Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pokemon Conquest Review (Spoiler free!!!!)

   Hello everyone and welcome to another review!  Today I'll be doing an in depth review of Pokemon Conquest for the Nintendo DS.  Now, you all know my reliance on my favorite youtubers for their insight and their videos, however, i have never seen a review for this game!  This means you may be reading this very late as it took me a while to find videos and such worth showing to help you understand the game.  Let me just say now, this game is VERY DIFFERENT than most Pokemon games.  There is no way i could explain all the new mechanics and features, but I'll try to talk about the coolest stuff and allow you to research the rest on your own.  Please forgive formatting issues and enjoy!!  

Overview:  Pokemon Conquest, or Pokemon+Nobunaga's Ambition, is a crossover between the Pokemon and the Nobunaga's Ambition series.  The game takes place in the land of Ransei region (which is shaped like Arceus) using Pokemon from generations 1 through 5.  The game came out in Japan in March 2012 and we received it in June the same year.  The game mixed the strategy checkerboard style of Nobunaga's Ambition with the moves, concepts, and mythology of Pokemon.  I myself have never even heard of Nobunaga's Ambition before i heard about the game and was very skeptical about the style and game play.  Straight off the bat, let me say this is not your normal Pokemon game.  You're not a trainer, you don't have a quest to catch every Pokemon and become the champion, and no, your journey does not take a few days, or even weeks.  It takes years.        
Heroine and eevee
Plot:  The plot is actually extremely explained on the video here as well is the game play.  I really suggest watching that video before you read so you understand what i mean.  The basic plot is, you play as either the Hero or Heroine in a world where there are a few special people who have the ability to link with Pokemon.  There are no Pokemon trainers, pokeballs, or even rangers.  This is simply a world where friendship is how your Pokemon stays beside you.  Your loyal Pokemon is none over than the versatile eevee.  This may seem like a downer because you don't get to chose, however, eevee can be evolved multiple types and actually is amazingly fun as a starter.  (Now i know why Gary got him in Pokemon Yellow)  You become a warlord in charge of a city or kingdom and your goal is to go from kingdom to kingdom and conquer the world, or rather, stop Nobunaga from doing so.  You are assisted by a  wonderful girl named Oichi and her Jiggilypuff who helps you long your way.  As you travel from kingdom to kingdom, a few warlord will join you as well as other warriors who will assist you in you battles.  You can also link with new Pokemon however i will explain more on this later.  This plot overall, is amazing.  It shows how Pokemon really should be-close companions that help you through the battle rather than enslaved in tiny Pokeballs.  Everyone can debate the ideal Pokeball theory where inside is a perfect habit, however you still have to remember, you did take them from their real home and put them in the P.C.  I like to think they are happy there, but we can't be sure.  This world allows you to form a bond with your Pokemon and the best part is, you only have one.  Plus, as I'll discuss later, this plot is really helped by the amazing people you meet and amazing other parts of this game.  9.5         
Game play:  The game play is really well explained in the video on the main paged i linked to above.  You're Pokemon are placed on the board and you may move each one along the given spaces.  In each kingdom you can have up to 6 warriors each with up to 4 Pokemon they have befriended, however, in battle, only one from each can fight.  This keeps the 6 on 6 dynamic, but in a brand new way to the game, without the use of switching out Pokemon and catching infinitely many.   From there, your Pokemon (all 6 at a time) can attack.  This is where the game differs from most Pokemon games.  Your Pokemon has only 1 attack and can only be used a certain way.  For example, fire types with the move Ember but attack from 2 spaces away.  Some moves, such as blizzard, can attack 2 rows of 3 each ahead of you.  Getting to know each move is vital to your strategy.  As a Pokemon evolves, it's move changes and you don't have a choice on which.  Where this does seem hard, there are multiple warriors and Pokemon with different moves to pick from so it's not all that bad.  All of your Pokemon may move and attack and then it is the enemies turn to do so just like in the actual games. Also, when you're not battling, you can go to the shops or mine for gold.  This however is where i have a problem with the game.  Each game takes a sort of "round by round" approach in that the game tales place in "months."   In each kingdom you conquer, you can
The kingdoms of Ransei
enter and each warrior can do one of many things.  In every kingdom there is at least 1 place to find Pokemon and warriors to train with or recruit to your cause and generally 1 store and 1 ponigiri store (a ponigiri is a food that increases a Pokemon's energy or link to a warrior).  Each warrior can only do 1 thing per month.  You can either take that warrior to train or to the shop.  If one character shops, they can't train but they can buy supplies for everyone.  Let me try to explain the moth mechanic.  Every month, each warrior in any kingdom can do anything 1 thing.  As you conquer other kingdoms, you can tell the leader of the kingdoms you are not currently in what to do by delegating them to either train, search for allies, or gather gold and resources or you can just enter that kingdom and train as those warriors.  After every character in the kingdom you are currently in has completed their task, you are moved on to the next month (or you can move months at your leisure by pressing the Next Month button on the screen).  Every month, you are allowed to attack another kingdom as well as your 1 move which is what you'll be spending most of your time doing.  You march from a connected city and attempt to complete the task given to you whether it's simply defeat all enemies or claim all he flags.  However, if you leave a kingdom without strong warriors to defend it, enemy kingdoms may attack it and you will be forced to protect your kingdom with the few you have there.  It took me a total of over 6 YEARS to beat the came so don't worry about time.  This all may seem very confusing and in retrospect, it is, but as you play the game you really are eased into the flow of it

