An amazing next step for a great franchise, Advance Wars: Dual Strike is great for veterans and new players alike.
Shortly after, I bought a Gameboy SP solely for Advance Wars 2. I have never regretted that decision.
I initially wasn't going to buy a DS, but when I heard that the next Advance Wars installment was on it, I knew it would only be a matter of time. With the DS Lite being released, I figured now was as good a time as any.
I should establish this one thing. Advance Wars already has a solid system, well balanced gameplay, and everything it needs to be the great turn-based strategy game that it is. After I beat and unlocked all that I wanted to in Advance Wars 2, I did not think the game could get any better.
Advace Wars DS takes the idea and blows it out of the water. Intriguing new generals, a host of new unique vehicles, and new gameplay modes all combine to make this latest installment in the series sky rocket beyond anything you could ever imagine.
To veterans, the newest feature that is great is undoubtably the tag system. For those who haven't played it, let me explain. You choose a CO (commanding officer) who is in charge of your troops. Each CO has different strengths and weaknesses, as well as "special powers" that can affect the overall battle. Knowing the strengths (and weaknesses) of your CO is critical to your strategy if you want to win.
The new Tag system essentially lets you pick two CO's for one battle. At the end of a turn, you can perform a "CO Swap" and tag your second CO into the battle. All the bonuses are immediately changed to reflect the new CO's abilities. With this new feature, there are now several combinations for CO's, whose strengths and weaknesses now have the potential to balance each other out, making for some seemingly indestructible match-ups.
For players new to the series, the game's tutorial is practically flawless. It explains everything very well as you go, and you pick up on the nuances of basic strategy very quickly. The dialogue of the story is a little corny, but otherwise the tutorial will teach you all you need to know very quickly, leaving you to discover the subtle depth of the game for yourself.
Other amazing new features include "Dual Fronts," where your top screen actually becomes a secondary battle going on during the main one on the bottom screen. While the main battle is the one you want to win, winning the secondary battle can help you out a lot.
The other new mode is "Combat," a new real time shooting type scenario that is fun, as well as a cool change if you want a break from the turn-based gameplay.
An ok story, amazing gameplay, graphics and sound and a great tuned interface (I personally enjoy using the stylus instead of the d-pad) all combine to make this a must have title for the DS. Whether you enjoy challenging matches against the computer, designing perfect battlefields, or are able to link wirelessly to play your friends, Advance Wars DS has something for everyone to enjoy, easily making this one of the best games available for the DS.