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Review: ‘Pokémon Conquest’ for the Nintendo DS

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (15 votes)

Pokémon ConquestWith The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers hitting theaters this summer and together making approximately all of the money, conversations at work have gotten weird. I mean, I have definite opinions on which superhero would win against which superhero in a fight (for the record, Squirrel Girl always wins, Batman never loses and Rainbow Dash beats Starscream), but these people are not geeks. They could probably beat me up, they have social lives outside of the Internet and I’m pretty sure they’ve all lost their virginity.

Okay, I get it, comic books are cool now, although my coworkers were still so puzzled by Squirrel Girl that I was spared from having to explain who Rainbow Dash is. But when they debated whether Mewtwo or Professor X* was the better psychic, I almost lost it. I am not sure I like this brave new world where even Pokémon are cool.

The good news is, Pokémon Conquest for the Nintendo DS is not cool. How not cool? Well, it came out in June, I am reviewing it in September, and have almost wasted 200 words not talking about it. I guess I should start doing that.

Gameplay

Gameplay is part of why it has taken me forever to beat this game, and I am not talking about the difficulty. This is a turn based strategy game, not unlike the Fire Emblem series of games from Nintendo, of which the GameCube iteration is my entire previous experience with the genre that ended in a completed game.

Turn based strategy games are kind of like the caviar of video games; I hear it’s great if you can afford to develop the taste, but most of us don’t. These games require a high investment of time, and can be very frustrating, but that makes the final victory, if you can pull through, worth it.

That’s the major drawback of Pokemon Conquest’s gameplay; it’s not frustrating and can be breezed through very quickly. It didn’t take me two months to beat the game; it took me a couple hours and then two months to drag myself back to the game after I went on “vacation”.

It’s a watered down experience; it may be an acquired taste, but if you like sturgeon eggs enough you’re willing to pay full price for that stuff, you want real sturgeon eggs.

Story

Over a year ago, I mentioned the story as one of the highlights of Pokémon: Black and White, which vastly improved previous generations’ simple “unknown challenger becomes contender” storylines. This is a perfectly fine storyline that appears in at least one Oscar Best Picture nominee a decade, but you do not really appreciate it in the Pokémon games until you play one that fails to make good on even this simple premise.

You are the new Warlord of a kingdom in the land of Ransei, which is divided into seventeen kingdoms, just like there are seventeen types of Pokémon. Essentially, you are the Normal type Warlord. If someone conquers all of Ransei, they will awaken a legendary Pokémon, the creator of Ransei, and the one who happens to look like the world map.

The Dragon type Warlord, Nobunaga, has decided he wants to conquer the world, but his little sister, Oichi, decides that would be bad, and that she would rather you do so instead. And that’s it. Conquer the world, one kingdom at a time using watered down strategy mechanics, that one Pokémon shows up and basically says hi before disappearing, and end game. Now here are some side quests, which I did not bother with.

Pokémon

Darmanitan.jpgThe game comes with 200 Pokémon spread fairly evenly between generations; unfortunately, the list does not seem to be one compiled by furries. You can’t avoid a few animal based Pokémon, but a lot more are just random creatures. Each Pokémon featured has new artwork, which is actually pretty good.

I don’t know how you play your core Pokémon games, but over the years I’ve developed a system, almost by accident, where, by the time I reach the Elite Four, my team consists of my original starting Pokémon, a legendary ringer (usually the one on the box cover, but not always) and four random Pokémon who have managed to stick around. I get rather attached to those four guys. Usually, they aren’t the statistically most powerful, or the ones I would have picked out before the game started, but, due to the nature of the series, the ones that really do worm their way into your heart.

In Pokémon Conquest, each Pokémon is paired with a warrior, who must be recruited. Each warrior has one Pokémon that is their best match, but they almost never start off with their best match. So that you can find it yourself, adding replay value, I guess. What I know is that, since you can’t trade Pokémon between warriors, I ended up bringing an underpowered Darmanitan to the final showdown — not because I was lax on the grinding, but because I liked him. My warrior didn’t, so he wouldn’t allow the Pokémon to level up past a certain point.

* The correct answer is Emma Frost.

So, boring story, boring gameplay and Pokémon you’re punished for caring for.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

Well, I'd never been to Flayrah for a video game review... and I can't imagine I'd be back for it, haha. Probably one of the most unprofessional reviewers I've seen. Love the furry news thuogh.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/ds/pokemon-conquest for an average of the reviews for Conquest... it's currently at an 80%, just FYI y'all.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

Probably one of the most unprofessional reviewers I've seen.

You're right - we don't pay crossie a thing. Heck, he even has to buy his own games!

Metacritic user reviews, even the positive ones, appear to bear out some of the cited criticisms ("The story is a wash").

Your rating: None Average: 2 (5 votes)

I think I said last year, after the Happy Feet Two review, furries might enjoy me tearing into something that isn't them every now then. I was wrong.

Well, outside of Puss in Boots knock offs, anyway. Note with slightly bewildered pride that thing has not only returned to the top ten, but even the top five currently. Seeing as how that article is almost a year old next month, that's kind of sad. It's like furry review herpes. It pops up just when you thought you were over it.