all and it just seems to make sense.  I actually really like these mechanics but I'll admit there is a drastic difference from the rest of the Pokemon series so i understand why people may not agree with me.  If you are a dedicated fan of Pokemon and are willing to try this new genre of game, i definitely suggest it but if all of this seems a bit crazy to you, i suggest avoiding it.  8.5                  
Graphics:  O lord the graphics.  This game has an overworld sprite form rather than the battle form used in the normal series of the game.  There are also an abundance of cut scenes similar to those used in Clash of Heroes where a still picture and text is used.  Each character (or at least main characters) have 4 emotions where as others have 2 or 3.  There Pokemon such as your eevee have the same emotion you do and are really adorable.  The character models are AMAZING.  Most of these guys are fantastically hot or if not, adorably cute.  Plus, all characters have amazing outfits that match their Pokemon.  As you could see above in the picture of the heroine, the outfits re very feudal era Japanese but many have modern twists that are just fantastic.  The sprites for the Pokemon were amazing as well.  The attacks look cute and have real animations, you can see the Pokemon take hits, and the emotional "I'm sorry Lady Lea" from each warrior as their Pokemon faint in battle is heart breaking.  The bright colors, amazing character and Pokemon visuals, coupled with everything else really adds to the story and makes it wonderful.  9.5.   
I have a fancy for Motonari myself
Sound:  I am a horrible person.  You see, when i play most handheld games it's because i am watching something on TV or listening to something and therefor i hardly ever listen to hand-held music which i know is absolutely terrible.  However, i turned up the volume to listen to these tunes for you all and man do i love them.  The music is very Pokemon.  Many familiar tunes will be played but all of them with this...special sound.  They all sound very much like a lot of Japanese music I've heard and less like music for a videogame.  The music is beautiful and sounds amazing on the 3DS.  Also, as each Pokemon enters the field you get to hear EACH AND EVERY POKEMON'S CRY.  This just...was great for me for some reason.  It was really satisfying to see these little guys line up and make their battle cry ready to defend their kingdom.  Each move also has sound and this was just amazing.  However, the music, great as it may be, wasn't as memorable as other games.  The original Pokemon music sticks in my head a lot more than the Conquest music and sure, if i did hear it i would recognize it, but it' not something I'll be putting on my ipod.   8  
Look at this cutie!!
Script and Writing:  The thing that made this game so great for me was the amazing personalities of each character.  Every single person had a name, a face (even if it was the same as a few others), and a personality.  This was great.  There were cute lines and really added to the story.  Sure these lines weren't nearly as adorably clever as Clash, but the multitude of characters was just amazing.  Also, Oichi has a fun little back story and towards the beginning, she urges you to bring her with you.  Some may not want to, but let me tell you she is vital!  She tells you what lies ahead and also unlocks a multitude of conversations that wouldn't have occurred without her.  I definitely suggest bringing her everywhere.  9
Length:  This game took me 6 years in game to complete meaning 72 months and that MAYBE could have been lessened.  Actual game play time currently is 31:58 and with the post-game content (see below) this can go on for MUCH longer.  If i had stopped to link with every Pokemon and enlist every warrior, i would have spent a heck of a lot of time more.  I love the concept of months showing the long rule of well...me ^^.  Over all, the game is a good length but if you're good, it can be significantly shortened.  Don't worry because there's always something else to do and the hand-held style makes it easy to just pick up and play.  8.5    
Replay-ability:  This is a strange and amazing game in that it allows you to play as the other warlords!  I just beat the main story this morning but I've begun to play the first alternate story and it's really fun.  Apparently, you play through each of the warlords lives before you ever rose to power which is really cool, however, i don't think you can go back to playing as yourself which is really depressing.  I formed such a strong bond with my Umbreon and then just sudden wasn't allowed to be with him anymore.  Maybe i can and i just don't know it yet but i am really sad about that.  However, this game has HOURS of play time to catch em all and play all the stories so it has a lot of replay value!  9    
ALWAYS BRING OICHI!!!!
