Pros: 27 CO's to pick from, infinite replayability, more units
Cons: Not truly an RPG but rather a thinking game.
With the release of Advance Wars DS, the game had already established itself as the best strategy game on the Nintendo Gameboy platform. No one ever dreamed that they could add more immersive gameplay to an already fantastic series. Advance Wars DS offers near infinite flexibility in game play which gives the casual gamer the joys of a new experience every time they play.
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 game 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 simultaneous 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 surpassing certain amounts. For example three medals are given for spending 500,000, 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 worth 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 since I already understand the basics of gameplay.
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 which makes playing the game easier in bright light conditions. While it is true that the game offers no true 3D visuals, the 2D views and scrolling backdrops throughout the game make it a pleasure to watch.
Sound is the same as always, but with an enhanced stereo effect. The background or BGM music in this game is very good. Each of the CO's in the game have their own theme song that plays during battles.
For example, Hachi (my favorite CO) has a cool, laid back, island theme BGM that I often play while working around the house! Yeah, it may be a little extreme but pick up a copy and listen today!
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!
Advance Wars DS is the best release of the series to date eclipsing the previous games and even the later game Advance Wars Days of Ruin which has a much darker theme that also alienates the old CO bonuses. The bad news is that this game is out of stock at many online retailers and going for over 40 dollars on Ebay so get your copy soon.