Genre and franchise crossovers aren’t especially uncommon in the world of video games. Games such as Super Smash Brothers or Marvel vs. Capcom combine different worlds and characters to craft an entirely new game experience. Such is the case with Pokémon Conquest, a combination of the strategy series Nobunaga’s Ambition and of course, Pokémon. The result is an overall enjoyable experience for both fans of Pokémon or turn based strategy, though the game is not without some flaws.
Pokémon Conquest puts players in the role of a brand new Warlord, a special warrior who has the ability to form links and communicate with Pokémon. Legend has it that in the world of the game, Ransei, whoever conquers and unites all the kingdoms will come face to face with the creator of both the world and the Pokémon that inhabit it. This provides the motivation for the player character and others to conquer all 17 kingdom with one exception—the Warlord Nobunaga. Nobunaga seeks to conquer all of the kingdoms and believes that by coming face to face with the world’s creator that he will be able to destroy the world. Each of the Warlords in Pokémon Conquest are based on actual historical feudal Japan figures, such as Nobunaga Oda and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, depicted in the game with anime flair that is consistent with that of the main series of Pokémon games.
Conquering all of Ransei involves the turn based strategy of Nobunaga’s Ambition series with the type combinations and “Gotta catch em all!” elements of the Pokémon rpg’s. In 6 vs. 6 battles on a playing field with a grid overlay, players will place their Pokémon strategically to capture various objectives or to simply attack and eliminate the rival Warlords Pokémon. Once a Warlord is defeated, the player gains his/her kingdom and can do with it as they see fit. Areas in each kingdom filled with wild Pokémon and their warriors are available to be defeated and recruited, increasing the ranks of your army and providing your Pokémon with experience points that allow them to become more powerful and evolve just as in other Pokémon titles. Your player character also evolves with time which is a nice addition. In a captured kingdom players can also delegate one of their warriors to rule over the kingdom in your absence by directing them to focus on training the troops, developing resources or recruiting more warriors.
The gameplay works well, even if it is slightly simplistic. Each Pokémon has one available attack move, but also has a passive ability that is activated when certain battle conditions are met and a warrior ability that can be used once per battle. The addition of the warrior abilities are a nice touch and make it seem like the warlord’s actually do something more than just bark commands at their Pokémon. However, having only one available attack option seems to limit player strategy and creativity. Even just having a very small list of available moves for each Pokémon to choose from and only being able to bring one into battle would add much needed depth to the often simplistic battles. Though positioning also plays a role in being victorious, the best way to come out on top is simply to bring in a group of Pokémon that are super effective against whatever Pokémon the enemy is using. As you can always see what Pokémon a warlord is using before declaring battle, it makes it fairly easy to dominate the opposition by simply selecting what is best against your opponent’s weakness.
Besides the battle system suffering too few options, the interface of Pokémon Conquest also leaves something to be desired. It took me two hours to figure out how to find what my Pokémon’s passive ability was and what exactly it did due to the game basically hiding the information from you. Another problem I ran into is warrior management. Acquiring more warriors of various types is emphasized and necessary to do well in the game, but once you begin to recruit a large number of troops it becomes difficult to manage them all. Only 6 warriors can stay in one kingdom, forcing the player to spread out his or her troops all across the map. Moving troops from multiple locations to a new location takes far too long, and a simple solution to this would be to just allow kingdoms to hold more troops, rather than forcing the player to spread them out among all of your kingdoms and then move them across the continent later when they are needed.
Minor gripes aside, Pokémon Conquest is fun to play, and that is essentially what makes or breaks a game. The graphics and character design both work well, the music does its job, and the gameplay holds up to many hours of playtime without losing its touch. Fans of Pokémon and turn based strategy games like Advance Wars or Fire Emblem will find Pokémon Conquest to be worth their time and money, just don’t go in expecting the sum to be as complex as its parts.
Possibly Related Posts:
- Dead Space, A Thrilling Sci-Fi Shooter
- Magic: The Gathering Deck Types: Graveborn
- Big Changes in Store for the TMNT?
- Dishonored – The Next Big Game Franchise?
- Must See Cinema for 2013