Review by ZAFDeltaForce

"Must-have for the wargame enthusiast"

This game, a sequel to the previous Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black hole Rising has found its way to the Nintendo DS with of course brilliant results. Advance Wars: Dual Strike, the third installment for the famous Advance Wars series has more to offer, with more Units, Commanding officers and new modes of play. And let us not forget the near limitless replaybility this game offers.

Gameplay: 9/10
The gameplay is very similar to the Advance Wars series, but with the new installment of the top screen, allows players to not only command troops on the touch screen, but also on the top screen. Controls for the game is extremely basic, and due to the fact that this is a Turn based Strategy game, allows players to sit back, think, and devise strategys/tactics for as long as they want. The difficulty of the game varies from player to player. Some may find the game difficult or tough, but practice in the "Versus Mode" would greatly sharpen and build up skills.

Many wargame enthusiasts would definitely feel comfortable and blend into the game, but this of course would not mean non-wargame enthusiasts (standard gamers) would not enjoy the game as much. After a couple of battles, many would be instantly hooked to Advance Wars: Dual Strikes' deep story, interesting characters and of course the wide variety of units(Air, Naval, Ground units) to command.

Graphics/Sound: 8/10
The graphics are somewhat simple and similar to the Advance Wars series. The only difference would be the slight "3D" touch to the game. Every battle shows 2 different settings. One, would be the whole map consisting of enemy and allied units, and two, the clash between the opposing forces, otherwise known as the battle animation. In a standard clash (say, a battle between two tanks), the screen would be divided into two. One would be your units' and what terrain they are on. The second half would be the opposing tanks and the terrain they are on.

With guns blazing and cannons firing at each other, the sight is indeed very satisfying and entertaining. For sounds, this game has byfar one of the best audio to offer. With crystal clear sounds and battle "sound effects", the audio would truly surprise a gamer famaliar to the previous Advance Wars titles. Each character (Commanding Officer) has his/her own kind of tune, giving richness and variety in gameplay.

Play time/Replayabliity: 10/10
As mentioned above, this game has near limitless replaybility. After completing the campaign, a new, harder campaign would be avaliable featuring new maps, new missions and a whole new difficulty. Also, the "Versus Mode" and "War Room" contributes to the games replayability. These modes are technically "skirmishes", a term familiar to the wargame enthusiast, or in other words, fighting against your friends/CPU on chosen maps for the versus mode. For War room, they are kind of like one map mission where you will be graded for the time you have taken to defeat the enemy, the techniques you used and your approach to the enemy.

Also, they are a large number of items and things to unlock. Such as Commanding officers to be used in versus/War Room modes, maps and two more functions. This game includes a map editor, allowing players to design their own maps to play or trading with other players.

Included in the game is multiplayer, where you can not only fight with more than 2 CPU enemes but also friends who have a DS. It is not necessary for all participating friends to have the game, as "Download Play" allows data to be downloaded to nearby systems. It is also unnecessary for all to even have a Nintendo DS system, as you can only use one Nintendo DS system and one Advance Wars: Dual Strike game card to allow up to 4 players to play. Being turn based, it is possible to allow others to play by selecting versus mode, and opening another slot for a human player. The Nintendo DS would then be passed around, turn after turn until the game ends.

For the play time, it is not surprising for one to have more than 100 hours spent on the game. Excluding 50 - 100 hours trying to unlock every single unlockable and another 50 - ? hours more to the countless raging battles in versus or war room modes.

Final Recommendation:
This game is definitely worth buying for all sorts of gamers with different interests. It is, however recommended to rent this game before buying for those who are uncomfortable with war/strategy games. This game is perfect for a casual gamer as you can pick it up anytime and have a battle or two. It is possible to save inbetween battles (including missions) as well.

Returning the game to the shop is highly unlikely, as this game has just too much replayability to return. Some have returned the game with regretful outcomes, and others with pure frustration of losing all their efforts put into the game, sweet memories of humuorus characters, funny moves played by CPUs and others.

All in all, this game is indeed one of the best in its genre and of course a must-have for all DS owners who are looking for a decent game with tons of replaybility, great campaign and interesting storyline.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/21/06

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