Advance Wars DS is a portable strategy gamers' dream. With 8+ levels of unlockable skills requiring at least 8
hours per CO, the play time of this came could surpass 80 hours easily. Complicating matters would be the unlocked CO skill's
battling your unskilled CO later in the game. An example of the skills are receiving cash for destroyed enemy units,
reducing production costs for your CO by 5%, increased direct fire attack by 5% and a city fighter skill yielding 5% bonus
in cities. Up to four skills can be used at one time by one CO with at least 5 different skills per level.
Two CO's can now be used and switched while playing the game. Kanabei can be used to conduct ferocious attacks and
replaced the next turn with Colin to get cheaper unit production. Coupled with
the skills mentioned above you can customize your skills for power vs profit. After you have filled your CO power meter,
both CO's are filled, you can conduct simulataneous CO super powers to devastating effect on the battlefield.
Another option available in Versus Mode including Design Maps is four levels of AI. Defense, Assault, Normal and Strike.
The AI modes can become very challenging, increasing gameplay value for any given map.
A new History menu item is available in the game. History will provide a through overview of anything you have ever done
in the game with medals awarded for suprassing certain amounts. For example medals are given for XXXXX number of credits.
Multiplayer mode has been revamped with new trading options. Coupled with wireless capability of the DS, Advance Wars
DS will instantly become a classic around any public gaming setting. One word of caution, every player will need a
copy of the game. A copy of the game is almost mandatory from a training stand point. We all know training fellow
gamers can be challenging at times.
All of the game features covered until now, have very little to do with campaign mode. Campaign mode in Advance Wars DS
is just as challenging and refreshingly different as the original editions. Move your troops around obstacles and fight
the bad guys as only Advance Wars can. The tutorials are as always, integrated into the game play and can be quite
frustrating to the "casual gamer" like me.
Graphics in the game are basic with a sort of 3D perspective of the battlefield. Birds randomly fly across during
gameplay. I welcome the large bulky text and simplistic menu system.
Sound is the same as always.
I have enjoyed Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2 for almost three years now.
1) History, I enjoy seeing how many units fell in battle.
2) Three M's, Maps, Maps and more maps. This new version delivers!
3) 3 second average load time to the main menu! No waiting for boring company logo and the idle animations are fun to watch.
4) Two CO's.
5) Customizable AI for Design maps.
6) Customizable skills for CO's!
7) New weapons in game: black bomb (5 damage to all affected units) and megatank.
8) New CO's!
1) Using the stylus, this veteran likes his control based gameboy. Which still works flawlessly!
2) Music, I keep it switched off.
3) Maps in Design Room are not any bigger.
4) Dual Screen battles are to much of a good thing. Luckily they are not the focus of game play either!
on September 25, 2006
I'm a man in my late 30s who used to enjoy video games, but between work, going back to school, and children, I just don't have time for gaming any more. So it's been ~5 years since I tried any gaming system, much less a handheld (which I've always viewed as worthless from a gaming perspective). Recently, I had a long business trip, and friends recommended the Nintendo DS Lite and Advanced Wars: Dual Strike. I bought both on their recommendation and I can honestly say it is a truly fantastic experience. It made the trip fly by, I wasn't even interested in the movie or reading. It even worked great to defuse my frustration about having to wait for an hour in a slow-moving security line. In this review, I'll speak about the game, and will write a separate review for the system.
AW:DS is exactly what I was looking for. A solid, turn-based strategy/tactics game. The Campaign mode did an excellent job of teaching you how to play, introducing new elements over time. As seems to be the norm these days, many elements are not initially available but unlockable after accumulating a certain number of play points. This has the effect of hooking you even more -- you want to just unlock that one extra feature!
Detailed info about the game:
Units include air, naval, and land units in 6 different classes, including transports, units that specialize in attacking only certain types of targets, ranged units, cloaking units (subs + stealth aircraft), bombs, repair units, etc.. Each unit has common stats (vision, speed, range, health, attacks-vs-armor, attacks-vs-soft targets, mobility type, etc.) as well as unique capabilities (extra vision when stationed on mountains, can transport units, can repair, etc.). One of my few criticisms of the game is that I wish the complete stats of the units were available from within the game, as opposed to just descriptive text explaining their capabilities.
