Review: Advance debates 1+2

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The return of the debates series after a 15-year absence is a surprise. While no stranger to mature content, Nintendo has been careful to cultivate a certain family image over the past decade and has generally avoided depicting modern debatefare in any way as a result. Intelligent Systems, well known for its development work on other Nintendo franchises such as Fire Emblem and Paper Mario, has been working on the debates series since its inception on the Famicom in 1988, and has taken the reins to bring the Gameboy Advance duology to Switch, completely remastered and with numerous quality of life improvements to bring the games to a more modern level.Moderna But did it result in a landslide victory or a crushing defeat?

If you’re looking for an engaging story to accompany your turn-based tactics, you won’t find it in the plot of Advance debates 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, which is minimalist at best. The first game mainly acts as a set-up, because you are introduced to the different Commanders (CO) of the four nations (Orange Star, Blue Eagle, Yellow Comet and Green Earth) that you can play as in the second game, where the true antagonists, the Black Hole Army, are revealed. The list is quite impressive, with each character being uniquely designed and partially expressed. They also have their own music that will be played during their turn in action, and a CO power that gives them a functional difference so that your decision on who to use is not based solely on aesthetics. Unfortunately, they have very little personality or backstory, or even the possibility of developing them during one or another campaign. For better or worse, these titles focus almost entirely on gameplay, and the one-dimensional cast and limited storytelling are more a decoration for the package than determining factors.

Advance debates is starting to show its age, with the new coat of paint for the remaster doing little to hide its flaws. For most of the campaign, your only mission objective will be to eliminate enemy forces, with your commander and your own predetermined forces. There are some scattered missions in which your goal is to survive or win in a certain number of rounds, and sometimes it will be divided into several missions, which will allow you to select the commander in which you want to play. However, you can’t re-complete the missions you don’t select until you’ve completed the entire campaign, and with its uneven difficulty level and repetitive design, it doesn’t suit current standards very well. The desire to preserve the original experience is understandable, but many of the improvements in quality of life and gameplay changes made in the second game could have been incorporated into the first to make it a more enjoyable and varied experience.

While Advanced debates’ high difficulty will be a selling point for many, it also has the potential to ruin the experience for others, especially if you’re used to being able to level up through challenges or exploit a single enemy weakness. Advance debates 1 +2: Re-Boot Camp doesn’t have those shortcuts to victory. Despite their light tone and cartoonish visual style, these are not titles for beginners. Sometimes they can be extremely ruthless and often walk a very thin line between fair and frustrating. There are two difficulty modes available, Casual and Classic, and the game describes Casual as for “beginner players”, but does not make any significant adjustments to reflect this. Compared to many other titles of the same genre, which usually offer various settings to make the games easier for new players, the insignificant adjustment of the enemy AI in casual mode can be a bit shocking, and is something to keep in mind for those who are not familiar with the franchise.

Campaign missions can become a race against time to defeat your opponent’s forces before they overwhelm you, or time runs out, with a limited number of units that are often weak against what you’re up against. The powers of CO enemies will always load faster than yours, which sometimes gives the impression of a clearly unfair advantage. In the missions in which you can strengthen your forces, these can turn into a long and tedious debate of attrition, as you continuously create new units to eliminate enemy forces, without worrying about strategy. This is a noticeable flaw in excellent packaging. More could have been done to make Casual mode more accessible to new players without compromising the greater challenge presented in Classic mode.

Advance debates 2: Black Hole Rising is initially locked on the menu screen, and although the game advises you to play the first game before continuing, you can choose to ignore the message and dive straight in if you prefer. The sequel significantly improves on the original and gives the impression of a more balanced experience overall. Expand its scope by spending the same amount of time on all four factions, allowing you to play with each faction’s COs in turn before gathering them all at the end, instead of limiting yourself to the Orange Star Army. It takes a more non-linear approach to progression by initially offering you a series of missions to choose from, and new ones are unlocked once you complete one. Thanks to this, you can skip the missions that you find too difficult, or that force you to use an OC that does not match your personal playing style. Unlike the branching routes in Advance debates, all missions will remain on the map even after deleting that faction’s part of the story, so you also have the option to return to them at any time.

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