2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Persistence rewarded by perfectly balanced gameplay,
This review is from: Advance Wars: Dual Strike (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
This game sat in my DS case for quite a while after I bought it. Played it a few times on a long-haul flight, made my way through the early training missions, and sort of tired of it. The game is packed with layers to take on board, and unpeels them like an onion at quite a pace. First you're faced with a large range of vehicles to choose from, each with movement range, firing range, firepower and defence, and each with one or two weapons that fare better or worse against different targets. But then almost immediately the game introduces you to terrain, CO strengths and weaknesses, CO powers, vision in fog of war and then eventually combat by sea and air. And then you fight two battlefronts at once using the dual screen. It's quite intimidating but mainly I just wasn't enjoying it very much.
And then something clicked. I returned to it months later and started from mission 1 again. Equipped with a bit of an understanding of what was coming I was no longer on the back foot, learning through mistakes, and was forming strategies and adapting to changing battle conditions. I was picking the right CO for the job, and taking advantage of the weaknesses of my opponent, setting traps, withdrawing troops to recover and battling on multiple fronts. Winning a battle map by land-based conquest and then immediately starting it again with a different CO to see if I could conquer by sea.
This is one of the greatest games I've played on any format, hand-held or otherwise. It has hooks in all the places to draw you in to a quick skirmish or sustain your attention for a massive four-hour battle with multiple opponents. Having made the mistake of attempting one or two of the more difficult maps, only to find myself rapidly and painfully wiped from the field, I am sure that after 60+ hours of gameplay I am far from beating this game. What's amazing is I'm also far from bored with it. It's a measure of incredibly well-balanced gameplay. Victory is never easy but always just about within grasp, and is therefore satifying as a result. And those little XP abilities you unlock as you go, as well as a massive number of battle maps and gameplay modes, keep you playing and honing your game.
Particularly good for those who do a lot of travelling, whether long-haul or just a daily commute.
But yes, you will need a little patience to penetrate it's tough shell.