My time with Advance Wars has come to an end, which means I’m ready to give my final thoughts in this Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp review.
It might be time for me to say goodbye to Andy, Max, and Sami, but I don’t feel sad about it. In truth, I’m ready to hang up my tactician hat for now.
Although this is a remake of two classic titles loved by many, I entered into this as an Advance Wars novice; I vaguely remember the originals coming out, but I never played them.
My main concern back then, and when I started playing the remakes, was that it wouldn’t be stimulating enough.
After playing 50+ hours of the games, I can honestly say they’re pretty stimulating, at least in terms of gameplay. Narratively speaking, though, I found Advance Wars Re-Boot Camp to be lacklustre.
Don’t misunderstand me, I totally get why the original Advance Wars (2003) ranked number 18 in our best Gameboy Advance games list. However, while it’s an easy game to pick-up regardless of your skill, the characters feel flat and two dimensional.
This intro only begins to scratch the surface of my full review; if you’re keen to read my thorough, no holds barred feedback, it’s time to dive into my full Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp review!
Tactical, turn based games can be tough to get right – they can be too hard right off the bat, or they’re ridiculously easy. Advance Wars Re-Boot Camp perfectly finds balance between the two, offering a steady increase in difficulty as the game progresses.
Field Training with Nell offers you a quick, whistle stop tour of each Unit type, and she’s on hand to offer advice during a fight.
My only criticism of the easy gameplay is that, when you start the the second game, Nell’s commentary isn’t really necessary.
She essentially covers the same information as before, treating you as a total newbie. Considering you can’t play Advance Wars 2 without playing the first, these moments become redundant and tedious to endure.
On the flip side, one of the best features included in these remakes is the reset turns option, available whenever you make a foolish mistake (I made many).
It might sound like a dull gameplay mechanic, but for me it was a lifeline I used more often than I care to admit. It’s so convenient, and enables you to take back control of a battle without yielding and restarting a mission.
Add in being able to turn off and/or fast forward through battle animations, and you have a streamlined game that puts you in total control. Nice and easy.
Hours Of Action
Sometimes it’s hard to get enough bang for your buck; luckily Advance Wars 1+2 doesn’t suffer from that problem. I spent 40 hours on the first game alone, that’s how much content there is.
You have the main campaign, post-game missions, and online battles with friends. Although this isn’t an open world experience, there’s a large map to explore, meaning Cosmo Land doesn’t disappoint despite its linear format.
Entering into the War Room is where the fun really takes off, though, allowing you to play as any CO from the story. Being able to sink your teeth into a battle by exploring all the unique CO Powers is a great way of increasing the game’s longevity.
Anime Style Animation
Aesthetically speaking, the gameplay graphics are basic. Obviously, Advance Wars 1+2 looks contemporary in contrast to the originals, boosting 3D graphics instead of pixelated 2D ones.
Nevertheless, visually speaking, Advance Wars 1+2 lacks impact.
However, there are moments of aesthetic joy, primarily in cutscenes that see the graphics transition into an anime-esque adventure. These scenes don’t last long, yet they help to give the game a greater sense of depth and modernity.
Partnered with its anime looks, there’s also plenty of recognisable anime voice actors bringing these characters to life. Consequently, the action feels more immersive despite how simplistic its style and plot is.
In fact, the lack of story, or should I say the lack of depth it offers, feels a lot like the filler episodes from Dragon Ball Z or Bleach. I’m avid fans of both of those anime, so I kind of love Advance Wars Re-Boot Camp for that.
Sometimes, an Oscar winning performance isn’t what makes a game – this is one of those times. Advance Wars 1+2 is meant to be fluffy and light, which brings me to my next point…
Advance Wars is about warfare, yet you never feel the weight of its topic weighing you down.
Arguably, this is because the game uses a board setting, allowing players to see the Units they control as toys rather than real people. It emphasises that this is just a game, meant to entertainment.
Some people might find this too childish, but for me I relish its innocent charm because it opens up the game to both children and adults alike. If you crave a game that tests your mettle without seeing an endless onslaught of blood and gore, Advance Wars 1+2 is ideal.
Even Sturm and his Black Hole army, the villains of the games, are comical rather than threatening. You’re never put in a position where you feel uncomfortable or upset by their actions, thus helping to keep the experience light even during tense moments.
Retro Dodo’s Final Verdict
A lot of other guides have given Advance Wars 1+2 10/10, or thereabouts, but for me the game isn’t worthy of that level of praise. I know my Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp review might seem harsh, but I’d prefer to call it honest.
This is a great remake, it just lacks some finesse.
Even though it has many redeeming qualities, most prominently that it brings two classic games to the modern market, in the end it just isn’t captivating enough.
If you’re a fan returning to this series, you’re paying for nostalgia rather than any innovation or major changes to the original games. And if you’re new to the series, what you’re getting is a less gripping version of Fire Emblem Engage or similar.
I’m pleased I got to finally see what Advance Wars 1+2 is about, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must play game.
While I’ve appreciated getting to know Orange Star, Gold Comet, Green Earth, and Blue Moon, I’m glad to end my time with Advance Wars and move onto something new, something truly fresh and engaging.
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Emma has loved video games ever since she first saw Alex Kidd platforming across her TV screen. Since then, the 32 year old has dedicated an obscene number of hours to playing as many games as possible. When she isn’t obsessing over games, she spends her time honing her vinyl collection.