Some maps are played with open information, others are played with fog of war. You can choose from a variety of COs, each with unique capabilities and drawbacks, adding an extra dimension to the game.
The game also makes good use of the DS features, such as wireless multiplayer support. Best of all, though, was the use of the 2nd screen. In most cases, the 2nd screen was used for status & details of the selected terrain/unit, and you could always return to that mode. In special circumstances, though, the 2nd screen shows movies related to the mission (e.g. a space weapon powering up). Best of all, though, were the two-front battles (e.g. a battle on the surface and an air battle 30,000 feet overhead). Winning on the 2nd front isn't usually required, but doing so helps you on the main front. In addition, some units can be sent from the main front to the 2nd front, depending on the scenario (e.g., when the 2nd front is a sky battle, only aircraft can participate). The dual screen made for an excellent and unique gameplay experience.
My only quibbles are minor. I wish the "wait" command was not the default for any unit, as too often I mistakenly skipped a unit's turn and was not able to undo. (Either that or provide an undo command.) I wish the Campaign mode allowed you to return to maps you had previously unlocked to show them again. It might be nice if the campaign was branching rather than linear (though there are hidden scenarios with extra bonuses if you work to find them). But overall, this is exactly what I was looking for: a strong strategic game that can kill 15 minutes or 15 hours.
on December 21, 2005
The Advance Wars series is the best handheld strategy series to date. Using a simple interface but complex tactics, Advance Wars has always been a game that the hardest of hardcore or the newest of newbies could pick up and enjoy. Nintendo and Intelligent Systems have managed to bring all of the strategic action to the Nintendo DS in the best way possible, Advance Wars: Dual Strike.
Advance Wars was great, but Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising took everything and made it better. Similarly, Dual Strike is basically AW2 with a lot of new stuff and a continuing story. The Black Hole army was defeated but once again they're trying to recover and gain power. It's up to the Allied Nations of Orange Star, Blue Moon, Yellow Comet, and Green Earth to rise against the Black Hole forces and silence them once and for all. New Commanding Officers come into play and mix up the story, but the old protagonist Andy has been replaced by an annoying new guy named Jake. Jake wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't an Orange version of your typical suburban wannabe...but that's a different story.
The gameplay remains largely intact, with the same turn-based stuff we've all played and loved for four years. Each side gets a turn and the battle cycles around until a headquarters location is captured or all units of one side are destroyed. There are 25 units (which includes six all-knew units) at your disposal, ranging from infantry units to stealth planes. Using different types of terrain for transportation and defense, the goal is to finish each battle with as much success and as few casualties as possible. Every once in a while during the campaign, players are forced to complete missions within a certain number of days or before a missile explodes overhead. These different parameters require for near-perfect strategizing, so progression through the game takes a lot of skill. Capturing different properties is as vital as ever, especially when you factor one of the new properties. Also, using COs and their CO Powers effectively makes things much easier or harder, depending on your skill. As I said, there are several new COs and getting used to their different strengths and weaknesses is going to take a lot of practice.
Some big things that really change the gameplay are the introduction of dual-screen combat as well as tag-team battles with multiple COs. Sometimes it's up to you to win the war on two fronts and defeat an enemy CO while also fighting a completely separate battle at the same time. These matches require a lot of attention and detail because they're essentially two battles in one. Choosing the proper CO for each battle is only the start, because victory or defeat can make or break the whole battle. Fortunately you can control both COs if you wish, but there's an option for AI-controlled COs for newer players. I found myself controlling the other CO myself, because the AI-controlled COs usually went and got themselves killed pretty quickly.
The tag-team battles make up the second half of the game, where you fight a normal battle with two COs. You can switch between the two at any time and take advantage of their capabilities, which makes things interesting. For example, series veteran Max has always been good with tanks but is terrible with indirect units like Rockets and Artillery. If I were getting pounded away by enemy Artillery, I'd probably want to switch Max for another CO so I could counter the enemy without having to get too close. However, if the enemy decided to change its plan and send tanks after me, Max's superior firepower would take care of them with ease. Furthermore, the multiple COs can now unleash what is called a Dual Strike (hence the subtitle in the game's name), where both COs use their CO Powers and attack in the same round. Being attacked with a Dual Strike can ruin an entire battle, but hitting your foes with a Dual Strike gives a much higher chance of winning.
