Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is a remake of 2001’s Advance Wars and 2003’s Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising. While the first Advance Wars hasn’t aged as well as its sequel, both games are nevertheless elevated by Re-Boot Camp’s robust suite of game modes, the local and online multiplayer, and an intuitive map editor. As a package, there is plenty to do, see, and unlock, and it’s all held together by a fantastic presentation that evokes Saturday morning cartoons and colorful board games.
Foundationally, the Advance Wars flavor of turn-based tactical combat holds up well. In its most rudimentary form, two commanding officers hailing from different fictional countries move units around a map to wipe out enemies and capture key areas. Each unit, however, has strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered for both individual firefights and multi-turn campaigns. For example, Infantry and Mech units are the only units that can capture cities, airports, seaports, and bases. They are instrumental to securing victory, but their movement is limited and they are weak to just about everything. APCs, Transport Copters, and Landers can ferry Infantry and Mechs great distances, but they need the protection of other units due to their inability to attack. Of course, the units tasked with this responsibility also have their own set of strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered. Tanks can be devastating at close range, but long-range Rockets can make short work of them. Artillery can clean up enemies at medium range, but they are useless at close range.
Coming to grips with each and every unit can be a little daunting, but Re-Boot Camp has numerous tutorial missions across both games, many of which cover the same ground. The basics, such as commanding units and capturing cities, are handled in an optional Field Training menu, which can be accessed in both games. However, the first handful of missions in both campaigns also act as tutorials and run through the basics of armored, naval, and aerial warfare. These tutorials do a great job at showing you the strengths and weaknesses of each unit, but a lot of the same info is covered twice. This means that the early hours of Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising can drag on a bit if you start with the first game.
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