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Critical Reception: Intelligent Systems/Nintendo's Advance Wars: Dual Strike

This week's Critical Reception, a regular column that looks at how the gaming press has received a particularly notable recently released game, focuses on the new release...
This week's Critical Reception, a regular column that looks at how the gaming press has received a particularly notable recently released game, focuses on the new release of the Intelligent Systems-developed and Nintendo-published DS military strategy game Advance Wars: Dual Strike. The latest edition of the popular, longstanding Nintendo franchise, primarily famous in the West for the Game Boy Advance versions, seems to have moved to the dual-screen format and touch-screen control method easily, whilst keeping the same popular gameplay. The evolutionary step has scored positively with critics, garnering an average rating of 90% with the gaming press, according to review aggregation site GameTab. The consensus media opinion is that Advance Wars: Dual Strike builds upon the hallmarks of the series, adding to its deep gameplay while taking advantage of the Nintendo DS's dual screens. As IGN's Craig Harris sums it up while giving it a 90% equivalent, it is "a game that keeps with the already successful formula and branches it out with new elements, including dual screen combat. Because it doesn't go far beyond what's already been established, the DS game doesn't make quite as big a splash as the series did originally on the GBA, but that doesn't mean it's still not a fantastic game that needs to be experienced. Because it is." Some of Advance Wars: Dual Strike's new features come in the form of dual-screen combat and tag-team COs as GameSpot's Greg Kasavin describes: "It's possible to fight tag-team battles using pairs of COs. One CO is active at a time, and you can alternate between them in between turns. So if Grit gets into uncomfortably close quarters, just bring out his buddy Max, who's got a knack for doing serious damage with his tanks. Being able to mix and match different COs' strengths makes for many more interesting variables to consider and experiment with." The game obviously sat well with him, as he selected it as a Gamespot Editors' Choice with a 92% equivalent. The game also takes advantage of the Nintendo DS's wi-fi capabilities, supporting up to eight players and requiring only one game card to play. As Harris remarks: "The wireless battles aren't much different than what GBA owners got in Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2, but this time players are no longer tethered together by uncomfortably short link cables. Wireless capabilities free up the link so players can spread out and relax while plotting their strategies." With very few bad things to say, any qualms about the game stemmed from the localized dialogue. 1UP's James Mielke gripes, despite a 90% equivalent score: "Sample dialogue, courtesy of Jake, the teen commander, [consists of] such tripe as "we're about to serve Black Hole a bowl of smackdown soup!" If he's not laying the smack down, he's talking about what mixed tapes he's bringing to the next battle. It's enough to make you want to strangle Nintendo's usually reliable localization team." His sentiments are echoed to a lesser extent by Kasavin who writes: "The male lead, Jake, can take some getting used to, thanks to his knack for leaning on overused Internet slang ("Owned!"). Still, the otherwise-well-written dialogue and endearing characters shine through, and in the end, even Jake turns out to be likable." However, with such a positive reviewer consensus and very little to complain about, Advance Wars: Dual Strike's outlook looks sunny, boding continuing success for the franchise; another notch in Intelligent Systems' belt, and a likely sales success for Nintendo, which continues to lead the way on Nintendo DS titles that use the touchscreen and hardware intelligently.

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