Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp – Switch Game Review


Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp Switch Review

Advance Wars Re-Boot Camp is a 2023 remake of the first 2 Advance Wars games that were released on the Gameboy Advance in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

I completed the game on the Switch OLED so my experience may not reflect those of players on older versions of the Switch model.

Pro.

Game value.

Since this game has both Advance Wars games it offers the player 2 large campaigns to clear completely and offer a lot of replayability to increase your rank for each level since the player is graded based on their performance.

The gameplay has also been lovingly recreated by WayForward and is completely on point for a remake, so both games play the same as the originals with nothing really being cut out compared to the originals and will supply the player with hundreds of hours of content easily making the game worth it for old and newcomers.

Accessibility.

The game has a new lower difficulty mode for the remake to make a newcomers first time with the game much easier since Advance Wars is a difficult strategy game for those who haven’t played before or played many strategy games before.

It also now removes the obtuse requirements in the original games to unlock new COs, as there you had to beat certain missions in certain orders and using specific COs. Whereas now just beating all the missions for each campaign will unlock all COs for purchase in Hachi’s shop with the currency you earn for completing missions.

Cutscenes.

New to the remake are select cutscenes that play when starting the game and then for each campaign’s ending with these being made by WayForward really capture the spirit and energy of the cast.

As the new voice cast sound great in these cutscenes and the small amount of lines they say in battle and the dialogue boxes, with my favourites being Andy’s VA Veronica Taylor who all Anime fans will recognise as the voice as Ash Ketchum from Pokémon as she sounds perfect in the role and the other being Sturm’s VA Craig Lee Thomas as Harvey from Octopath Traveler 2. 

I wish there were more of these since they all look great and are much better than just having a text crawl to convey the same information in a more entertaining means.

Music.

All the music has been remixed for this since the Gameboy Advance didn’t have the best speakers and soundboard, but now they all sound like they are made with actual instruments instead of the old chiptune.

All of the music now has more variations with the base theme for each CO but for when the player is in the menus, in combat or when their unique CO power is used. This adds great variety so the player isn’t hearing the same version of each song all the time.

Multiplayer.

For the first time for these games players can battle their friends locally or online without being forced to have a Link Cable like back when these games first released.

Players also have multiple ways to play multiplayer with players able to share a Switch console or use multiple Switch consoles so each play has their own. This second option I would recommend when playing with Fog of War maps to stop other players cheating.

Now you can play with your friends at any time which is good since matches can go on for hours at a time, so now you don’t have to worry about battery levels since you can have the Switch docked and charging and still playing.

The local experience is also smooth and not producing much lag in comparison to the online which can hit the player with lag at times. 

Con.

Graphics.

The only major downside I had with this remake is the move to the Unity engine and the use of poor looking 3D models that lack the detailing of the original 2D pixel art.

The game would of been even better if they stuck to the 2D pixel art aesthetic or collaborated with Square Enix & Acquire who created Octopath Traveler and the HD 2D engine. As that would of greatly helped the art style for the units instead of them looking like they are made of cheap shiny plastic.

Performance.

While the game aims for 30fps during the map screen sections during gameplay I found that when I have a lot of units on screen that if I tried to scroll the map around the battlefield that I would encounter framerate drops.

This is more substantial in direct combat screens where the game cuts away to these side on mini battles and unlocks the framerate to ideally 60fps but frequently bounces between 50ish down to just over 30fps in my experience leading to combat appearing to have slowdown at random moments as the Switch struggles to render it. 

These framerate drops don’t detract that much from the experience since the game is turn based the player doesn’t need to have high framerate to enjoy the gameplay as the game isn’t a fighting game or 1st person shooter where reflexes are very important.

Lack of voice acting.

Since all the characters have new voice actors it’s a real shame that there isn’t more voice acting in the game as most of the dialogue is just in text boxes without being voiced.

So most of the new voice actors go to waste as even when they have voiced lines it is normally only the opening line in the text box as all the rest is silent and there aren’t enough cutscenes to show off the new voice cast.

Difficulty fluctuation.

The difficulty in the remake seems very random at times where the enemy A.I is actually easier on the higher levels (Classic and above) compared to the new Casual difficulty level.

As the enemy is more aggressive and builds more units where this should be the opposite of how the enemy A.I works, as doing this can be off-putting for new players who didn’t play the original as they would see that the game is too difficult to play.

Turn rewind feels redundant.

While this feature is a good idea in theory it turns out to be pretty redundant since you never really need to rewind your turn until you see how the enemy reacts to your turn.

So if they wanted this option to help newcomers then I would suggest letting it rewind to your previous turn on that just the current one, as this would help newcomers learn better positioning and ranges.

Conclusion.

A fantastic remake that keeps the core gameplay and themes of the original games while remaking them and making them more accessible for a modern audience.

If you are a fan of the original two games then these are an essential pickup and serve as a great remake for a great price for the amount of content given to the player with all features present at launch.

Score: 9.0

Calvin
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.

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The Next Axia10th July 2024
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