While we’ve finished our review of Pokémon Conquest (SPOILER: We think it’s awesome), we do have a collection of Pokémon fans here at Population GO who wanted to give their final thoughts on Nintendo and Koei’s strategy RPG creation.
If you’re a Pokémon fan and haven’t been able to decide whether or not to pick up the latest Pokémon game yet, read on and find out the answer to the burning question: Should you surrender your wallet to Pokémon Conquest?
Dan: While Pokémon Conquest is the only Pokémon spinoff game since the GameCube, I can see why people call it the best spinoff game yet. My best friend, who doesn’t like RPG’s, asked me to explain to him Pokémon Conquest. I explained that it was exactly like the main series, with some twists. You still control six Pokémon but each Pokémon can only use one move; these moves have a range and you must maneuver your Pokémon to the best position to attack. With my experiences with the game I can say that Pokémon Conquest is so successful because it takes the same elements and concepts of Pokémon and merges them with elements of a different genre of games that mesh well together. This creates an experience that is fluid.
I enjoyed Pokémon Conquest because it was both familiar and new. I love Pokémon games and I love strategy RPGs (especially Fire Emblem). This game is a simplified version of both that offers elements I have not seen in either genres before. The storytelling, for one, is unique to Pokémon. The main playthrough is an overlying story while the after quests explain the stories of each character in the overlying story. This mode of storytelling stuck me as unique and different. Although I greatly enjoyed this storytelling technique, I didn’t like how most of my hard work from the main playthrough did not transfer to the side stories. I totally understand the reasoning behind it, and don’t think there is a way around it. But I still don’t like it.
What cemented Pokémon Conquest, in my mind, as a gem is the final battle of the main playthrough. Without spoiling what happens, I just want to say that this battle changed how I view legendaries, specifically those that participated in this battle. They are completely overpowered, which is how they should be but aren’t in the main series. I look forward to beating every side quest simply to see how amazing each legendary is. That alone is enough to make me thoroughly complete the game. So far this game has been a treat and I expect only better things from what I have yet to unlock.
Anthony: What’s this? Another Pokémon game?
Pokémon Conquestis, in short, pretty addicting. There’s nothing new to the makeup of a strategy RPG but when you infuse Japanese feudal history with close to 200 Pokémon with its many battle elements, the nerd in me gets nerdier and the geek geekier. To say that this is probably the best Pokémon spinoff game ever is an understatement considering that I’m still trying to complete all the post-narrative stuff. I thought I was done after conquering all of Ransei (hey, it’s THAT Pokémon!) but nope, now I get to play as everyone else but the hero.
It might seem like just another Pokémon game, but it has most of the mechanics that gets me glued to this tiny DS screen and have me playing hours at a time until I am forced to put it down. Sure, the Pokémon are stuck with one move but that doesn’t mean the battles are horribly simplified. Add in the different abilities of each warrior and warlord and the tides can turn just like that. Also, this Perfect Link thing makes me digress from conquering other castles to hunting down the right partner…
This isn’t a review but I can honestly say that this is one of the better games so far and that I would recommend it for anyone with a DS and a love for either feudal Japan or Pokémon.
Edward: As I’ve already wrote the full review of Pokémon Conquest, I’m going to avoid repeating myself and focus on some elements that I didn’t get around to before.
I really do like Pokémon Conquest. I think it fulfills some of the enormous void in my heart left by Final Fantasy Tactics. The turn-based strategy genre may be slightly old fashioned, but it remains an underutilized tool in the kits of developers. That’s why X-COM: Enemy Unknown has seen such a popularity spike. But I digress.
Pokémon Conquest follows a number of turn-based strategy conventions, like the recruitment of allies, strict movement on a grid, and the sickeningly straightforward story, but everything it does all of it very well, bringing me back again to reminisce about the good old days of turn-based strategy. On the other hand, Pokémon Conquest did piss me off. A LOT.
I was completely addicted to keep recruiting more warriors and Pokémon to make the best possible team for the story, but at the last second it felt like the rug was pulled out from under my feet when everything was yanked away, from warriors to Pokémon. Why did Koei feel the need to force players to start over after finishing the story? For me at least, the design decision to take so much away from players without warning is maddening. Almost every game nowadays has some sort of “New Game+” feature, so why couldn’t it be used for players to start over the story on a harder difficulty? This is probably the biggest sticking point I have for the game, which tarnishes an otherwise great experience.
That doesn’t stop me from thinking of a sequel, with an expanded map, actual movesets for Pokémon, warrior classes, and the ability to stack more warriors on any given kingdom. I also wouldn’t mind if the next Pokémon Conquest game came out a year from now, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
[Images via PokemonConquest.com]