Check this out for details on ALL of the new units!
Advance Wars Dual Strike is a much more expansive game than Advance Wars 2. Even if it were just the core game, it still adds six new units and a big campaign mode, as well as a big selection of War Room maps. On top of that, there's eight-player single-cartridge play, and a wealth of exotic new modes.
To clear up any misconceptions, Combat Mode is played with a single unit at a time, and it's only one mode, not the majority of the game. It has a little more in common with Smash TV than with StarCraft. It's really just a fun fast-paced minigame that makes a good diversion from using your brain too much. Using one hand to control the active unit and the other to aim shots with the stylus works comfortably, so you can move and try to lead shots against enemy units. Tanks fire single long range shots, recon units fire short range rapid fire, and artillery fire short range dispersing explosions. You can still repair units on friendly cities and hide in the trees if fog of war is on, and you can destroy mountains by firing at them.
The Campaign mode introduces Nell's sister, Rachel, as a new CO, along with Jake. I did a little looking around in the War Room maps, and found two other Black Hole COs, Jugger (a big robotic guy) and Koal, a Japanese-kabuki-ish character. In the CO design area (probably just color selection again) I counted 23 COs in total. There seems to be a fourth CO for each of the Blue Moon, Yellow Comet, and Green Earth armies, seven COs for Orange Star, and four COs in total for Black Hole. I saw Flak, Lash, Jugger, and Koal, but I'd like to think they'd bring back at least Hawke, if not Adder or even Sturm. Existing COs that I saw have the same powers as they did in AW2.
If you're like me, you may have been let down when Advance Wars 2 only added one new unit. AWDS adds an awesome six:
- The Mega Tank is a bigger tank. Bigger is better, right? The mobility of it sucks, though.
- The Piperunner moves along the pipes exclusively. Remember the ones introduced in AW2?
- The Stealth Fighter is extremely hard to beat - when in Stealth mode, it can't be hit by Artillerly, Missiles, or anything except Fighters. It can attack land, sea, and air units, and does pretty big damage. It uses fuel quickly, though. This could be the new uber unit.
- The Black Bomb is essentially a guided missile or kamikaze. You move it to a square and command it to detonate, damaging all units within a certain radius.
- The Black Boat works as a Lander and carries two ground units, but it can also repair other units.
- The Carrier ship can hold two Fighters, and fire ranged anti-air missiles.
Advance Wars Dual Strike is simply too huge for everything to be discovered on the show floor, and that's definitely a good sign, I think. I'm particularly looking forward to the very accessible and convenient multiplayer with one cartridge, and the occasional faster-paced action in Survival and Combat modes.