we see at a close distance some wonderfully designed units shooting their guns at each other with nice backgrounds surrounding them. Of course these scenes take precious time and you'll soon get bored of them and disable them but they are quite a sight at first. The sound effects are quite good both the in-game ones but especially the ones heard in the small cutscenes that can be seen every time a fight between units commences. The music is good also, with each character having his own theme. Some music tracks are catchy, some are just decent and some are boring , but overall they are ok.

Positives:
-Nice unit variety. Many and different COs
-Many unlockables
-A level editor!
-Very good graphics and overall design
-Prepare to play for days in Multiplayer

Negatives:
-Sometimes a bit too challenging due to the enemy AI
-A bit linear. You can't really experiment with different techniques
-Too slow-paced

Also Play:
Advance Wars (Series)(GBA, DS)
Civilization (Series)(PC)
Final Fantasy Tactics (Series)(PC)
Fire Emblem (Series)(NES, SNES, GBA, DS, GC, WII)
Heroes Of Might & Magic (Series)(PC)
Worms Armageddon (PC)
Z (PC, Playstation)

Overall: 7.7/10

Set all the nitpicking aside, Advance Wars is quite a game, fun and addicting and most of all a great way to munch away tons of batteries while playing with your friends. At arms!!!


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/10/09, Updated 10/28/10

Game Release: Advance Wars (EU, 01/11/02)


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