Advance Wars: Dual Strike (DS) Reviews

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Advance Wars: Dual Strike (DS)

By: Rex Inego | Jan 22, 2007 07:36 PM

Advance Wars veterans will immediately feel right at home with the game, even though they will have to spend time learning the rules of the game in the first missions all over again. Newcomers, however, will enjoy these missions because they serve as a tutorial of sorts which explains how to attack, supply, move, examine terrain, check on your troops, capture buildings, and everything they need to know in order to survive against the Black Hole Army. Dual Strike has one of the most balanced difficulty levels in a videogame; it starts off easy and then quickly ramps up to harder tasks. Gamers shouldnt worry, though, because by the time they get to the concluding missions, they will be as experienced as any Advance Wars professional.

In Dual Strike, you take the role of Jake, an internet-geek, badass-wannabe who will help the Allied Nations return peace to the land by defeating the Black Hole Army. Surprisingly, this army has risen from the ashes, recovered their power and are ready to take over the world. I know, simple military story, but it is interesting enough to keep you wondering all the way to the end. Intelligent Systems fans shouldnҒt expect the complicated, serious-toned, text-heavy storylines that the Fire Emblem series is known for, but instead they will witness a good, old-fashioned and most importantly ֖ unique, sci-fi plot.

Advance Wars fans will instantly notice that Dual Strike isnt much different from the prequels, which isnҒt a bad thing, since the formula works so well. You still have to take turns with your enemy in order to finish a tactical map starting with attacks, and then continuing with capturing buildings, supplying your troops and ending the map by seizing enemy headquarters. You can utilize every type of military unit you can think of, including helicopters, submarines, battleships, jets, tanks, and even the newest additions like the awesome ֓Megatank; they are all here for you to enjoy. As overwhelming as the Megatank sounds, however, there is still a chance that it can be destroyed, just as every single piece of military unit available. But donԒt worry, it is a good thing since it forces you to actually think carefully and strategize your every move, helping you protect every single element of your army even those that seem unstoppable. Another thing that differentiates Dual Strike from previous games is exactly that: the ֓Dual Strike element, which allows the player to engage in battles that take place in the dual screen realm, where they can fight on the ground as well as in the air - all at the same time.

You donԒt really control the characters on the second screen, but you have to assign the troops that are sent to that other screen. Because of this, Advance Wars: Dual Strike gives you a sense of realism, and develops the game further because you are actually seeing everything as if it was seen through the eyes of a commander who is waiting for the results. You are constantly checking up on allies, and controlling every move, all while still fighting the enemy troops. Strategy also plays a huge part in the character assignments, especially because you have to choose carefully what commander is going to fight alongside with you (on the second screen), to see positive results.

By the way, youll also have quite a number of COs (commanding officers) at your command (no pun intended), and each of them has different skills, which Җ combined with the already lofty number of different military units available gives the game a healthy dose of replay value.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike has a very extensive single player mode, which is great news for all of you who love long and rewarding adventures. It is also complemented by a sweet multiplayer mode in which your friends can wirelessly download game data by only using a single-cartridge (via Wi-Fi). Dual Strike֒s multiplayer mode has plenty to offer: four-player battles, the games elusive map editor (which, by the way, is unavoidably easy using the stylus), and map trading are just a few of the many multiplayer options you can enjoy. Something you should note is that some multiplayer sessions can last hours and hours; but letҒs face it: that is hardly a negative.

One of the DS-exclusive multiplayer additions is the Combat Mode, or as some would call it ֖ the long-rumored real time modeӔ. Here, you can play against eight of your friends, controlling a single unit who has to defeat abundant enemy troops and protect its terrain. This mode borrows heavily from the turn-based campaign, and while it is a fun little addition to the multiplayer mode, it is nowhere near as enjoyable as the main mode. It is simply a fun Easter egg, that is all.

At first glance, Dual Strike may look a lot like the Game Boy Advance versions, and really, it does. But that does not mean that Intelligent Systems simply reused the GBA graphical engine on the DS. The superb artwork and the little 3D details offered in the battlefield make Advance Wars: Dual Strike one of the prettiest 2D games ever made. The animation is awesome, and as in previous entries ֖ every character has a unique presentation which is supplemented with fantastic music and sound effects that give the game an outstanding wowӔ factor. In the end, Dual Strikes presentation is extraordinary, with its colorful presentation, and some of the best music available on the DS.

Pros: Long single player mode Loads of multiplayer modes

cons: Stylus isn't really needed

conclusion: Sure, you can enjoy Kirbys extraordinary canvas adventure, puzzle your way through meteoric battles against Geolyte, or even have a quiet, comforting afternoon with your cute Nintendog. But nothing, nothing can prepare you for the incomparable combat experience that Advance Wars: Dual Strike offers. This is the definite must-have title for the Nintendo DS, and is the game that will prove once and for all a reality that you may not be aware of: war can be entertaining.

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