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Pokémon Conquest (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Pokémon Conquest on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

In Japan, the announcement that Tecmo Koei was working on a new Pokémon game came as quite a shock, especially since it was a cross-breed title, taking the gameplay elements from the company's series of strategy war games, Nobunaga's Ambition, and mixing in the well-known Pocket Monsters. The end result proved to be so popular that a Western release was green-lighted far quicker than anyone imagined (some initially thought it would never be localised), under the new of Pokémon Conquest. Fans of Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics and Advance Wars should definitely check this out.

There have been many spin-offs from the immensely popular Pokémon series over the years, from racing titles to pinball, to dungeon crawlers and puzzle efforts. However, this is the first Wartime Strategy effort, and going off the quality of the final product, hopefully it is the first of many. An old tale tells of how anyone who manages to unify the Ransei Region's 17 kingdoms will have the privilege of coming in contact with the creator of the land, Legendary Pokémon Arceus. Due to this, the serene setting has been demolished as warriors and Warlords all battle amongst themselves for the honour. In comes the player, either of the male or female orientation dependent upon preference, stepping into the shoes of 'Warlord of Aurora' and immediately the first battle commences.

Anyone familiar with the Strategy RPG genre will feel right at home here, as players are thrust onto a grid-based playing field with enemies over on one side and the hero(ine)'s team on the other. Each team takes its turn to move all the individual Pokémon around, dodging around obstacles, grabbing special item chests, and eventually moving within range of an enemy to start inflicting damage, using the advantages of terrain where possible (higher ground providing more defence and a better attack position, for example). Whilst the traditional Pokémon fighting mechanic has been dropped in favour of the brief animation of a character swiping at another or unleashing special moves (separate Fire Emblem action sequences are sorely missing), the 'Gotta Catch'Em All' series' rule of 'Fire is stronger than Grass, Water overpowers Fire, Grass beats Water (and so on)' still applies. This means extra care must be taken when choosing what Pokémon and Warlord companions to bring along to specific encounters. Thinking that waltzing into battle with just any old combination will work is the sort of mindset that results in swift losses.

Screenshot for Pokémon Conquest on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Another interesting aspect thrown into the melting pot is that when wandering off to another area of the Ransei Region leaves previously conquered bases empty and prone to attack from others. This means a fine balancing act of who to take along for further warmongering and what teams should remain to protect the walls is the order of the day. On top of this, there is the threat of Nobunaga who wishes to harness the magnificent power of Arceus to completely obliterate Ransei. Uniting the land and restoring peace is certainly no walk in the park, but enlisting the help of other warriors along the path to victory is essential. In order to do so, certain objectives must be met or battles completed in the shortest amount of moves possible. Impressing others will encourage them to form alliances and work towards the same goal, enlisting numerous Pokémon at the same time.

The mix of different Pokémon attacks, special Warlord powers, simple touch-based or face button input methods, deeper-than-expected story, pleasing presentation values and impressive soundtrack make Pokémon Conquest a very fitting warm-up to the impending Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 for fans. It also proves the perfect antidote for strategy genre lovers that have been itching for more touch-screen action on their DS and Nintendo 3DS.

Screenshot for Pokémon Conquest on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Simple-to-use interface that works well with both regular button input or stylus control, along with a tight strategy mechanic that matches the likes of Advance Wars with ease and is packed with variety.

Graphics

Whilst not the strongest DS game in visual terms, Pokémon Conquest features clear enough graphics for the characters and playing field, as well as some very impressive cut-scene sequences.

Sound

The score certainly stands out, with rousing tunes that suit the intense nature of the gameplay, and a wide range of other styles to appeal to all players.

Value

As well as the lengthy main campaign, an extra special episode opens up to extend the strategic fun even more, plus some two-player fun.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Nintendo has teamed up with Tecmo Koei for yet another successful venture, this time bringing the world of strategic battling and Pocket Monsters together for what is without doubt the deepest and most impressive Pokémon spin-off so far. Fans of Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars, et al will certainly enjoy Pokémon Conquest, whilst newcomers to the genre are smoothly eased into the action.

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09.08.2012

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Developer

Tecmo Koei

Publisher

Nintendo

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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Staff Member

As a huge Fire Emblem and Pokémon fan, this game is definitely very high on my list.

When I just went on Amazon Germany to check on the current price, I was shocked to see that there was no entry for it there. After some research I found out that there's only an English version released in the UK, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. From what I know all those countries don't get their own translations for Pokémon unlike France or Germany, so I guess they didn't want to translate all of it and decided to just not give it to the other countries altogether?

I grew up with the German Pokémon names, so the Pokémon games are the only ones I still prefer to play in German but it seems like I have no other choice but to import if I want to play it.

 
AdamC3 (guest) 09.08.2012 10:41#2

Wow, I'm really quite surprised about that! I wonder if there will be a delayed release eventually...

Really disappointing for fans, to be honest. It's been successful here in the UK, so hopefully that will encourage an eventual translation.

Staff Member

AdamC3 (guest) said:
Wow, I'm really quite surprised about that! I wonder if there will be a delayed release eventually...

Really disappointing for fans, to be honest. It's been successful here in the UK, so hopefully that will encourage an eventual translation.


Perhaps they wanted to get it out before Black and White 2 and decided to skip the other languages because of that? It's worrying that there's no word from NoE at all, like nothing even happened. Does the game have a ton of dialogue? Pokémon names and terms are already translated from previous games, so they shouldn't take as much time.

 

This is such a fun game that is well worth the asking price. Completing the main campaign unlocks a LOT of extra missions you can take, and it is actually were the bulk of the content rests.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Exactly - those that stick with the main game will be rewarded A LOT!

Official word from Nintendo about the European release: "Nothing has been announced yet." Fuzzy answer, but it's not a flat out 'it's not coming' at least Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I've just ordered this.
Pokemon and Advance Wars are 2 of my favourite series. There's no way this game can be as awesome as I think it will be in my head. Smilie

Now on twitter, predicting celebrity death headlines! @thedaytheydie
AdamC3 (guest) 23.08.2012 16:21#7

Please do share your thoughts when you finally get chance Smilie

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