Pokemon Conquest Review
I think pretty much everyone’s jaw dropped when news of Pokemon Conquest first came out. The odd cross over between the incredibly popular Pokemon series and the unheard of (in the west) Nobunaga’s Ambition series had most of us asking what on earth Nintendo were thinking and finally we’ve found the answer. Pure genius seems to come close as this role-playing strategy game certainly does deliver.
The game starts you out nice and slow, introducing you to each mechanic as it comes as not to confuse any Pokemon fans new to the genre. A little too slow for some things as it won’t be until after the main campaign that you realise in a way the first 15 hours have just been a tutorial.
That being said it was certainly a fun tutorial so it’s not entirely a bad thing. I do feel that the game babies us a lot during this time, as you’ll be hard pressed to find much of a challenge during the main story line.
After this however the game introduces you to mini scenarios that are taking place now that no giant wars are going on. Most of the disputes are incredibly petty and without much story worth paying attention to, but the game play is certainly core at this point. Trying to level up your Pokemon whilst being attacked by other warlords and still trying to defend is demanding and definitely makes this game worthy of its RPG strategy genre.
Pokemon fans are in for a treat as they get to see Pokemon in a new setting and with a freshness that the franchise has needed for a while now. Our many years of learning type advantages and abilities has not gone to waste as these things still apply but with added extras. Not only do Pokemon have abilities that can grant advantage on the field but so do their corresponding war lord. Each war lord can control only one Pokemon per battle but can link with other wild Pokemon in an attempt to form the perfect bond.
This is basically Conquests own version of a leveling system; the more a warlord uses a Pokemon the stronger the bond will become, which allows Pokemon to grow more powerful and evolve. The sad news is that Pokemon are limited to only one attack, so how useful a Pokemon will actually be is restricted at times.
The other burst of freshness in this game is the art. In a way there are no real cut scenes which feel lazy and stories are told with text and still images of characters reacting. These stock images are repeated each time this character has a similar reaction and it means the game can struggle to hold your interest when discussing plot points. Saying this the characters are beautifully drawn with far more detail than we usually see in Pokemon style artwork and really brings a good feel of a fantasy yet traditional Japanese setting which is a nice change to most Pokemon games.
The music will also have you doing double takes of your DS as it sounds almost nothing like a Pokemon game. The melodies all carry oriental tunes which, when paired with the art style really enhances the setting. It’s an odd match for a Pokemon game as is so much about this crossover, but somehow it works. They’ve certainly cleaned up the story in this take of Nobunaga and the worlds are cartoony and bright to fit in with the younger audience while leaving the game itself accessible to all ages which is an impressive feat.
There’s not really much bad to say about Pokemon Conquest. Sure it would be nice if the Pokemon could have more attacks but they’ve coded a considerable amount of them in to the game to make up for this. The game can be a bit slow paced and repetitive at times but that’s a fault of the genre more so than the actual game.
I didn’t find myself truly feeling worn out on the repetition until I had invested about 30 hours of game play and it’s very satisfying to raise your Pokemon, have them evolve and destroy your enemies just as it should be. For Pokemon and strategy fans alike this game is an excellent addition to any DS collection and hopefully we’ll get to play it’s successor on the 3DS at some point in the future.