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Pokémon Conquest is a new Nintendo DS game that crosses both the Pokémon Franchise and Nobunaga’s Ambition. Nobunaga’s Ambition is a series of Japanese turn-based strategy role-playing games that have been coming out in Japan since 1983. There are a total of currently thirteen different games in the Nobunaga’s Ambition series. This crossover is certain to breathe some new life into the Pokémon series which (besides some of the minor side series games such as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Pokémon Ranger) has never really changed so much in terms of gameplay.
In this new game, the player travels through the Ransei Region befriending Pokémon and battling against Warlords. The player’s goal in the game is to conquer the entire region and unite the Ransei Region into one whole nation and then take on Nobunaga himself before he destroys everything. There is also a legend that the Warlord, who conquers all seventeen regions, will meet the legendary Pokémon, who created the Ransei Region.
As with any Pokémon game, the player is given a starter Pokémon, Eevee, which you have to the ability to evolve into one of seven different types. Each Warlord Leader and Warrior also has a companion Pokémon like the player and also (in the case of the Warlord Leader) wears an outfit corresponding to that Pokémon. Not only do the Pokémon have the ability to evolve, but the Warlords do too, which increases their Pokémon’s movement, allows more Pokémon to be raised, and slightly changes their appearance.
The Battle Mechanics of Pokémon Conquest are different than most Pokémon games, since the player has to move all their Pokémon to a specific range before they can attack. There are also items you can collect which can be used later to boost the stats or heal your Pokémon. For a game that depends on the strength in numbers, obviously befriending Pokémon and Warlords is key but luckily fairly simple. The main way of doing this is by defeating the opponent in four turns or less, but you can also achieve this by defeating the enemy without one or one of their allies taking any damage during the battle.
There are a lot of ways you can play Pokémon Conquest. Players can either attack their enemies directly, train their army, gather even more Warriors and Warlords, or find the Pokémon partner that fits perfectly with their Warriors and Warlords. Unlike in other Pokémon games, where the only real choice one has is what Pokémon one wants to capture and when to take on the Pokémon Gym, the player now has a lot of choices to make in Pokémon Conquest.
This game will have a ton of replay value, which is helped by the fact that after one beats the main storyline, there is still plenty of other stuff to do, such as special episodes. But the most entertaining and challenging part of the game is the battles against kingdoms, mainly because of the vast amount of strategy behind them. Sometimes the player just has to defeat all of their enemies, while other times all they have to do is claim four banners. The player has no idea of what to expect from the nation until they go into battle.
The type of Pokémon the player uses also may give certain advantages, such as flying Pokémon, being able to get to more areas in one turn and water Pokémon, being able to walk across water. Being able to know how Pokémon’s moves work is essential in battle since, in this game (unlike other Pokémon games), the player’s Pokémon only has one move each. Each Pokémon’s move has a different range of where it can hit their opponents, some being right next to the opponent, others being several spaces back.
Some critiques I have to make of the game are the lack of a good story telling and characters. While the overall story of the game is interesting, you never really feel a part of it. The game tells the story so little of the time, instead just telling the player to go conquer another nation.
The characters are pretty much non-existent. There are so few dialogue scenes and the dialogue that is used in battles is always repeated. This is honestly a shame because the player gets the feeling while playing the game that these are fascinating characters, but never get to see them besides being in battle.
Overall though, this is a fun, highly addicting game that will take quite a while to finish. So don’t expect to finish it in a day! If you enjoy Pokémon or strategy type games then you should check it out, but if you’re looking for your typical kind of Pokémon game don’t expect to find it here.