If you are new to Advance Wars and have noticed some similarities with the old Fire Emblems in the trailer shown during the Nintendo Direct of E3 2021, we want to reassure you: you do not have the trivia. The Wars series may not be well known in the West, but it even anticipated Fire Emblem at the time of the NES. Without considering that the developer is basically the same: Intelligent Systems. Despite being considered to be among the best games of all time, younger generations have heard very little about Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, the two chapters that date back to the Game Boy Advance years and over the past two decades. years have had only two sequels on the Nintendo DS, skipping every other generation of consoles (if we exclude the two Battalion Wars which were anyway spin-offs that another developer worked on).
In short, Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp will be an excellent opportunity for strategic lovers to play, or replay, these two milestones.
L’Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp preview will tell you why.
Wars in turn
Set in Cosmoland, a modern world divided into colorful regions like Orange Star and Blue Moon, Advance Wars tells one war in which we will be directly involved as advisers to the commanders who will deploy their troops in attack or defense. Well-written dialogues and colorful illustrations betray the adult tones of the plot, which seems a little rose water, with its rounded and not at all threatening characters, but which in reality has all the credentials of a political fictional thriller full of twists. and sudden turns.
The Commanding Officers that we can choose in some maps to lead our troops are not just the embodiment of a statistical bonus or a gameplay feature: sometimes our choice temporarily changes the course of history, resulting in extra missions and different perspectives before returning on the main roadway.
As we said, the gameplay very reminiscent of Fire Emblem. The factions that battle each other on each map act in turn: during their turn, the player or the CPU create new units, move them within their range, and can attack opposing units directly or indirectly. Advance Wars employs a square grid map that includes the most varied types of terrain: paved roads, fields, forests, beaches, and so on.
The typology of the land plays a fundamental role in terms of gameplay, because it affects the performance of ground units, guaranteeing advantages or disadvantages that can make the difference in the fight. When two units collide, the screen changes view and is divided into two parts: in one half we can see our units, and in the other the enemies that are attacking us or that we are attacking us.
Obviously, the faction that manages to conquer the wins headquarters enemy, even if some maps impose very different objectives: sometimes it will be necessary to conquer one or more cities, defeat a certain number of enemies and so on.
The variety of unit available to the player is huge and includes not only ground infantry, but also vehicles such as tanks or simple means of transport, and aircraft such as helicopters and fighter planes. Each unit is characterized by very specific parameters that make it more or less effective against other units, and some have a main weapon that works particularly well against certain types of targets: this means that deploying a unit on the field to defeat the enemy it could be counterproductive if the opposing faction has effective weapons against the troops we just sent to death.
Fortunately, the Commander that the player selects at the beginning of the mission represents a sort of ace in the hole: once the appropriate indicator is filled, it is possible to use a special ability called Virtue which can change the tide of battle. Some Commanders will only temporarily upgrade their troops, while others may even change the weather to their advantage.
Advance Wars is a challenging turn-based strategy, but the balanced learning curve and multiple mechanics that intersect each other to form one of the most ingenious and layered turn-based combat systems in the genre. The player will have to learn to intelligently manage not only the movements of the troops and their peculiarities, but also the conquest of land and buildings that allow them to supply or create new units.
Featuring a campagna single player particularly long-lived and from various secondary game modes, not least the one that rewards with the points necessary to unlock new officers, Advance Wars was also an excellent title to play in multiplayer thanks to the ability to connect two Game Boy Advances via Link cable, or to play on the same system, passing it from hand to hand at each turn. Our hope is that Nintendo will implement an online infrastructure to allow players to compete over the Internet as well.
A new graphic design
In terms of gameplay, Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising it’s pretty much the same game, only richer in every respect. The 2003 sequel implemented new units, new Commanding Officers with their special Virtues, new building and terrain types, as well as an even more substantial and less linear campaign that allowed for stage selection and limited experience customization.
War Room mode with its optional missions and the Design mode which allowed you to design your own maps, play them and exchange them with friends. In short, Advance Wars 2 is a richer and more complete Advance Wars, but perhaps a little too similar.
The trailer released by Nintendo states that WayForward has redesigned the game from scratch, meaning Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp should literally be a 1: 1 scale retelling of the two original games. What changed was above all the graphics, which abandons the exquisite original pixel art in favor of a 3D that mimics it effectively, re-proposing the same stile super deformed and cartoonish with a use of shaders that make vehicles and units look like they were made of shiny plastic. We must admit that this change has baffled us a bit, and perhaps we would have preferred a high-resolution remastering of the old pixel art, but the result still seems faithful to the spirit of the original titles: we enjoyed the new animations portraits depicting the Commanding Officers, and also the short cinematics that distinguish the activation of their Virtues during the fighting.
Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising are still two of the best turn-based strategy games around today, among the best productions Intelligent Systems signed before Fire Emblem became popular around the world. In December, the new generations will have the opportunity to get their hands on these two gems thanks to Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp: perhaps it would have been better to jealously guard the old 2D graphics, but the amount of content is too greedy to complain. of this remake.