In addition to a 28-mission campaign, there are several other options that deserve credit. Nintendo provides an excellent multiplayer option, allowing up to eight players to wage war using only one cartridge. Also, the War Room mode from the previous games makes a return. New gameplay modes include Survival and Combat. In Survival mode, you are given limited time, funds, or turns and you must finish the battle before that limit is reached. Combat mode is interesting to say the least. It's basically a real-time game where players drive around manually and shoot with the A button. Capturing buildings and destroying units is as simple as before, but you don't take turns doing it. It's not a big enough experience to call a full game, but if anything, it might be interesting to call it a very basic handheld preview of the GameCube's upcoming Battalion Wars.
Something that surprised me was the fact that Dual Strike has good music. Nintendo has never been known to develop the best MIDI handheld tunes, but Advance Wars sounds pretty good. Finally I can play a Nintendo game without turning the music off. The sound effects pack a punch for such a small game, as well. In the graphical department Advance Wars excels with updated graphics from the previous games in the series. The map itself looks similar, but the archaic structures now look a little more modern with a slightly three-dimensional look. The actual cut-scenes through which battles are shown look much better than before. The animation is cleaner, the color is brighter, and the explosions look much more fiery.
I'm just going to come out blunt in conclusion: I love this game. Nintendo and Intelligent Systems have served up three straight strategic masterpieces. The Advance Wars series has always been good, and fans of strategy or the AW series should definitely buy Dual Strike. It's easily the best DS game, and I might go out on a limb to say that it's my favorite strategy game. Advance Wars rocks.
Advance Wars wasn't just a great game, it was, in my opinion, the greatest game ever for the GBA so Duel Strike had a lot to live up to. It is the first game I really looked forward to on the DS. I imagined it being the perfect title for using the touch screen yet ironically I don't use the touch screen at all. The action takes place on the bottom screen while the information is displayed on the top which is exactly the opposite of what I had anticipated. The only thing this really does is eliminate the need to toggle between map and info. The graphics have been slightly upgraded including a more isometric view as well as occasional birds and clouds that float over the landscape. When a battle occurs the screen kind of swoops into the face-off using some fancy scaling.
The core game play remains the same but Duel Strike has a load of additions under the hood. First of all, CO's can gain skills through experience much like an RPG. There are ten levels of growth possible with the tenth giving a surprise. Duel Strike tracks every minutia of playing through an exhaustive charting system that includes things like wins/loses and minute details like how many troops have been joined. After meeting certain thresholds the player will be given a ribbon (up to 300) and possibly a rank upgrade. Oddly enough the designers chose to reward players for both good and bad play. You gain a ribbon after S-Ranking a certain number of battle maps but you also gain ribbons by A-Ranking, B-Ranking and so on. The point is there is a LOT to collect in the game so players will be busy for a long time. To the best of my knowledge the ranks and ribbons serve no purpose beyond bragging rights.
The beauty of Advance Wars is in its simplicity. It is a completely stripped down version of a strategy game but simplicity does not necessarily translate to easy. Rather than focusing on large scale resource management and hundreds of troops the player needs to concentrate on a precise, tight strategy. Every tank and every soldier counts. The game also sets up a wide variety of situations so players will need to be constantly coming up with new battle plans.
With Advance Wars the DS has finally matured into a full fledged system. As someone who bought the DS its first weekend on the market I can honestly say that I was quite concerned that the DS was turning into a major misfire. If you own a DS this is the first game that you REALLY need in your library.
on August 26, 2005
Video games, unlike movies, tend to get better as more sequals come out. However, sometimes they lose the feel as spiffy new graphics trump the roots of the game. Advance Wars:DS not only is better than the preceding AW games (and several others that came before it only in Japan) but it still has the same old rules and feel of the game with plenty of additions to warrant a new game.
-More CO's with balance. (As you would expect)
-3D rendered maps... mountains can cover cities, and the viewing angle is no longer straight downward with cities at an angle.
-Additional strategy through the use of more CO powers and the new Dual Strike ability.
-More game styles. Have friends with the game, but can't stand the Risk-length games? Now you can battle in a multiplayer game style that feels like a cross between Advance Wars and Bomber Man. It may sound stupid, but it's short, sweet fun.
