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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2008
Advance Wars: Dual Strike has always been my favourite game on the Nintendo DS, possibly even my favourite game from the past few years, racking up over 120 gameplay hours on it over the 2 years that I've had it. So when I heard that there was a sequel coming out, I just couldn't wait and I wasn't dissapointed in the slightest. In fact, it even exceeds my expectations.

Simply unbeatable. The actual structure of the gameplay is fairly straight forward - you have an army of units where you take it in turns with your opponent(s) to move your units strategically and eliminate all of their units or capture their HQ.
The game can either be played using the stylus and touch screen (which is my preferred way of playing, as it is faster and easier to use) or by using the d-pad and A, B, X, Y, L & R buttons.

The visuals on the map screen in Dark Conflict aren't the best and aren't much better than they were back on the Gameboy Advance AW titles. The new gritty style to the game adds more seriousness to it and the animations do seems to be a lot better than the previous DS game. It just goes to show though that next-gen visuals are not all a game needs to make it brilliant.

SOUND - 3/5
Dark Conflict has lost it's quirky, memorable Nintendo tunes that were present in Dual Strike and have replaced it with rock guitar music that is ok, but not great. It does fit in with it's new image very well however.

Endless. Like I said earlier, Dual Strike kept me entertained for over 120 hours (and probably would have kept going if this hadn't been released) so with the addition of the online play via Nintendo Wi-Fi and the 100+ maps on the single player Free Play mode (as well as Story, multi-cart and map builder modes) this game could literally be played forever with unlimited gameplay. There are also 270 medals to win, so once you start playing you will get addicted and try to win all of these.

The only thing missing from Dual Strike was the online play, now that Dark Conflict has this feature, this game couldn't be more complete. Unbeatable gameplay, unlimited lifespan and endless entertainment. What more could you want? Good-bye social life!

- EDIT 05/02/08 -
After playing this for a good 2 weeks now, I must warn that if you are new to the Advance Wars series, it may be worth getting Dual Strike beforehand (unless you want it purely for online play) as this does get very difficult very early on in the game and I can imagine would be quite impossible without previous experience.
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on 8 January 2014
I decided to visit this classic after buying a 3DS XL just before Christmas rather than an Xbox One (no good games out until mid 2014 at least).

Graphics are quirky and fun, and still look pretty good through the 3DS XL larger screens (advance wars is from the old DS, but the 3DS systems are backwards compatible).

Gameplay is addictive, pretty simple to pick up but hard to master and think ahead. A lot of the missions you can stumble through but to constantly get 'S' grade (highest), you will have to think beyond the first few missions. When you get on a destructive roll there is a real sense of achievement with the soundtrack and battle animations upping the action.

Story is bizarre but i prefer the darker tone to the older games. CO powers aren't as powerful as before in the last game. I miss this a bit as they could really get you out of a pinch or up the challenge when the enemy commander uses theirs just as you think you're winning.

Scary to look at how many hours I've 'wasted' on the 3DS game log, but you just have to play that next turn.
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on 31 January 2008
... but the bar has always been incredibly high when a series is this good. I feel many are being too critical about the new story and style - I feel the style and tone don't stray too far away from past titles in the series (especially Advance Wars 2 for the GBA) but, like many others, was not as impressed by the story as I was with the fresh concept of the first, or the tongue-in-cheek fantasy elements in Dual Strike. The plot is interesting, but quite empty in places - the dialogue and dated character interaction scenes just aren't enough to carry it anymore.

Even with these negatives points, this was never going to be awful. Don't get me wrong, it's not. Punishingly hard at times, but aren't they all? Stick to Dual Strike, get this when it drops to £20 or so.

Good times, though.
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on 3 July 2014
One of the best Nintendo DS games. This entry to Advance Wars brings a fresh bunch of COs to the table but also addresses balancing issues of the previous games. CO Powers are more toned down and are this time tied down to you commanding unit and are risky to deploy and use. New units like the Anti-Tank, Seaplane and Gunboat serve to mix up the gameplay and you can build temporary refueling stations using the APC (or Rig). The campaign is great and quite tricky at the end. There are also trial maps and a multiplayer mode (either hotseat or multi-cart). Well worth a go.
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on 25 January 2008
Ok, we get it, war is bad. But if you're going to make a war game, don't sermonise endlessly about the evils of blowing up enemy tanks. The makers of advance wars seem to have come over all guilt-ridden, and there is an awful lot of rather clunky dialogue about how terrible it is to be forced into a position where you have to blast all enemy units out of the water/sky/etc. And my god, do they talk! On and on...

Having said that, gameplay is just as good as in previous versions. Just as absorbing and addictive. There are a few new units to get used to, new graphics and animation (the city conquering one in particular makes an entertaining noise) and having briefly flicked through the instant battle options it looks as though they have created loads and loads of new maps to play with. I'm only a little way in so I can't comment on the length of the game.

They've taken out the different commander skills that appeared in Dual strike, which I quite liked, but other than that this is much like previous versions other than the dreary colours and depressing chat. Bring back the cheerful combat, I say.
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on 28 May 2009
Advance Wars: Dark Conflict is like Command And Conquer with Chess mixed together. You have your troops, tanks, aeroplanes, battleships, helicopters and factorys for building more units. Altogether there are 26 different types of troops and transport you can build. When I say it is a bit like Chess it is because you have to take it in turns at moving your army. To begin with I found the game easy but as you progress you really do have to think about each move you make in order to win. Alongside Zelda and Mario Kart this is My next favourite DS game so far it's that good.
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on 12 March 2008
After the slightly disappointingly bloated Dual Strike, this is a brilliant return to form. The dual-screen and outrageous commander powers are out, the emphasis is back on simple game mechanics and complex strategy!

New features to be aware of:
-your commander is now inside a unit and his power meter only goes up when damage happens in his vicinity; this greatly reduces the emphasis on commander powers and is in my opinion a good thing
-units earn one experience point after each victory, up to three points; more experience means higher attack and defence ratings
-new units such as motorcycle infantry, missile boats and planes that can attack ground and air units add to the strategic options available
-battleships can now fire after moving, giving sea battles a lot more flow (pun not intended)
-tweaks to the movement mechanics: a unit only moves after the full sequence has been ordered (so you can cancel the attack if you don't like the odds even when you would have been blocked by a hiding unit)
-the APC can now build one small airstrip or port, these can be used to refuel and repair (not purchase)

The game now also features online play; I have not tried this yet but I understand that turn times are limited so you don't have to wait ages for a slow opponent to make his moves.

The main negative aspect for me is the occasionally tedious cutscene dialogue, which seems much longer than before. Fortunately, you can skip it.
The story is, as ever, quite corny, though that doesn't bother me; as the game title suggests it is darker than the previous games.

To sum up, this is the best Advance Wars since the original on Gameboy Advance. If you loved any of the previous games, you should get this one!
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on 21 December 2010
I'm going to tell it as it is, this is Advance Wars, plain and simple! Those who love the others will love this, those who don't quite simply wont.
All the talk of a boring story line and wishy washy characters is true, but why grumble when its all gone with the press of a button and you can get onto the next exciting level.

If you like the others buy this! If you have never played one but like the idea of a "cuddly command and conquer" buy this!! If you dont like the others dont buy this!!
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on 2 April 2010
Fantastic game. The best game I currently have for DS. They have introduced experience to units now, so its more worthwhile buying the more expensive units during gameplay. (ie in past mechs were best value for money). Worth having, especially at the price.
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on 10 August 2016
it's cheaper than dual strike and is just a cosmetic change for the best strategy series i've ever played!
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