Just found out last month Guymon, OK has a rental store. Needs to advertise better, but I may get by with just a rental for some video game reviews. Though, actually, between the Epic Mickey sequels on multiple consoles and Pokemon Black and White 2, I will probably just buy. Though I'll think about renting the 360 version of Epic Mickey 2 just to compare, because I am honestly curious about the difference.

Your rating: None Average: 1.7 (7 votes)

Look, I'm just going to reply nasty to everyone here, okay Green Reaper? One guy even pointed out that he's here on a random Google search, so I'm still a bit puzzled on your rationale about letting people who never see the frontpage control what we see on the front page, but anyway, I'm just going to be a dick to them in an effort to make myself feel beter. They're not even our real readers, anyway!

You assholes want unprofessional; I'll give you unprofessional!

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (6 votes)

Anyone who reads your article whether a regular or not is a reader. Unless they're having someone else read it for them.

Your rating: None Average: 1.4 (7 votes)

Ol' Sonious,
What's your fucking point?
I just wrote myself into a rhymeless word
So, uh, maybe ... oint?

Ol' Sonious,
I don't fucking care.
All those fucking readers
Can kiss my derierre.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (6 votes)

Couldn't think of a rhyme for point?
If there's a phrase I could anoint
Son I am very very disappoint.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

You are seriously out of joint.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

Oh, Fred and Soni,
Doggerel's hard on the fly.
Also, why'd I think it was "'Ol' Susannah"?
I have no clue why.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (4 votes)

I hate poetry
But doggerel is okay
The former is too hard
But I can do the latter all day;
Is composing doggerel
Like criticizing video games?
Because neither don’t get no respect;
All you get are supercilious sneers and blames!
Are suck my dick and kiss my ass
An erudite response?
Who cares? They’re emotionally satisfying
And let me sign off with nonchalance.

Hey, is the position of poet laureate of Flayrah open?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

It's midnight in my neck of the woods so "Oh Susannah Appreciation Day" is officially over. We needed more participants.

I think the take home lesson for today is that I am a terrible person, but not liking a mediocre Pokemon crossover is not the real reason, and taking time out of your day to randomly call someone a terrible person for this reason is a really terrible thing to do.

Though I guess even that guy can say at least he didn't end up here randomly Googling "my little pony porn" like 29 of our visitors last month. Remember, kids, every time you Google "my little pony porn," the terrorists win.

I don't know about poet laureate of Flayrah. I would think that would go to Silverweed, though.

Your rating: None Average: 1.2 (5 votes)

Try to be a bit more passive aggressive next time.

We're really buying into the sincerity, here.

Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (7 votes)

You must be a good reviewer, I mean you don't actually talk about how they implement the game mechanics, what the character development system is like, how the game is able to translate battle mechanics into a 3D board, or really anything about how the game actually plays. So I guess you're good at reviewing how irrelevant the events of your life are? A random google search led me here and, frankly, I never review the reviews unless they're so asinine that I feel 30 seconds of my time is worth spent letting you know that your writing is terrible and you are, in fact, a terrible person. Congratulations, you've inspired me.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (6 votes)

Why are you people Googling video games from June just to ruin some poor reviewers day anyway?

If this game is good, it's good in the way pudding is good; bland and easy to swallow but best suited for small children and those prone to choking hazards.

Your rating: None Average: 1.4 (5 votes)

But, in response to your critiques, I find that Pokemon: Conquest's implementation of game mechanics, how should I put this? Sucks. The character development system ... really sucks. The game is able to translate battle mechanics into a 3D board ... no, honestly, really badly. Any hill in this game blocks your view of large swaths of the battlefield, and the view changing system is bad to the point of glitchy. Thanks for letting me point that out. Finally, the game actually plays ... well, it sucks harder than your mama's pussy, and that's saying something.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

I take it the reviewer has never played Nobunaga's Ambition?

Your rating: None Average: 1 (8 votes)

I take it the commenter can suck a dick.

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (8 votes)

Seriously, I can't think of a bigger tragedy that could happen on a Tuesday on the 11th day of September!

Also, you suckers better laugh at that joke, because I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO HELL NOW!

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

According to Wikipedia today, the most notable 9/11 in American history before 9/11/2001 was 9/11/1847, when Stephen Collins Foster premiered his song "Oh! Susannah" in an ice-cream parlor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Just sayin'. That seems in keeping with this whole discussion.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (4 votes)

Okay, personal challenge; I'll only insult people to the tune of "Ol' Susannah" then.

(But did it happen on a Tuesday?)

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Sorry. According to the perpetual calendars, 9/11 was on a Saturday in 1847.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

How come Squirrel Girl -- Squirrel Girl, FFS -- gets to be a popular, halfway-serious character in the Marvel Universe but Razorback doesn't?!

Your rating: None

Nice review. I saw the Japanese trailer for the game and it looked pretty cool there. If you can be believed then that was a bit of a lie. Which is quite disappointing since I both like turn-based strategy games (UFO <3) and the pokemon concept. I find the repetitive nature of the core games tedious so an attempt to take the concept in a new direction pleases me. Now that there are so many pokemon the available selection does become an issue, especially since my tastes are very much biased to the earlier generations and a select few of the newer ones.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

No Growlithes, unfortunately.

It may be worth a try for a genre fan, but its really watered down gameplay.

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.