Review by ReZips

"The First Great Game for the Nintendo DS"

It's hard to imagine that Advance Wars, one of the best Turn Based strategy games ever made, came out on the Gameboy Advance only 6 years ago. But alas, it did, and when it came out, it revolutionized the turn based strategy genre. With its addicting gameplay, great characters, and variety of weapons and maps, Advance Wars was one for the ages. Then, the semi-sequel came out in 2003, which didn't really add that much to the series besides some new maps and 1 new unit. But now, we have Advance Wars: Duel Strike, or so eloquently put, Advance Wars DS. This game is the true sequel that fans of the series have been waiting for. New play mechanisms, a TON of new vehicles, many new stages and characters, and the best create-a-map mode to date, not to mention 8 person wireless multiplayer.

But for those of you who don't even know what Advance Wars is, let me explain it to you. Advance Wars is a turn based strategy game, meaning you and your opponent take turns making moves. Advance Wars is based on, obviously, war, but does so in a comical fashion. No blood or guts or dieing people are ever shown, so rest assured you won't be grossed out by this game. When you “kill” an enemy, they just blow off screen. You control different vehicles, either from land, sea, or air, and your mission is generally to capture the enemy HQ with one of your foot soldiers. The game gets fun when you get into the strategy part of it. Certain units are better than others, but cost more to build. Some units can only attack others. There are formations and strategies that you can use to win.

But the fun comes in the diversity. With the new Advance Wars, you add onto the already impressive list of vehicles. New to the list are the Aircraft carrier, black boat (which repairs boats at sea), Mega Tank (this thing is just a beast), pipe runners (vehicles that glide along pipes in certain maps and can cause a lot of damage), and my personal favorite, the Stealth Bomber. There also are over 100 new maps, with mechanisms new to the series, such as the addition of tag team battles, where you and a partner team up against an opposing team. This of course leads into the best feature of any Advance Wars game, the multiplayer. Advance Wars is a series akin to Mario Party that is known for its addictive multiplayer action. In past Advance Wars games, up to 4 players could connect via the link cable and duel it out. But now, with the Nintendo DS, up to 8 players can now fight, all wirelessly! And there is even the addition of a new multilayer feature called combat, which is a real-time strategy mini-game within Advance Wars.

Gameplay: 10/10
Obviously the best part of the game. This is just one fun game. Now, playing all the campaign missions, war room missions, and creating a map can be a great amount of fun, but with 8 player multiplayer, the gameplay aspect of this game zooms past its predecessors. The new dual-screen mode and new vehicles are a welcomes addition, as is the new real-time mini game.

Graphics: 8/10
Though the graphics on the Gameboy Advance were great for the game, adding a sort of 2D-comic book style, the new version on the Nintendo DS felt as though it needed more. The DS is a superior system in terms of processing power, so the graphical leap was to be expected, yet what we find are the same cartoonish graphics. Though these are good graphics (hence the 8), they felt as though they needed to be stepped up a notch due to the overwhelming gameplay additions. They still fit the series well though, and do not distract at all from the gameplay.

Sound: 9/10
The sound applies the same as above, though this time some new sounds were added for the Nintendo DS. The same cartoony explosive sounds and gunfire can still be heard, but a new instrumental is added, though sparse. The reason this is a 9 as opposed to an 8 is because the sounds did not feel like they needed improvement, as the graphics did.

This is what the Advance Wars series is known for: Replayability. I STILL play the original Advance Wars, and it feels as fresh as ever. The multiplayer never got old, and the maps were still as solid as ever. The new Advance Wars is no exception. In addition to the 100+ maps and multiplayer mode, you can create your OWN map using the touch screen, meaning nearly infinite replay value. The real-time mini game just adds to the already impressive array of options, and the main game has a hard mode so that you can play it again and it feels like a new game. There is also the War Room, which is an entirely NEW set of maps. This game will NEVER get old to you.

Final Thought:
Though physically, there is nothing new about this game, because of the same graphics and sound quality, the gameplay is at its best, and there are plenty of options to keep this game going for months to come. Multiplayer battles and the War Room are what send this game high above the rest, and the create-a-map will give you many hours of additional fun. But the core of this game is the campaign, and it is so rarely said of how great the Advance Wars's campaigns are. A great story accompanies a great learning experience, and a novice can feel like a master in minutes. This is truly one of the best, if not the best, DS game made to date. If you own a DS, make sure this is part of your collection.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/09/05

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