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Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

Follow us on the battlefield in this review of the brand new Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp for Nintendo Switch

Since its official announcement, which came during the Nintendo Direct broadcast on the occasion of E3 2021, the remake of these two famous titles has been welcomed with joy by fans. The reason is mainly the fact that, unlike Fire Emblem, Intelligent System’s other flagship strategic franchise, here we are talking about a series that has been missing from the scene for many years. Originally expected for the end of 2021, the title was then postponed to the spring of the following year, to allow the developers to make the final refinements.

Due to the infamous events involving Russia and Ukraine, which, by an unfortunate coincidence, occurred just before the new release date, Nintendo decided to postpone the game again, this time indefinitely. After the fears on the part of users that it might have been permanently canceled, now, after about a year since the last postponement, Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp is finally available, and we are ready to tell you about it in depth in this review .

News from the front

As we will see better later in this review, Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp is a title that makes its spearhead its gameplay. In this context, the plot of the two titles (and in particular of the first) serves as a mere pretext to justify the series of missions that we are going to face. We will gradually get to know the Commanding Officers (UC) of the Orange Star army, the first of whom we will meet will be Andy, a young mechanic who from the very first stages of the story will be followed and supported by Nell, the leader of the military forces of the nation.

The story opens with Orange Star who will have to face and repel an invasion by Olaf, UC of the neighboring state of Blue Moon. This will trigger an escalation of firefights that will also lead other nations to take part in a conflict that will involve the entire fictitious continent of Cosmolandia, and in which not everything seems to be as it seems. The second title resumes the story two years after the conclusion of the events of the first (in fact the game will obscure it and will advise you to start from the first title, but will not prevent you from doing otherwise) and it also turns out to be the more interesting narrative of the two, albeit also in this case the plot is reconfirmed not to be among the strongest elements of the production.

Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

Winning Strategies – Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review

As also mentioned in the previous paragraph of this review, when it comes to gameplay Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp is still able to shine today, despite the fact that we are talking about remakes that are very faithful to the original titles, which came out about 20 years ago. At first glance it would almost seem to be in front of a Fire Emblem in a modern key, in which our units move in turns on maps divided into a checkerboard. However, a few games are enough to realize that the game requires a rather different approach.

The first thing that immediately catches the eye is the absence of the RPG elements which are instead a fundamental part of the other famous Nintendo strategy series. The armies will be made up of different units, each with its own strengths and weaknesses (it is always possible to open a submenu with all the necessary info), but it will not be a question of unique characters who will gain experience and whose death will be lost forever. On the contrary, at the appropriate bases in our possession we will be able to spend funds accumulated from turn to turn thanks to our properties, to deploy all the units we want (and that we can afford).

In this context we will therefore have to rely almost exclusively on our skills in moving the battalion at our commands (even the different types of terrain will guarantee various effects, such as greater or lesser defense), appropriately exploiting the characteristics of each unit to get out of the more complicated situations . Some sporadic component of randomness remains, especially with regard to missions where the atmospheric weather can change without warning, but in general it is always a more purely strategic approach, very well designed and equipped with a truly surprising depth, today as then.

Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

The charm of the uniform – Review Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp

In this review we have already mentioned the UC, or the commanders that we will be able to impersonate or that we will have to face during each game of Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp. Considering that the units that can be deployed will be the same for all factions, it will be the CU at the head of each army that will constitute an element of uniqueness. Each of them will in fact be characterized by specific bonuses and maluses that may or may not adapt to certain styles of play.

We will be able to find a UC that allows certain units to move a greater distance, or to favor direct attacks (however to the detriment of indirect ones), or even to increase the damage and range of ranged attacks. There really is something for all tastes and choosing who to play is in itself already a strategic choice capable of favoring or not certain approaches in the field. To close the circle then, each UC is equipped with a special power called Virtue, which recharges as the turns go by, and which, once activated, gives further advantages.

Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

You start the war – Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review

If already everything we have reported so far in this review could guarantee you a more than a handful of hours of fun, know that the contents offered by Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp do not end there. In fact, as in the original titles, this package also includes a series of modes such as Battle, which allows you to face a series of maps against the CPU and obtain a final score (similar to what happens with the campaign missions).

The real flagship, however, is Challenge, in which it is possible to organize completely customizable skirmishes against CPUs or other players in the flesh. For the latter option, up to four Switches can be connected locally or all play on the same console, exchanging controllers when it is their turn to act. There is also online multiplayer but it will only be possible to play against other friends, as there is no matchmaking of any kind.

Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

Lots of Maps and Content – ​​Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review

All the modes of Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp that we have listed in the previous paragraph of this review already come with a large number of maps that can be selected, many of which are nothing more than remakes of those seen in the original titles. By playing and completing the story missions (but also those of the Battle mode) you will get an in-game currency that you can spend in the Hachi shop. The amount of maps that can be purchased and played is truly generous, and, as if that weren’t enough, it will also be possible to buy new CUs to use in battle, but also music tracks and other content that will then be saved in the Gallery. Periodically the shop will be replenished with new items to purchase, giving the completionists hours and hours of gameplay.

Last but not least, the Graphics Room also returns, a classic of the series, already present even at the time of the original titles. It is a complete editor that allows you to create your own maps from scratch in a completely free way, using terrains, elements and units encountered during the game. These maps can then be played as normal levels, but also shared with friends online, making the title potentially infinite.

Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

Toy Soldiers – Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review

Having ascertained that, under the playful sector, Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp is a very faithful transposition of the original games, we cannot conclude this review without telling you about the aspect that has undergone the most changes, namely the aesthetic and sound sector. The latter in particular sees the return of all the more classic themes, with improved sound quality, but the real novelty is represented by the dubbing, also available in Italian. In fact, all the characters will pronounce some sentences in certain events, and this contributes greatly to their characterization. It is a pity therefore that a complete dubbing was not opted for (at least for the main dialogues of the campaign), limiting oneself instead to only a few short effective sentences.

With regard to the graphics sector, we note the commitment on the part of the development team in trying to transpose the light-hearted style of the game from two to three dimensions in the most coherent way possible. The result is a somewhat playful and plastic effect of the polygonal models that almost recalls the famous toy soldiers with which we all played as children at least once in our lives. Of course, perhaps this choice will not have the timeless charm of pixel art, and it may not meet everyone’s tastes, but it is undeniable that it would have been difficult to do better without distorting the original idea. Even the maps are rendered in such a way as to look like scoreboards placed on a table, a choice that initially gave us a somewhat strange effect but which you quickly notice.

On the other hand, the introductory movie and the animations of the UC powers are flawless, made in an impeccable anime style, really very beautiful and colorful. All this acquires even more meaning if we think that we are talking about a work that has no intention of taking itself seriously. In fact, the intention of the developers is always unequivocal to highlight the carefree and absolutely unrealistic tones of the production down to the smallest details, in such a way as to distance itself as much as possible from its basic theme, i.e. the war, with which (and the history does not fail to remind us) there is absolutely nothing to joke about.

Advance Wars 1+2 Review Re-Boot Camp: The Art of War

A clean war

There is no doubt that WayForward Technologies has done an excellent job of bringing this acclaimed series back into the spotlight. Fidelity to the original material has been rigorous, with the two titles seeing major changes mainly in terms of graphics, which go from the original pixel art to a toy 3D in line with the light-hearted tones of the series but which may not meet everyone’s tastes . If the two campaigns do not shine from a narrative point of view, the same cannot be said for the gameplay, still direct, satisfying and profound today. The possibility of playing multiplayer online and locally (even on the same console) with other users, the numerous modes and maps available and the presence of an editor make this release a rich package capable of giving hours and hours of fun. If you have never played one of these chapters we can only strongly advise you to give it a try.

And what do you think of these remakes?…