My first exposure to Pokemon was initiated by the news that kids in Japan watching the show were experiencing seizures. That was 17 years ago, and now I feel old. Since then, I’ve played almost every game and watched more then enough of the anime series to give a grown man a seizure, along with some odd looks from the elderly. Yes, in those days I was a parade walking Otaku. Actually, I still am. I just don’t get into the creepy stuff anymore, I guess feeling real boobs will do that to a person.
Yes, Pokemon has aways been about some snot-nosed kid trying to capture a bunch of creatures while fighting other creatures and wanting to be the best, or something like that. However, sometimes a Pokemon game will branch out and make you do other things like getting lost in a dungeon or go on a picture taking safari. This Pokemon game will make you question your sanity, and sometimes we need that.
Pokemon Conquest is a turn-based RPG strategy game that combines the world of Pokemon with a fictional version of Feudal Japan. More specifically, this is a combination of Pokemon with the classic Koei war series Nobunaga’s Ambition. As a matter of fact, the Japanese title for this game is Pokemon + Nobunaga’s Ambition. This may sound like the the worst idea ever, but it works so well and I am hooked on this game.
The game takes place in the fictional land of Ransei. You, as the player, will decide if you are a male or female warlord, and then you will go on a journey to conquer the 17 kingdoms of Ransei. Instead of slicing and dicing your way to the top, you will use cuddly Pokemon which makes war cute and happy for whole family.
The main battle system takes place using an isometric overhead view. Those of you who love Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre will feel at home. Each battle has a set number of turns you can take. During each turn, you can move within the isometric grid and battle with each of your Pokemon, which are attached to a specific warlord. As you go conquering the 17 kingdoms, you will make friends with other warlords. All of them just so happily love Pokemon and will form a stronger bond with their pocket monsters by battling. However, not just any Pokemon will do. Each warlord can only get a 100% strength bond with one specific Pokemon. Overall, there are 200 warlords and 200 Pokemon to collect and conquer with.
The graphics look very nice on the DS or 3DS. There are lots of natural settings such as forests and waterfalls. Each of the 17 kingdoms has it’s own look, for example one area deals in Fire Pokemon, and you get to battle inside of an active volcano that is dropping rocks onto the battlefield. Also, the Pokemon themselves have never looked better on any portable platform. It makes me wish for an anime series based on this universe.
One of the stranger aspects of Pokemon Conquest is the whole calendar system. This system only lets you do one major action per month, such as training your Pokemon or conquering a new land, but not both. This calendar system is a call-back to the Nobunaga’s Ambition games which went in seasons instead of months. Also, the music is just a kickass combination of Japanese traditional sounds fused with a 16-bit happy gaming music delight. It’s one of the best soundtracks to any Pokemon game.
In conclusion, Pokemon Conquest is an incredible game that is both easy to get into and incredibly deep at the same time. This game might not be for everyone, but those who are open minded enough to give this a shot (Pokemon fans and just RPG strategy fans alike) will find that this game is strange, charming, and just completely awesome.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.