Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
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Good tactical fun
Advance Wars: Dark Conflict (DS)
Member Name: Auryvf
Advance Wars: Dark Conflict (DS)
Date: 23/07/09, updated on 23/07/09 (17 review reads)
Advantages: Great story, clever battle mechanics, good challenge
Disadvantages: Some battles can take very long, very addictive...
Advance wars - Dark conflict should be banned for being overly addictive. I honestly dread to think just how many hours I've spent in the past few weeks playing through all the different missions.
For those new to the series let me warn you now - patience is a virtue. You can't simply build one tank then charge the enemy headquarters, there is a lot more to it than that which can lead to quite lengthy skirmishes. Those who only play FPS's and fast, high powered action games might as well go back to their Xboxes as they are not welcome in the tactical world of advance wars. Those still here rejoice, this is the best advance wars game in the series and arguably the best turn-based strategy game on the DS.
There are 26 story missions and 38 "Trial maps" which are extra missions with no story attached. After completing one mission another may be unlocked, the trial maps can be completed in almost any order but you cannot proceed in the story missions until you have completed the previous one.
After selecting a story mission you instantly go into some dialogue, which it is possible to skip but I really wouldn't recommend it, and you then proceed to an overhead map. The map is split into an invisible grid and both the player and the opponent take turns to move there army across the map and attack the other side. Often you start with some troops but sometimes you need to first buy them and different units have different attack strengths, attack range, movement range and strengths and weaknesses. The basic idea of the game is to strategically use all that information to guide your army to victory by either destroying every enemy unit or capturing the enemy headquarters.
It shouldn't take too long to master all the mechanics though there is a fair bit to learn and while the game seems to mostly presume you already have some idea of how to play there are lots of tutorials that you can look through. Some maps take much longer than others, a couple of the trial maps are four way fights so these take especially long to beat though they give you the greatest feeling of accomplishment when you're finally the last army standing.
The difficulty curve can be quite high and sometimes when a fight is not going your way it is better to just restart the mission, resulting in a very lengthy game. Yet even though you're essentially doing the same thing other and over again it never feels dull and is rarely truly frustrating.
Everyone who's ever played and enjoyed a previous game in the series will already know all of that as the gameplay is essentially the same, so the big question is why is this game better than the others in the series?
It may just be personal preference but this is the only advance wars game that I've felt had a good script to it. The story more serious and deeper than the others and I found myself wanting to get through the missions quicker to find out what happens next. This is accompanied by the optional, often humorous conversations that take place in the briefing room which can be viewed in any of the story missions. The briefing room seems to be a mysterious place where it is completely neutral and good characters have conversations with the evils ones. This is always ended with some advice on the tactics you should use in the fight, sometimes bizarrely coming from the person you're trying to beat.
There are a few new units such as bikes which are essentially infantry units with longer movement range. You can now also make your CO board one of your units at any factory, port or airport which gives that unit a stat boost as well as any surrounding unit. The area this unit effects grows when an enemy is damaged in that area until it is several squares across. Once its reached this point you have an option to either keep it at that and give all your units in that range a boost or use the CO's special ability, which varies depending on the CO, which makes the area shrink again. It's a simple system which means that even if the CO's ability would not be of help in the current situation you can still give the units a stat boost.
All in all, I liked this game a lot. The interesting story and the good battle mechanics make this one a must have for fans of the genre and, while it is complicated, with a bit of effort I'm sure people new to the series will soon get hooked as well.
Summary: Great game for the right person
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