Reviews: Pokemon Conquest

Decent, but not the best

On a whim the other day I decided to rent this game, and I discovered that I had been a bit spoiled by Nippon Ichi when it comes to turn-based Tactics RP Gs. Even so, some of the things I think make the game difficult to play are barely related to the difference between the two.

1: Each Pokemon has one pre-set move, with no choices in what those moves are. This would have been easy to change by giving them an attack pool similar to an earlier game, Pokemon Rumble.

2: You can only attack after moving. Charge attacks are nice (especially if you have a 'mon with Run Up), but hit-and-run is an actual tactic that would be nice to use.

3: Each Warrior is stuck with whatever Pokemon he gets, including those they link to. What I mean is, isn't one of the ideas in the main series (and I know, as the other review pointed out, this isn't a main series game) to trade Pokemon? If I can't find a Wild Sneasel, but I've run across four different Free Warriors with Sneasels, why can't I recruit one of them, then trade their Sneasel to a different Warrior for one of theirs that might be more compatible for the both of them?

All in all, in my opinion, if you just want to play this game, I'd say rent it, don't buy it (but be careful, renting doesn't usually come with an instruction booklet).


For fans of Pokemon and strategy

I intend to judge this game for what it is: a spinoff, and a pretty good one at that. For those of you bitching that it sucks just because it's not a main series game, go play the main series and shut up. With that out of the way:

Pokemon Conquest (aka Pokemon + Nobunaga's Ambition) is a very unique entry to the series. It takes the elements we know and love, and places them in a new setting and genre. Now, I will say first off: anyone expecting a fully Darker And Edgier story with death, violence and Seppuku is going to be disappointed. This game is almost entirely family-friendly. (though some of the outfits on the female Warlords may raise some parents' eyebrows...) However, young kids probably won't get all the historical references or appreciate the characters' personalities as much.

Which brings me to the game's main strength: the characters. Just looking at their artwork, you can tell they're all massive badasses, and it shows. Every unique Warlord has their own personality, multiple different characterful 'emotion' portraits (think Ace Attorney sprites), and their own stats and powers. Once you find their "Best Link" Pokemon, it'll even appear and pose with them in portraits, a nice touch. They all have their own episode after the main story is complete, for added development.

Running out of words, so I'll get straight to gameplay. I'll be honest here, the gameplay here is nowhere near as deep as other strategy game series like Fire Emblem. This mostly comes from Pokemon only having one move. This of course causes some serious Crippling Overspecialization problems, e.g. Kenshin's Gallade, a Psychic/Fighting type, it useless against Darks as its only move is Psycho Cut. Still, most moves have a variety of interesting aplications.

The game is not overly difficult, but the real challenge comes from not only winning, but winning while recruiting the enemy Warlords. This provides an interesting tactical challenge early-game, where you need to manoeuvre and weaken so that Eevee or Jigglypuff can deal the final blow.

To sum up, this game is easily the best spinoff yet, though it lacks the depth of the main series games and offerings like Fire Emblem. Definitely worth a look for its premise alone, and if you're you're one of those rare people like me who enjoy both Pokemon and Strategy RP Gs, you'll probably enjoy it.