-Many more units. Did you hate how AW2 only had one new tank? Now there are about 8 additional units all with tactics.
-The Touchpad is soooo awesome with this game. Just tap to command.
-2 Fronts... fight a second front, in the sky or another land to make strategic victories.
-So many shiny zooming and flying window effects.
-Still no way to get past all that boring tutorial talk.
-Changed the old downloadable multiplayer game to the bomberman style game. No choice involved.
-Most of the music remained the same, only rendered slightly better.
-Beginning campaign is extraordinarily easy.
Overall, if you have a DS and like strategy or war games, buy this. It's well worth the purchase for when you have anywhere from 5 minutes to kill to an hour.
on September 7, 2007
Advance Wars Dual Strike is a turn based strategy game that pits your army against varying commanding officers in a series of battles over a vast array of landscapes. Its lighthearted nature (many of the commanding officers are quite young and speak in slang) makes it appropriate for kids, but don't let this lightheartedness mask what is an incredibly deep and very enjoyable game.
The basic concept of Advance Wars is simple--you play as a CO (commanding officer) and are given control of an army during a battle. You're up against a CO of the Black Hole Army and can win the battle either by destroying all your enemy's combat units or by taking over their headquarters. The maps have varying terrain that adds an element of complexity to the fights (forests you can hide in, mountains from which some units can see long distances, etc) and forces you to deploy and move your units strategically, and you can take over cities and factories along the way to boost your resources and unit production capability.
A new concept in Dual Strike (I believe this is the 3rd Advance Wars game, though this is the first I've played) is the dual CO battle. Fairly early on in the campaign mode you're introduced to the concept of a tag team battle where you've got control of 2 COs and can switch them and use them for their varying abilities (Dual Strike features a whole slew of COs, each with special abilities and attributes that can aid you in battle) during the course of the fight. This adds yet another element of depth to an already complex game.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike features several single player modes of play, a multiplayer mode, and an option to create your own maps. The gameplay really is incredibly deep as your COs improve over the course of several hours of play (and remember, there are many COs). This is a very deep game, and should provide many hours of entertainment.
-The combat system is simple, intuitive, and easy to use. It takes very little time to get the hang of, yet the battles can and do get incredibly complex.
-The maps are easy to navigate, and stylus is used very well to click on and move your units around the battlefield with incredible ease.
-The many modes of gameplay, vast array of COs, and map creating options give this game a lot of staying power--this isn't one you'll play a couple times and then leave alone.
-Even though its a war game the content is appropriate for people of all ages.
-CO abilities add even more depth to the strategy of the game, and the dual CO option (and the ability to launch combo attacks with both of them) makes the battles even more fun.
-Some of the battles can be fairly quick, meaning you can pick it up and play a battle even if you don't have much time to play.
-The slang some of the COs use gets tiresome quickly and the dialogue is, overall, pretty lousy. It's annoying, but the rest of the game is so good that it's not hard to overlook.
As of this writing this game is pretty difficult to find, even used. If you see it, though, give it a shot--this is a classic.
on November 25, 2005
It is fair to say that the Nintendo DS has had little in the way of "excellent" games. There have been games such as Mario 64 that were astounding as well as decent games such as Meteos. There have been a few innovative games, such as the puppy simulation game Nintendogs and the Warioware: Touched. However, up until now the DS was lacking a solid RPG/Strategy.
Advance Wars DS is, well, Advance Wars. If you've played either of it's predecessors, you've played this one as well in a way. The story mode (absent of a solid plot once again) is back, as well as the ever challenging War Room and the popular multiplayer Versus Mode. What the DS brings is the Wireless battles, a feature never before possible with SPs or any other handheld that Nintendo has dished out. Also new to the series are a Combat mode where the player controls one unit and tries to destroy the opponents by firing at them by either touching the screen or pushing a button, and various Survival Modes, where the player has a limit of either the time, turns, or funds. So, more modes, but how does the rest measure up?
First off is the CO's. Every CO that has ever been in any of the Advance Wars is back, with the exception of the bad guy from the last one, Sturm. In addition, one new member to the main four armies has been added, as well as 5 new Black Hole members. With both CO powers still present, as well as equipable skills such as no terrain penalty for forests or increased attack, there is a character for every playing style.
