Review by SparkleSkillz

"War Shines at its Brightest!"

I am SparkleSkillz, and, as you can see, I'm gonna dish out the straight truth on Advance Wars: Dual Strike. This is my first review, and I think it should go to one of my favourite DS games. Advance Wars: Dual Strike is one of the reasons I prefer the DS over the PSP, and one of the reasons that I haven't touched a console game for a month. Without further ado, here we go!

This game will be reviewed under four categories, with one not rated:
1: Graphics
2: Gameplay
3: Sound/Music
4: Multiplayer

1) The Graphics:9-10
Advance Wars has some nice graphics for a DS game, taking into consideration the fact that it is a strategy game. The tiles and terrain are all impressively represented, retaining the simplicity of the first two games while updating the look. The sprites have the smallest hint of a comedic feel to them, bouncing up and down. The artwork(once unlocked) is fair, and it is overall easy on the eyes. The battle scenes, while brief, offer a small, exhilarating rush. Masterfully executed.

2) The Gameplay: 10-10
Amazing. Astounding. Fantastically rewarding. These are just a few adjectives that I could use to describe the gameplay in the game. The game is a standard turn-based title that has you facing off against a computer-controlled opponents in a number of situations, having you build up your army to either rout the enemy forces, capture their headquarters, or fulfill a special third objective(on in certain stages). The variety of units(as well as the introduction of new ones), maps, and modes offers an amazing amount of replayability. The AI isn't quite so linear as it was in the last two games, making no two matches the same. It is really rewarding to watch the fruits of your labour as you lead an offensive charge of tanks, annhilating everything, or carefully scout out enemies using forests and mountains in the Fog of War. The Normal Campaign mode has an amusing story with a variety of quirky characters making an appearance, whether they are old favourites like Max, or new guys like Jake. The numerous(and useful) 'CO Powers' provide great effects that one wouldn't find in another strategy gae, ranging from powering up your troops greatly to doing two-HP damage and conjuring up a snowstorm to healing your units by 2, the list goes on and on. Combat Mode is a 'mini' game which utilizes real-time battling, instead of the staple turn-based fare. You purchase a number of units under a budget, and can only use one of those units at a time. War Room provides a fun challenge by setting you up in challenging scenarios against a partly ruthless AI, and Versus Mode allows you to play against up to three computer-controlled armies, as well as choose the settings of your battle. There are an astounding 27 COs to pick from, each with their own specialties, differing from cheap units for weaker strength to randomly increased damage to stronger air units in exchange for weaker naval units.

3) The Music/Sounds: 10-10
Again, another feature that truly shines here: the music. The different styles of music for each CO's theme keeps the game rolling, and the sounds of a troop of Neotanks blasting their rounds at Artillery, or a Battleship taking potshots at a Tank enhance the feel of the game, and are even better if you listen to them with headphones plugged in. The music also reflects the personality of the CO, whether it be the modernized-classical flow of the calculating, mellow Sonja, or the techno bounce of the insanely crazy Lash. This soundtrack is possibly one of the most impressive that I have heard for a game on the DS, and can even give a few console games a run for their money!

4) The Multiplayer: 9-10
Th multiplayer modes are even better than the main gameplay, as human opponents are more challenging to face and more fun to beat. Both Combat and traditional modes can be played wirelessly with up to eight people in Combat and four in 'Classic'. Combat mode is also Single-Card enabled, which lets you send the game info to your friends and then connect ti go head-to-head or in teams(only available with 4 or more players). It could have been done slightly better, like letting the 'Classic' gameplay downloadable, but it is a stellar addition to the franchise.

5) The Random Stuff: NA-10
Design Mode lets you customize the colours of your COs, your menu backgrounds, or create your own maps to save and play with others. History shows you anything and everything stat-wise about AW, from the amount of times you've lost to the number of Rockets you've destroyed. Gallery is unlocked after beating Normal Campaign, and features artwork of the game. Sound Room is also opened after completing the Campaign, and it lets you listen to all the tunes of the game. Battle Maps is just that-Hachi sells you maps, CO colours, and COs for all the modes after accumulating enough points.

The Verdict:
Advance Wars is one of the best games for the DS to date. Great gameplay, excellent soundtracks, and a fabulous Multiplayer make this a game that you will NOT want to miss if you're into anything gaming!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/27/06

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