Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Conquest, I Choose You!

It's been a while since I've actually talked about Pokemon Conquest and that's mostly because of the fact that until recently, as in a couple days ago, the game was not in my possession.  That has been remedied, obviously, and in my latest little wealth of things to do where I still find things lacking, I have decided to throw it into my 3DS and have a go with it.  I will say that it is pretty much exactly what it offers on the tin - it is clearly a cross-over of Pokemon and KOEI's version of Feudal Japan, though not necessarily Nobunaga's Ambition; clearly the sprites of the Warriors are from Samurai Warriors 3, you know the game that was Wii-exclusive in America which was fucking annoying for someone who buys every goddamn retail Warriors game he can play at least in theory.  Though, regardless of the backdrop and the main characters being from Samurai Warriors, you can clearly tell that there are Game Freak or The Pokemon Company fingers in the writing pie, which I can't say in all honesty is a good move.  Either that or KOEI's writers played a Pokemon game and copied its basic concept....which is what Game Freak does anyway.  Either way.

There's not a whole lot of meat to the story, at least not at the start.  "There are pokemon, Warriors are people who can communicate 'wordlessly' with pokemon (except they verbally command them anyway) and some Warriors rule one of the seventeen kingdoms of the land.  You are the new ruler of Aurora.  So....have fun with that." is basically the entirety of the intro, and then you are handed off to Oichi the tutorial queen for a little while until the game starts progressively opening up.  It's light-hearted and lacking, as your first 'major' goal is to conquer the kingdom right next to you....which is not a challenge in the least.  Ignis (it's a Fire Kingdom) is ruled by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (this stops making sense...really fast) and is there to be steam-rolled by you with your Eevee and Oichi with her Jigglypuff.  After that, Fontaine and Greenleaf (Water and Grass respectively GEE CAN YOU SEE THE THEME IT'S ALMOST LIKE THE FIRST THREE KINGDOMS ARE FIRE, WATER AND GRASS LIKE THE STARTER POKEMON IN EVERY POKEMON GAME EVER) open up and once you conquer them with similarly lacking amounts of aplomb, you get the 'story' of the game as it were.

There is apparently a rumor/legend in Ransei (the area Conquest takes place in) that whoever unites the seventeen kingdoms under the same banner will awaken 'the legendary pokemon' and apparently be granted its power for ill or good.  And rumors state that Oda Nobunaga (see?  Hideyoshi having his own kingdom already makes no sense at all) is working towards that goal so he can...wait for it...wait for it.....destroy the Ransei region.


This right here is why I say that somebody who usually works on Pokemon games had their hand in the story.  Because this right here?  This is a carbon-copy of every Team ambition from Ruby/Sapphire on in so many words.  Sure, some of the teams aren't hoping for global destruction, but rather world dominance or something but close enough.  My question is why?  Why is this necessary?  Why does Nobunaga have to want to destroy the land?  Is it there to paint him as an obvious bad guy?  There are other ways, better ways to do this.  Ways that just involve him being kind of a dick which makes sense instead of being cartoonishly evil which -doesn't- make sense.  I honestly thought Pokemon Conquest would be refreshing since it's...not really conducive to having a Team "Something", but that right there makes Nobunaga him a one-man Team Nobunaga with a hair-brained scheme for a legendary pokemon who will ultimately be thwarted by a child.

Of course the story and setting is only half of the set-up with the actual gameplay being the other part of it.  Though it bills itself as a Nobunaga's Ambition game, I'm going to say that it's a very, very 'lite' version of the franchise which I'm not impressed with in the slightest.  You have Kingdoms (should be Fiefdoms) that you conquer to add to your own dominion and each Kingdom has their own buildings (none of which you place unless that comes later on, which is possible) and you have your officers that can do things, but none of it is simulation-related, as in one of the things that is kind of a draw to the Nobunaga's Ambition (and those types of games in general) but rather centered on your Pokemon.  You can train them with random battles (some of which give you other Warriors if you fulfill conditions) make their energy values go up and buy them items to equip on them for use in battle, things like that so far.  Which...leaves a lot to be desired, in all honesty.

Battles are obviously not the standard Pokemon fare, and are instead more of a tactical/strategy RPG system that you might see in the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem and similar.  So far into the game, though I suspect it's the case for the entirety of it, every Warrior only has one Pokemon to their name and that Pokemon only has one move of their own which flies in the face of Pokemon logic if nothing else.  In a sense, that sort of categorizes every pokemon that's included into a..."Class" ala normal SRPGs in terms of how they can attack, in that Charmanders and Tepigs appear to be akin to "Archers" since their Ember attack can only hit from two blocks away (meaning a block between you and the enemy), while a lot of others have strange attack ranges as well.  Anything with Vine whip hits the square in front of them and to the left and right of that square at once, making it really powerful if your enemies are all lined up.  While moves are common between a few pokemon, everyone also has a "Warrior" move which seems to be at least slightly unique.  Warrior moves can be activated once per battle and range from vastly increasing your move range (base Eevee skill), Healing nearby (all?) allies (base Jigglypuff skill) or just upping the chance of inflicting a status ailment (my warrior with Charmander has this), though there are other variations, of course.

Admittedly my exposure to the game isn't nearly full yet, and it still has quite a bit of time to impress me.  I know Pokemon can at least Evolve, which I assume changes their move if nothing else, and I eagerly await making my Eevee into a Glaceon because Glaceons are awesome.  Likewise, I'm going to try to nab me a Warrior with a Pikachu with the goal to make it a Raichu because it wouldn't be me playing a Pokemon game if I didn't grab up a Raichu.  That alone makes me want to at least continue into the game even though I feel it's a bit shallow at the moment, because that little hint of depth encourages me that there will be more.  Maybe I'm wrong, but that's something I'm going to find out, that's for sure.  And you know, maybe I'll just unify Japan in the meantime if I'm not too busy and all.

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