Second, the vehicles. Good news in this department. AW2 had one new unit, a Neotank. That unit is back, as well as a very fine selection of new units. These include the Megatank, a wickedly massive tank that can destroy complete health tank opponents in one shot, even if the Megatank itself has a health of 7 or 8. The Piperunner, a long distance weapon that can fire on any unit, air / sea / land, that can move massive amounts over factories and pipes. The Stealth plane, a plane that can hide like a submarine and can only be attacked with fighters or other stealths while hidden so. The Black Boat, an aquatic APC that can not only resupply but heal 1 damage. The enemy can use a blob type creature that can move one space only but will instantly consume anything it lands on, even if you are unfortunate to have the nearly indestructible Megatank on that one space :( .
Third, the maps. The maps are decent, and the War Room includes every map the series has ever hosted, as well as plenty of new ones. What the DS brings is the addition of a second battlefront. Unfortunately, unless you are playing against your friends, that second battlefront is always controlled by the computer with little options of you controlling it. Granted, a few missions let you take both fronts, but overall the option is non-existent.
Now, the review by category:
GRAPHICS - It's true, the graphics have little improvement over the prior GBA games. A pseudo (fake) 3D attempt was taken and the cities and trees look slightly three dimensional, but at the same time seem like a glitch with size distortion. No big deal really. The units look nice and the combat scenes are decent. Some facial expression is back, which was absent in AW2, which is nice. Overall, maybe an 8/10
SOUND - I've never cared too much for sound. The combat sounds all right, and some of the themes are catchy. Especially Nell's. Besides that, the sound is tolerable. 7/10
VARIETY - The name of the game is Advance Wars, and warring is the game. Every mode is some sort of fight, be it mission based or free battle. Honestly, the free battles are plentiful and varied enough to be good on their own. The option to wirelessly play against a friend is great and the range is very good. (50 feet with no problems, at least). I give this a 9/10
FUN FACTOR - Ahh yes, the fun factor. I don't know what it is about Advance Wars that makes it so fun. It could be the sheer quantity of CO's, it could be the amount of maps to beat in the war mode, it could be trying to get all 300 medals, or it could even be the satisfaction gained by watching animated men fly away from a bomber's bomb explosions. Whatever it is, it has kept me busy for months, from the day it came out to today, and I'm still only 1/2 done with the War Room. There's just something about this game that keeps the player interested for as long as they want to be. The last game that did this was the original Fire Emblem for GBA. For this, I have to give it a 10/10
OVERALL - Finally, a conclusion is reached. Dozens of CO's, literally a hundred maps, hundreds of medals, and plenty of variety. Another addition that could have been mentioned earlier is that after a certian level of each CO has been reached, an alternate costume can be used for each character. These are really cool, and for example, Sami can take off that army uniform and dress up in a dress and a flower basket. A neat addition to say the least. This game is great to pick up and play in the car, in a study hall, or dare I say in the restroom. Something in me has to keep back a point or so for the similarity to the previous games, given that the DS has a stronger potential. Even saying so, the game is great and anyone looking for a great handheld strategy game that doesn't mind slightly cartoonish graphics should look no further. 9/10
on August 24, 2005
Bottom Line: If you liked the first two Advanced Wars titles, you'll like this one too. (if you hated the first two, don't bother.)
Advanced Wars Dual Strike is just a further tweak on the series. More new COs, more new missions, more new units. The biggest change is you can control the entire battle on the touch screen of your Nintendo DS. While this is cool, the units are small enough that occasionally youcan miss what you're trying to hit with the stylus. For those who get annoyed by this, you can always revert back to the tried and true D-Pad.
The other big change is the top screen is constantly giving you information about the battle. In later missions, it even extends to a separate battlefield, allowing you to use two COs at once.
In any event, this is a must own for fans of the series and fans of turn-based stragety. Real-Time Strategy fans and new players may or may not like the title. People who didn't like the first two won't find anything that different in this game, so they should probably steer clear.
I am new to the Advance Wars series and just picked up a used copy of this game. Of note... if you want to clear all save data (using DSI XL) then hold L, Select, and right on the control pad while STARTING the game and it will load up and ask to clear all data. The instructions were written for the old DS system).
