Re-Boot Camp’ checks (almost) all the boxes

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Want to stick out like a sore thumb? Here’s a tip for you: If your friends tell you how much they enjoyed the recent list of fire emblem games, tell them you think Advanced Wars is better.

If, like me, you’re one of the few dozen who prefer Intelligent Systems’ military-themed turn-based strategy series to their more popular fantasy games, then you were probably just as surprised when Nintendo announced a remake. not one, but two Advanced Wars Games. Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp doesn’t exactly stick out the tongue, but seeing as it’s been over 15 years since we’ve had a new game, Nintendo might have called it Military simulator for idiots who don’t love Fire Emblem and I would still play hard.

For those who need a refresher, Advanced Wars is, to be honest, quite similar to its big brother. Both are series of turn-based tactics that revolve around different factions fighting against each other. Players control their armies by moving them around a grid, attacking other enemy units, and doing their best to outmaneuver and outwit their opponent.

Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp Screenshot
Screenshot via Nintendo

Where these two franchises differ is in what they prioritize. fire emblem tends to be story-heavy, emphasizing relationships and a unique cast of characters who fight side by side on the battlefield, while Advanced Wars is incredibly light on storytelling, opting to focus on more complex combat systems that arguably put fire emblemthe weapon of the axe-sword-spear triangle to shame. Advanced WarsThe Commanders (CO) roster does not actually fight with their troops, although each has their own strengths and weaknesses that affect how their units move, fight, and survive on the battlefield. As a long-time chess player, I have personally turned to Advanced Wars and its unique brand of turn-based tactics, made even more complex by the ability to accumulate funds and buy more units mid-battle.

So what exactly does 1+2: Reboot Camp bring to the table? Well, for starters, it brings together the two Game Boy Advance games in the franchise, each featuring its own single-player campaign. There are also a handful of other modes: War Room lets you take on one or more AI opponents, with battles usually taking place on more open maps which often put you at a disadvantage. Versus mode plays similarly, with an option to add other human players into the mix, and Design Room lets you design and share your own custom maps.

For Reboot Campof the preview period, we spent most of our time with the campaign from the first Advanced Wars, which sees Commanders Andy, Sami, Max and Nell – of the Orange Star Army – take on the neighboring nations of Blue Moon, Green Earth and Yellow Comet. The story is paper-thin, and that’s how longtime fans (myself included) prefer it. Of course, the whole package received a much-needed facelift. While I still have a soft spot for the original GBA sprites, the new art style marks a welcome change, and it does an admirable job of channeling the Saturday morning cartoon vibes. The music has also been re-recorded, and while it’s not entirely vocal, the VO work certainly does a good job of breaking up the monotony of the game’s endless text boxes.

As for the core gameplay? Everything is here. In fact, if it weren’t for the complete visual overhaul, I’d be hard pressed to make out Reboot Camp original GBA games. The instant gameplay – building units, moving them around the field, attacking unsuspecting troops – is virtually identical. The campaign also does a good job of introducing the player to new concepts (like the much dreaded Fog of War), and unlike other tactics games, Advanced Wars slowly distributes new units to order, ensuring that you won’t feel overwhelmed early on.

What To All quality of life features have changed, the most notable being the ability to fast forward in firefights, as well as the AI ​​turn. While you always have the option to turn off combat animations, fast-forwarding serves as a happy medium between turning them off completely or having to watch each one unfold. A new rapid fire option lets you target specific enemies and attack them immediately (reducing the number of button presses), and there are a few other shortcuts that let you jump across the battlefield instead. manually move the cursor.

Both Advanced Warsand its sequel, Rising black holereceived their fair share of criticism for the overall difficulty, which can feel rather uneven, with sharp spikes in later missions. Reboot Camp tries to solve this problem by allowing players to switch between an easier casual mode and (what we assume is an untouched classic mode). That being said, it’s not entirely clear if any of the individual COs have been rebalanced for campaigns or versus mode. Just in case they weren’t, be on your guard against players picking Kanbei or Hachi.

If there’s one area we’re concerned about, it’s online multiplayer. Although we haven’t put it into practice yet, Nintendo’s website only mentions 1v1 battles against friends. Not only does this suggest that 3 or 4 player skirmishes aren’t on the table, it doesn’t bode well for other requested features such as player ranking, matchmaking, tournaments or asynchronous multiplayer. Those who fondly remember Link Play from the Game Boy Advance versions are going to be shocked. While Reboot Camp enables pass-and-play or local wireless multiplayer, each player will need their own Switch and a copy of the game – a far cry from the good old days when four friends could play against each other using Link cables and a single game cartridge.

Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface of what Nintendo and developer WayForward have to offer, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there are additional secrets and modes that need to be unlocked. We’re a bit concerned that online multiplayer will be rather anemic, but the rest of Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp is becoming a hit with fans and newcomers alike. Luckily, you’ll be able to try it yourself when the full game launches on April 21, and we’ll have a full review on the site later this month.

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