Advance Wars: Dual Strike is the best strategy action you can have on the DS, and should not be missed by anyone.

User Rating: 9 | Advance Wars: Dual Strike DS
The Famicom Wars games on the NES were revolutionary for the time, as nothing quite like them (turn based strategy) were on the market. Nowadays, we have tons of strategy game, being the real time or turn based. And the mother of all of them still is alive in the Advance Wars series. Can its third overseas incarnation, Dual Strike, keep the magic of its predecessors? Let's check.

GRAPHICS:
The graphics for the game are the same as for the previous two GBA games. It uses the same sprites and slightly modified character portraits. It may come off as lazy to some, but it gets the job done, and it looks nice for the kind of game it is. Also, the screen now is straight as it was before; you now have a tilted look on the action, and it doesn't increase or decrease the challenge, but is a very nice feature that looks awesome. 3.8/5

SOUND:
The music in this game is simply amazing. Every single character has a different theme, and since there are many, you will be listening to many different ones. Also, they all sound great. Though, nothing compares to the Tag Power theme, which is impossible to describe in words. I will just say that it is one of the best fits of any moment in video game ever. 5/5

STORY:
The game takes place after the events of the second game. After Black Hole's defeat on the second game, they have been rebuilt, and are launching and attack on Macro Land to take its energy to be used on their evil deeds.

To be perfectly honest, there were two things I was thinking while playing this game: this is a simple, yet engading plot, but it could have been more. It is rather satisfying, and enjoyable, but there is nothing really special about it. What really drives the story are the characters. Like I said already, this game has a reasonably large cast of characters, and they all have unique personalities, and have enough screen time to feel unique. 3.8/5

GAMEPLAY:
This is a turn-based strategy game. On every mission, you have to select 1 or 2 comanders (called COs) onto the battle field to defeat the enemy's troops.

The gameplay is pretty much untouched from the GBA game: you have to move your units over enemy's units, attack them, and by defeating all of them on the level, you win the mission. The missions can also be defeated by capturing the headquarters of your enemy, which grants you an instant victory. The same aplies to you: if your base is captured or all your troops die, you lose. It is a tried and true formula that works well here, specially with a few new additions. The mechanics are still very fun.

One of the things that separate Advance Wars from other strategy gamess are the COs you take into the battlefield. Each have a different atribute to them, such as having better tanks, but worse infantry. Chosing the best CO to certain missions is a big part of the challenge of the game. Also, after a few battles, they can unleash a special move, which normaly increase your firepower by quite a bit. Your enemy also have those, and when they use it can be very dangerous.

The big addition of this game is that, when you have two COs, you can use a Tag Power, which uses the power of both of them in the same round, which can be deadly. Some COs, such as Jake and Jess, have special attributes together, since they both increace tank power with their individual CO power. So chosing mathcing COs to a battle can be very useful, but you are free to chose whichever you want. The Tag Power is incredibly fun to use, but they are a bit unbalanced, and can turn the tables like no ones bussiness. When the enemy uses it, you can prepare to suffer.

In terms of difficulty, the game is a roller coaster. It starts of deceptively easy, but as it progresses it can get pretty brutal. The amount of multitask you have to do in one mission can be kind of stagering, and there is normaly a lot you have to pay attention. However, with patiece and a good strategy, it is manageable, and the difficulty never gets cheap.

Besides combat, you also have to capture several bases to build more units, and cities to get more Funds, which is the money. The best tanks cost quite a bit, so you have to think well in getting many weak ones, or one or two very good ones. It just adds more strategy to the game. On infantries and mechs can capture the bases and cities, so you basicaly have to have a few of them at a time.

There are three types of combat in the game: land, naval and air. Land is the most basic and the most plentiful. Air is probably the most useful, and having a bomber or a stealth can be a god send in some levels. Navel is pretty situational, as you won't be using it very often, but it is a nice variety, and can be pretty useful.

Besides the main campaign (which can last up to 14 hours), there are extra maps to play and a robust online play, which will keep you entertained for a long time.

Overall, Dual Strike keeps the same amazing gameplay of the series, and has neat additions and refinements that just make it a blast to play.
5/5

OVERALL:
Strategy games don't get much better than this. Dual Strike perfects the formula, with amazing additions, a long and replayable campaing and many bonuses. This is a must play for DS owners.


The good:
-Attractive visuals
-Soundtrack is catchy and a lot of fun to listen to
-Gameplay is smart and challenging, besides a lot of fun
-CO powers and Tag Powers add variety

The bad:
-Can be very hard at times
-Tag powers can be overpowered at times