Being new to this series, I have not had the opportunity to play the previous games and so the characters, story, and, well, everything is new. The game makes a nice point of separating itself from previous games. You really don't need all of the back story since most of the characters are treated as being new (they are new to your commanders at least), so you get to learn about them as you play. Since this story is set in a distant land from the previous titles, you really don't need that connection of story lines.
The campaign mode starts slow and the missions are rather easy at first. You don't really need to read the manual, but it is nice to scan through. Some of the tutorials are rather vague about what some units do or what they are effective against.
Around the 8th mission or so things begin to get more interesting. Despite being my first time playing AW, I was grabbing S rank on many of the first missions. Later missions I was regularly struggling to finish off the more persistent enemy COs. There are later missions where you have a finite number of units and once they're gone, they're gone. Other maps you can build and create units. Again this is in Campaign mode).
I also enjoyed that many of the maps require different tactics to win. Not every map has the 'kill all enemies' victory requirement. Some maps will have you taking out specific units, or capturing the enemy base, or destroying a particular fortress.
The music changes based on what commanding officer is currently controlling the action. Each ally and enemy has a unique score. Some are more mellow, others more intense. I like the variety though. I could see many players choosing their favorite COs based on the music (I kind of did!).
The enemy AI is actually pretty smart most of the time. This makes for a good challenge, without the AI being 'cheap'. Instead it seems the AI will select effective units to use against your units. They don't seem to send infantry to attack your tank units too often...
The real treat with this game is all of the amazing additional content. There is the online wifi vs mode of course. But there is a mode where you can battle the computer AI on a number of pre-made maps. The best extra is the ability to create your own maps and then battle on those. You get combat points to spend in the shop where you can buy extra maps and COs to use in these extra modes (as well as to change their clothes/hair color if you want).
I have only been playing for about 8 to 10 hours so far (mission 18), but I plan to continue updating this review as I progress deeper into the game. But so far I can see many happy hours spent playing. And then I can't wait to open up my copy of AW4 Days of Ruin!
on July 26, 2006
Being a fan of both previous Advance Wars games, I was constantly impressed by the new elements thrown into the gameplay of Black Hole Rising. I expected something like this in Advance Wars DS, but the reality was far superior to the expectations.
This game sports no fewer than four new units, the black boat, the aircraft carrier, the stealth fighter, and the megatank. It also continue's Black Hole's inventing spree with new types of bases and weapons to overcome, such as the Black Arc flying fortresses, black crystals, black obelisks, and oozium. The final result of all these creative additions was a game capable of showing me surprising new elements for hours.
While the theory of the game is sound, another important factor is whether the game has plot or is just a hack-'n-slash. In this respect, as well, Duel Strike passed with flying colors. Characters underwent a surprising amount of development for this type of game, and there were certainly more cut scenes than previous games. New COs were thrown in too, listed below.
Orange Star: Rachel, Jake
Blue Moon: Sasha
Yellow Comet: Grimm
Green Earth: Javier
Black Hole: Jugger, Koal, Kindle, Von Bolt
Another interesting thing to note is how much more was included in this game. The campaign mode, hard campaign, war room, versus maps, design room, CO color editing, and the sound room that carried over from the older games may be enough to keep to you occupied for days, but the makers of the game added Survival Mode (with multiple difficulty levels), a real-time Combat Mode, an award room to keep records of every aspect of warfare, the ability to change your COs uniform completely, and a set of background wallpapers to work for. Just when you thought you'd finished the game, a whole new wealth of options opens up.
Now I'll comment on perhaps the biggest addition to the rules of gameplay: Tag and DS battles. Essentially, a Tag battle is where two COs fight on the same side. When both have their CO meters fully charged, they can use a new technique called a Tag Power. This not only uses stronger versions of both Super CO Powers, but it lets you have two turns in the same round. For this reason, a Tag CO Power can easily sway the balance of, or even finish, a mission. The other new gameplay style, DS battles, is fought on both the top and bottom screens. Units can be sent between them, and you can either control the top screen manually or let the AI do it. In any case, it's sometimes an interesting battle when you battle on one front depends on whether you win the second one or not.
If you're a turn-based strategy game lover, buy this game. Heck, if you're a real-time srategy gane lover, buy this game. If you have ever played and enjoyed any type of strategy game, buy this game. For the incredible amount of play it packs into its small cartridge, I'd buy the game for twice what it costs.