Boss Battles:  Invading other kingdoms are essentially the boss battles of this game.  You play on their turf with their rules.  Sometimes, it's as simple as just killing all the enemies on a blank field, however most are tricky with environmental traps and mini puzzles.  Every boss felt good.  Some took months to defeat or train for and man was tit satisfying when you beat them.  However, i did (trying to avoid spoilers) find Nobunaga's battle a bit lack luster.  It only took me 2 or 3 tries and then i was done.  It was extremely helpful to have Oichi tell me type weaknesses so i didn't have to look at a chart (although there is one in the handbook for the game.)  The battles over all were really good and satisfying.  8.5    
Downsides:  However, there is a lot negative to say about this game sadly.  The game's point is to make you link with your special Pokemon, however it encourages you to link with multiple ones.  This made me feel sort of bad.  You're urged to connect with your eevee and evolve it, but it can easily be replaced and for the sake of the battle.  I also felt bad making the other characters link with Pokemon and never using their originals again.  This lead to me not having some good Pokemon on my team for the sake of friendship. This is just a personal nitpick i know.  The next problem though is the end game.  I wont reveal how it ends but i did mention after you can play as other characters but not yourself as far as i know and that's really depressing to me, to get that far and then be done.  On that note, you see in the intro how they have legendaries like Articuno, Mewtwo, and Groundon at their sides?  They don't.  Perhaps they're unlockables in the post game but from what I've played, they don't have any of those legendaries and it's really misleading.  The Pokemon they have are still great, but i wish they had had the ones advertised.  Also, if you watched the video above and saw those 3 kids in the intro, you might think they are vital to the story.  Well....the truth is maybe this is just my bad memory, but i can't really remember them helping me AT ALL.  I didn't even know what their accompanying Pokemon were until i saw a picture TODAY.  They show up repeatedly signalling to me they're supposed to be important and occasionally had funny lines, but i still have n idea who they are, why they're there, or what purpose they serve really.   I wish they had been elaborated on but this might just be my bad memory.  Finally, the month method.  Although i love the concept of laboring over time and this being a hard and tiresome battle, it frustrates me that each person can only do one thing.  Because of this, i hardly ever went shopping or crafted items.  If i had, it would have taken years longer to accomplish what i did  This also made the money i earned sort of useless.  In the post game however, it seems there are banks where you can put money into upgrading the places you find Pokemon and shops etc so that's cool.  (Also, this game, like Black and White, feels like there might be romantic possibilities but as always disappoints me.) Sadly, his really brings the score down for me.  3    
Final Verdict:  Overall, this game is amazingly fun and different.  I was so skeptical at first and ever since I've never even heard that much about it but the day i bought it was a good one.  I suggest this game to people who like this game style and Pokemon fans alike if they are willing to adjust.  I love the morals of this game and the art style is amazing.  It's really got somethings i wish the main game would consider.  I love the characters with their amazing individuality.  Sure i saw a lot of the same faces, but each new warrior brought some Pokemon to the mi (sigh...even the ones ho brought magikarp -_-).  I was a bit underwhelmed by the ending, but the potential of this post game is really exciting to me and maybe I'll come back to edit this when i have more information.  All this being said, there were a lot of downsides too and i can understand that hardcore Pokemon fans may not like the format of this game even though i think it to be fresh and fun.  With that, i give this game an whopping 9 just for the fun i had playing it.  I hope some of you will give it a try and tell me what you think!!  (Also, the fact that it has multiple save files is a god-sent!)  8.8 (mathematically 8.2)

    So i really hope you all enjoyed this review!!  This game is really tough to explain so I'm sorry if I'm bad at it.  If you want to read my other reviews and such there is a list of them on this page as well as a post about my favorite videogame baddies here and a post about one of those famous bad-girls, GLADoS, right here.  Most importantly, here is some important news about the state of my gaming and the poll to it has been extended.  Well, that's all for me today.  I'm going to play some Spelunky, rest, and i hope this will hold you all over because tomorrow is mainly going to be homework.  I'll ATTEMPT at gathering information for the X and Y thoughts post for Monday so expect to see that sometime soon.  Vote, follow, +1 and share, and most importantly check back often!  Bye guys!  <3    

P.S.  If you guys have any suggestions on games you'd like me to review, things from this review you'd like me to elaborate on, or even if you have an idea for a good sign off for me at the end of my posts, i'd love to hear it in the comments or in my inbox so click comment or write-in on the right hand side!  TTYL!!