In a nutshell, I have found Advance Wars DS to be a well planned and balanced strategy game, which for some reason gets addictive after a while. I was new to this series, so I can't make a comparison against earlier releases of Advance Wars. I have, however, played many PC strategy games and you could say I am a fan of strategy, real time or turn based. Advance Wars DS actually reminded me a bit of an old game called History Line which I played on the PC back in the early 90s when I was a teenager, so you may find the whole concept of Advance Wars a little dated. What is interesting, however, is the way Nintendo has implemented and executed the whole game play and its experience. It's a gripping stuff. On one hand it has a very simple rule set with simple game mechanics, yet on the other hand the strategy necessary to play well is extensive. The beauty of it seems to be that you could have a sloppy game (and sort of win), if you wish, but it also accommodates those who want to think hard. You can do this either way, depending on what you are like. Sometimes I'm mentally tired and end up winning in a sloppy game (and at times getting slaughtered), but others times I take my time planning my moves and pull off a wonderful strategy which leads to a crisp and satisfying victory. Another strange thing about this, as I found out the more I played, is that somehow it manages to feel fresh and new. It doesn't feel like a game which has dated game mechanics (which it does, technically speaking). The designers have done a great job implementing the gameplay while making sure players are hooked to it strategically. It's not a fast paced Real-Time strategy, but a Turn-Based strategy. So I'm sure there are preferences depending on what sort of strategy you like. For what it is, Advance Wars DS is well worth the money, time and effort even in this day and age. Don't let its rather simplistic and youthful screenshots fool you - it is a well written game.
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