Friday, 17 May 2024

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp Review

Nintendo and WayForward have taken a bold step in reviving Advance Wars with Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp. These tactics-heavy games, which exist in a genre now dominated by character relationships, remain faithful to the original releases without introducing any significant changes to the story or cast. However, this lack of alteration does not diminish the unique features of Advance Wars. In fact, the extended absence of the series has only enhanced its appeal.

A Nostalgic Journey

Advance Wars is known for its light storytelling compared to other tactical RPGs. In the game, the nations of Wars World teeter on the brink of conflict as a shadowy figure manipulates them. Your task is to prevent war by engaging in battle. The simplicity of the setup evokes the feeling of a Saturday morning cartoon, a tone that is further highlighted in the new updates. Re-Boot Camp features a new toybox-style graphics, a remastered soundtrack, sporadic voice acting, and a slightly tweaked script that brings out the personality of each character.

The addition of a cartoon-like art style helps offset the grim nature of the game, where officers send troops into battle without much regard for their well-being. While the outcome remains the same, the new look transforms each map into a game of toy soldiers, with a tabletop board aesthetic when zoomed out.

Fresh and Innovative Gameplay

Despite being released over 20 years ago, the gameplay of the Advance Wars series still feels fresh and innovative. Both games in the collection blend traditional tactics elements, such as a rock-paper-scissors unit strength system, with features typically found in real-time strategy games. Resource and fuel management play a critical role, and controlling specific parts of the map is often essential for victory. The attention to detail is impressive, with even the interaction between tires and terrain needing consideration.

Every battle in Advance Wars is a tense mixture of smart planning and wild improvisation. Victory feels well-earned, even if you barely manage to complete the objective. While each map has an optimal approach, the strategic depth and variation allow for experimentation with unorthodox ideas while still achieving a high ranking.

Enhanced Accessibility

The remakes include a feature that allows players to reset their current turn as often as they want, making the games more approachable. If a choice made several turns ago proves unfavorable, you have the option to reset without penalties. While this is a helpful addition, the execution can feel clunky, as the only way to reset is to leave the mission and start over. It would have been more elegant to implement a Fire Emblem-style rewind feature.

Advance Wars excels at teaching players the basics and advanced strategies at a steady pace. However, the initial stages of the first game act as an extended tutorial, with the full range of tools only becoming available after completing over half of the campaign. Advance Wars 2, on the other hand, is a stronger and more confident game. Each mission requires a thoughtful approach, utilizing the strengths and weaknesses of different Commanding Officers (COs) from every nation. This iteration introduces clever new CO powers and complex maps that fully capitalize on the series’ unique mechanics.

Relevance of Classic Games

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp may not introduce much new material, but it convincingly demonstrates that classic games can thrive without major changes. Sometimes, all they need is a second chance to captivate a new generation of players.

FAQs

Q: Can I reset my turn in the game?

A: Yes, the remakes include a feature that allows you to reset your current turn as often as you want.

Q: What is the difference between Advance Wars 1 and Advance Wars 2?

A: Advance Wars 2 introduces a new set of Commanding Officers from every nation, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, making each mission a new challenge.

Conclusion

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp stays true to its roots while presenting an opportunity for fans to relive the classic games. With improved visuals, a remastered soundtrack, and slight script tweaks, the series’ unique features shine brighter than ever. This collection reminds us that sometimes, the best way to stay relevant is to honor the past. Experience the timeless joy of Advance Wars and embark on commanding your forces once again.

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