When I first heard about Pokémon Conquest, I instantly thought to myself, “Why, it’s Pokémon and Fire Emblem combined!” Now that I’ve had my hands on the game for some time, I can safely say that it is indeed such a combination. Let’s take a closer look at this Pokémon spin-off!
Before we begin, let me say that this is not an actual combination of Pokémon and Fire Emblem, but rather a combination of Pokémon and a game series called Nobunaga’s Ambition, which is a Japan exclusive (as far as I know).
The plot is pretty straight-forward: there’s a legend that says that the Warlord whom unites all of Ransei’s 17 kingdoms will have a meeting with its creator, a Pokémon of unimaginable power. This gives way to warlords who wish to unite all of Ransei and seek its creator. Some wish to capture it and abuse its power, others wish to simply unite Ransei. Nobunaga is one such Warlord who wants to abuse the Pokémon’s power to destroy Ransei, and you are the new Warlord of Aurora, now tasked with reuniting Ransei and stopping Nobunaga.
It’s good enough to keep the plot moving as you play, so I’m content with it, but I definitely wish the plot was more involved and tied in with gameplay.
There are extra stories to play besides the main game, but I haven’t gotten to those yet. I do hear they’re pretty good, though.
A lot of the other Warlords have personality, but, to be perfectly honest, none stand out because of the way the plot moves forward. There’s nothing really deep about them besides that they act differently. I think Oichi is the most developed character so far, and she doesn’t really stand out, either. The rest of the warriors you recruit are NPC’s with the same patterns, so you get a lot of the same personalities. I understand why, but it definitely takes away from the game for me, a little.
The music is very medieval Japanese times, which is awesome for me. The battle music is great, and it definitely got me into each battle when I went to take over a kingdom, but other than that only a few pieces in certain levels really spoke to me. The world map music changes as you progress, which is nice because it gets a little bland at times. The graphics are decent overall, but the new character art for the Pokémon are awesome, which makes up for the graphics. A lot of the same kinds of areas are used, too, but the Warlord arenas are all pretty cool.
The atmosphere could have been incredible, but it’s just sub-par. While it is Pokémon, so 6-on-6 is the norm for battling, I wish the game could have used its plot more effectively and made you really feel like you’re raising an army as you conquer kingdoms. Before you even battle, you walk up to the opposing Warlord and chat with them. I would’ve preferred them just going in and invading like a true army.
This is easily the best part of this game. You engage in (usually) 6-on-6 Pokémon battles with kingdoms as you conquer them, and are given certain conditions for victory alongside a time limit. It’s very cool, and the way the battle system works is great, with the whole host of Pokémon types and moves coming in and playing a part. It makes the game a little easy because each kingdom has its own type with one deviation to throw you off, but generally if you bring a team of a type that is super-effective against it, you’re going to win without even breaking a sweat.
There’s also an energy system which raise and lower a Pokémon’s stats, but these are negligible, at least for me. I’ve never had these greatly help or hinder me, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Recruit warriors and catching Pokémon are interesting, but ultimately simply and easy. Just beat a warrior’s Pokémon in less than 4 turns, with a super-effective move, or a critical hit to recruit them (with one extra requirement for Warlords), and for Pokémon, you walk up to them, click the “Link” button, and press the A button a bunch of times.
What’s cool about that, however, is the way the link system works. Each warrior has a “Perfect Link”, or a Pokémon they can reach 100% link with, meaning they are at their strongest. If you don’t have a perfect link, the % may be anywhere from 40% – 90%, which means they won’t be as strong. You can try to link with more powerful Pokémon by linking warriors with their suited types. Finding perfect links is part of the challenge, as building an army of perfect link Pokémon will be long, but it will make your army incredibly powerful.
What I don’t like about the link system is one thing: sometimes the evolution of a perfect link won’t be a perfect link, and that, to me, seems ridiculous.
What really makes this game shine for me is the delegation system and world map AI. As you conquer kingdoms, the CPU will actually start to invade you, and if you don’t have any warriors there, it will be taken and you have to re-conquer it. To prevent this, you can leave up to 6 warriors (including any Warlords you have recruited) at any kingdom you have conquered, and you can instruct them to train, search for Pokémon/warriors, or develop your army by searching for gold and raising their Pokémon’s energy. Careful delegation can lead to awesome results, and it’s cool when the AI invades and you’ve got a beefed up army waiting since you delegated.
There’s so much more to this game than just that – you have to pick and choose who goes to which kingdom to maximize your gold and training, who should you recruit, what Pokémon to link with, and so on and so forth. It’s actually an incredibly deep system.
Pokémon Conquest is a game that gives you a lot in terms of battling, but could’ve delivered more on its story. Still, as a Pokémon and Fire Emblem fan, I love the game, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Pokémon or Fire Emblem.
Final Score: 7/10