Pokemon Conquest

250px-Pokémon_Conquest_box_art
8.5 Overall Score

Brings back favorite Pokemon I Does well with new gamestyle

Game gets repetitive I No online play

Written by on July 2, 2012 in [, , , , ]

I’m a huge fan of Pokémon. I’ve played the majority of the handheld titles including some of the offbeat games like Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Pinball, and Pokémon Puzzle League. When I heard about Pokémon Conquest at first I was concerned that the series had jumped the shark, but upon seeing gameplay videos, and actually getting my hands on it I can say that I am a changed man.

Pokémon Conquest takes place in the Ransei Region and takes all the familiarity of past Pokémon games and condenses them into a new RPG gamestyle ala Nobunaga’s Ambition, a famous RPG series that focuses on war and conquest. This combination should be an obscure combination, but somehow manages to work. Instead of capturing Pokémon in the hopes of defeating all the gym leaders, you now have to gain allies and capture more Pokémon to conquer kingdoms. As you capture more kingdoms you will gain more allies. Legend tells that the person who captures and unites all 17 kingdoms will be able to capture the legendary Pokémon, Arceus. The journey to capturing all 17 kingdoms won’t be an easy one, so don’t think you can breeze through this game in an afternoon. Including the special content after completing the game, you’re looking at over 100 hours of gameplay.

You start out as a young character who has just been proclaimed the Warlord of Aurora. Using your faithful Eevee it is up to you to begin your conquest. No Warlord can conquer alone, so first you need to gain some allies. The game does a great job of explaining the mechanics of conquering and gaining allies and I’m really happy about how the game is so easy to pick up. Your first ally is Oichi, another young character who has a Jigglypuff, and proves to be a huge help along the way. Each region you conquer gives you more chances to capture new Pokémon and gain new allies. To gain allies you must defeat your opponents within 4 turns, or fulfill special goals mentioned at the beginning of the conquest. As you gain more allies you will be able to fortify your territories and strengthen your troops. There are 200 warriors and 200 Pokémon to collect, so the replayability of Pokémon Conquest is off the charts.

Each Pokémon, on top of its base attack, has a special ability which it can use in battle depending on what type of warrior is commanding it. This ranges from raising its defense, to causing extra damage, to increasing the range of its attacks. Mastering these is a must if you want to conquer all 17 territories. Pokémon Conquest is more than just strength and special abilities though. You also have to factor in type advantages, field bonuses, the bond between a warrior and their Pokemon, and space requirements for enemy movement and attack. To call this game “strategic” would be putting it lightly. I have sat staring at my 3DS screen for minutes trying to figure out what the best strategy is for my situation. Every time you win a conquest or a battle with a Pokémon or an enemy, the link between your Pokémon and your warrior increases. Increase these links enough and your Pokemon will level up, strengthen its moves, and possibly evolve.

The hand-drawn style of Pokémon Conquest really makes the game pop, giving an anime feel to the Pokémon, locations, and warriors. The sprites they created for the game are beyond anything I’ve seen before and I loved the work they put into making each character unique. With each different attack comes a different visual, and being able to watch how the warriors react to things going on on the field makes the experience even more enjoyable.

Another gameplay mechanic that takes a while to get used to is the time system. Each turn in the world map constitutes one month. During this month you can look for allies or new Pokémon, or attempt to conquer a new region. Each ally only gets to perform one of these actions a turn before you have to advance to the next month, so you need to coordinate your attacks to maximize your time. Each ally doesn’t need to even move every turn, but it is in your best interest to utilize every resource you have because after a while you will start taking beatings from warriors who vastly outnumber you in strength. While you are attempting to conquer a region you are also under a time constriction. Most conquests give you ten turns in order to fulfill a goal, like capturing all the flags on the field, or eliminating the enemy team. Fail to do so within ten turns and you will have to start over in the next month. It’s all about well-timed strategy and thinking severals turns ahead.

Pokémon Conquest isn’t limited to just the content within the game itself. Additional Pokémon and other perks are available for download and purchase. You can buy Pokémon Conquest packs that will allow you to catch Pokémon like Pikachu, Dratini, Larvitar, and many more. The only downside is that once you put in a code you only have one in-game month in which you are eligible to capture the Pokémon, so you better not screw it up or you will be reloading your save game often.

The only gripes I have with Pokémon Conquest is that it feels like there is too much going on within the game. On top of conquering new regions you also have to manage items, charisma bonuses, mine for gold, move warriors around to defend your kingdom, all of which gives me a headache after a while. Pokémon Conquest may be rated “E for Everyone” but I don’t see how a child could play this game and understand the complex mechanics. I would have also liked to see some online interactions between players instead of being forced to play locally only.

Pokémon Conquest is out now on the Nintendo DS and is rated “E for Everyone”. For those of you who love the Pokémon series and are wary about whether Pokémon Conquest is the game for you, I urge you to try it. It brings back Pokémon from every generation and masterfully melds the Pokémon series with more serious RPG titles like Nobunaga’s Ambition. Are you a strong enough warrior to catch em’ all?

 

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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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