Artist touch: The artwork here introduces several new characters to the series but I don't think having a dork like Jake on the cover is such a good idea. Cover art rating: 8/10
Special note: Although every one is buying a DS for games like Nintendogs and Mario Kart, this is the game here that made me finally get one.
|Introduction and Story:|
have been a bunch of great games in 2005 but one of my favourite titles
of the year was not a very high profile one. Although war isn't the most
popular thing in the world (just ask George W. Bush), Nintendo and
Intelligent Systems are still making some of the best war video games
on the market today. Advance Wars 2 (or Famicom Wars for Japanese
players) was one of my favourite titles on the Gameboy Advance but
despite how good it was AW2 wasn't a huge leap over the original game (there
was only one new vehicle for one thing!). After a few years later we now
have the third edition of this cute but highly addictive strategy series
exclusively for the DS but is it just a minor upgrade or one juiced up sequel
with tons of new stuff?
So what the heck is going now here? After the four countries of Marco Land successfully pushed back the invading Black Hole army in AW2 it looked like all the fighting was finally over. Unfortunately, even though the former leader of the Black Hole army (Lord Sturm) is dead, that doesn't mean the rest of the forces still can't cause trouble else where. Now the evil Black Hole army has a brand new sinister leader causing havoc and the new plan is to conquer the huge peaceful Omega Land continent and turn it into a desert. You must now act fast and command the rest of your armies to avoid certain disaster.
|Controls and Game Play:|
the last title Advance Wars DS here is still a turned based tactical
strategy game where you command your cute candy coated armies that range
from foot soldiers, tanks, boats, and air units in order to regain land
taking over by the enemy. Once you moved and or purchased all your units
you can then it's your enemy's turn to strike back (much like in other
turn based games like Nectaris).
Each of you continue fighting back and forth this until there is a winner.
|Graphics and Sounds:|
this game series to the Nintendo DS also means you don't have to switch between menus anymore
because most of the top screen displays it now. You can view game's stats like
terrain effects, vehicle information, and how many units are currently
on both teams. The second screen is a big help and it can also be used
for some of the game's special story line missions too. The actually in-game graphics are also slightly improved over Advance Wars 1 and 2 unfortunately.
The view of the overhead maps is now on a slight angle so it looks kind
of 3D plus there are other touch ups like transparent clouds and seagulls
flying around but other then that everything still looks the same. Even
the CO character art still look like basic cardboard cut outs here and
there is no voice acting here either.
That brings me to the sound for AWDS here. Sadly when Nintendo took the series over DS they still left the music on the 'suck' setting. Although a lot of the sound effects are more realistic this time around, a lot of the music has just been directly lifted from the older games so the background music for characters like Grit, Drake, Eagle, Kanbei (his is especially bad) and Andy are all still very very crappy. C'mon, the DS can do better that this! OK, some of the newer tracks for Lord Bolt and Sasha are pretty good but I often find myself just turning the volume down when playing. There is no voice acting either but maybe that's a good thing with Jake's lame one liners like how he just served someone or dropped a phat beat. Hopefully the next game (Day of Ruin) will measure up though.
Advance Wars Dual Strike isn't a huge quantum leap over the last game. Both the graphics and sounds are not pushing the limits of the system by any means and most of the turn based game play is the same as well but if it isn't broke why fix it, eh? Advance Wars Dual Strike just gives the fans more of what they love of the last games like more vehicles, more maps, more options, better artificial intelligence and less annoying menu surfing thanks to the two screens. Don't worry fans, it is still insanely addictive game of war but now it's just better on the DS. Not only is Advance Wars Dual Strike one of those sleeper hits of 2005 but it is one of the best games I ever played.