Review by Raditz_Mage

Reviewed: 01/16/06

Initiating Fun Sequence

This is my first review, so give it a little grace if you don't like it. Anyways, I got onto the Advance Wars series late, with Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising being my first game of the series. I after a long hunt to get the game (don't ask), I played it and became addicted to the series. Then, when I first heard that this game was coming out, I was bummed. I didn't have a DS, so I'd miss it! Until Christmas. Got both the game and the DS. So, naturally, I put it in my DS and pressed the power button.

Instantly I was amazed. I've never heard of Survival and Combat modes before. But, as customary, you need to play Campaign mode first. Started it up and read through the prologue. The tutorial missions, though necessary, seemed to drag on for too long. Seeing as how short the story is, I was appalled to be still learning things nearly half-way through. But, I passed through a happy man. Though I will not go into detail about the story for spoiler reasons, I can comment that it was very fun and interesting.

Beyond that, there are some new COs, but some of them just feel rushed. For example, people like Javier and Rachael and even Jake all (in my opinion) had no amazing distinguishing qualities as all the others did, and it seemed like Intelligent Systems was running out of ideas. To make matters worse, two of the bad guys are just two of the old bad guys with different artwork. Mainly, Flak and Adder equal Jugger and Koal. No all. However, with additions like Sasha and Grimm, you can afford to look that fact by.

Survival Mode. An interesting new mode that lets you play through a series of maps with a choice of three limitations. They are limited money, limited time, and limited turns. Combat mode is an interesting mini-game that acts like a real-time battle. However it is very limited and has little to offer after awhile. But in the end they're both two nice additions to the game that I am interested to see what they do with them in the next game.

As earlier, you can buy things from Hachi's in-game shop, but I guess they thought that the "earn the maps to buy them" mentality wasn't good enough. Save for a few extras, they automatically give you everything you can buy. The exception is like hard mode for things as well as wallpapers and COs. The COs come in bulk after Campaign Mode, though. The only problem is Hachi's gossip is limited to somewhere around six different sayings. In all the times I've been there, about eighty percent he told me the same thing about Grimm. Not that it's really important or anything, I would have just wished if it was better.

The sound in this game is incredible. Each CO has his or her own theme which will play when it is there turn. There are also a few others which are nice. And, if you've known Advance Wars before, you'll know that the graphics aren't anything special, but they look real nice regardless.

Now, the game plays nearly the same as its two prequels do. This game is a turn-based strategy that calls for tactical prowess using the various powers of the COs. By capturing an HQ or routing the enemy's troops, you can claim victory. It's a extremely fun war-sim. With the addition of six new units to your arsenal the game hands you more ways to achieve your objective. The new units, unlike many of the COs, are very imaginative. Whilst the Megatank is just a super-Neotank, something like the Black Boat which is the sea-apc and the stealth fighter, you can imagine the new possibilities.

Another thing this game introduces is tag-team powers. And to reach tag-team powers, you must first play with two COs. That's right. You can now play two COs at once. You control one while the other waits in the back, the when you switch you can use the other CO. Only problem is that switching causes you to end your turn. Tag Powers is why the game gets the name dual strike, because you get to attack twice. Although this is indeed awesome, it undermines the Super Powers your CO can have, making them near useless.

Finally, this game also introduces medals. These medals are given to you when you reach a certain achievement. Unlike other games in which it is near impossible to earn a medal, it's quite easy. But that's because there are three hundred of them for you to collect. Not easy.

--Final Analysis--

Gameplay: 10/10
A fun war sim that any player difficulty can enjoy. I sound like a salesman, don't I?

Sound/Graphics: 9/10
Nice, which is what you can expect from an Advance Wars game.

Story: 9/10
Sturm, where art thou?

Concept: 7/10
They threw so much into this game that only sixty percent of it is good additions.

Replay Value: 9/10
Fun, and always a nice pick up game, but repeated play in a short amount of time can get tiring.

Multiplayer: 8/10
Can get long. Don't know about Wi-Fi.

Final Report: 9/10
A great game that any DS owner should have, and a nice addition to the Advance War series.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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