Advance Wars 2
tons of replayability, strategy required, multiplayer, ability to buy and create new maps
too challenging, could use better graphics
The Bottom Line:
There are many ways to have fun. Advance Wars 2 is one of them.
The Advance Wars games are highly strategic games. It is a turn-based game. This means it's like a chess game where a person moves once, then another person moves. Sounds boring, but it's tons of fun.
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising is a sequel to Advance Wars 1. The Black Hole Army is back, and attacking innocent countries. You will play as Orange Star, Green Earth, Yellow Comet, and Blue Moon. Those are allied countries trying to stop Black Hole.
The plot is basically the same as the original Advance Wars. In campaign mode, you will play as a commanding officer of a country and try to complete an objective. The objective is normally ones like, "Capture the enemy HQ" or "Defeat all enemy forces". But, sometimes a new objective type is introduced. Overall, an interesting storyline.
I already summed up the gist of the game above. Now I will get into more detail.
As I said above, Advance Wars 2 is a turn based game. You will start first and have the choice of building new units, not doing anything at all, etc. There is a ton of replay value in the campaign mode alone. Different decisions can affect the outcome of the game.
There are three types of unit available at your disposal. Land, air, and sea. Different terrain will require different units. This allows you to plan your strategy according to your CO's strengths. Tanks, Humvees, Infantry, Bombers, Helicopters, Submarines, Destroyers, and more are availaible at your disposal.
The ability to earn points to unlock battle maps also add to the already large replayablilty. You can also unlock new COs to use in multiplayer (more on that later).
Each CO has two special powers. When activated, these powers can change the course of the battle. That might be a slight exaggeration, though.
You can also use one game pack to link 4 players together to play multiplayer. This makes the game more unpredictable, since you are facing a real live person. The gameplay in multiplayer is basically the same as single-player. You don't earn points if you win though.
You can also create your own maps. You can place bases, airports, ports, cities, etc. wherever you like. The map designer is very easy to use too.
The graphics are nothing special, but they look pretty good. Everything is clear and nothing is jagged. The battle cutscenes are good, but they used the same scene for each specific unit over and over again. A little bit more variety, please. Also, the COs weren't animated either. When they spoke, all it did was show the same picture of them over and over again.
The sound is what you would expect from a Game Boy Advance game. The same music plays over and over until it gets annoying. When a tank or something fires its weapon in a battle scene, it makes a boom noise and that's it. No variety here, either.
Controls/Difficulty of game
The controls in this game are merely point and click. You select your unit with the A button. Then you select a place to move the unit with the Control Pad. Then you just simply press A again to move the unit. The B button is used only to cancel something. The R and L buttons are used to bring up a menu. Easy controls.
Advance Wars 2 started out easy and got very challenging. Now, it takes me a couple of days to beat a mission, since each one is long and tedious. If you can't handle the challenge, then I suggest you shy away from this game.
I'm sure you know this by now, but Black Hole Rising has a ton of replay value. You can replay the campaign and try to up your ranking and score. You can play against up to three of your friends with only one game pack. You can unlock new maps and COs. This game has so many different ways to be enjoyed.
Advance Wars is a challeging (too challenging?)game perfect for you strategy lovers. But if you already own Advance Wars, it isn't worth the extra $20 to get basically the same game. But if you are thinking of getting Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising and DON'T own Advance Wars, then you should buy it. But only if you enjoy being challenged.