Title: Pokemon Conquest
Platform: Nintendo DS (also compatible with DSi, 3DS)
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
ESRB Rating: E
Release Dates: North America: June 18. Japan: March 17
Nobunga's Ambition is an old and respected series of turn-based strategy role-playing games by Koei (Now Tecmo Koei) that have been released on multiple platforms and computers across gaming's timeline. Pokemon Conquest, coming to the Nintendo DS on June 18, cross-breeds the universe of Nobunga's Ambition with a certain game series that stars a crowd of familiar collectable monsters. The May 2012 issue of Nintendo Power has some interesting information about Pokemon Conquest, and if you're eager to see what's in store for the likes of Jigglypuff and Mewtwo outside their native habitats, you ought to pick the issue up.
The Fight is All
To summarize, here's what you can expect. The story for Pokemon Conquest puts you in the shoes of a young and untested warlord (or warlady--your choice) who goes on a journey to overthrow the lord Nobunga and conquer all 17 of the kingdoms in the Ransei region. According to rumor, a legendary Pokemon will reveal itself to the Warrior that gains control of the region, so of course, you're not alone in your ambition. But if you defeat the warlords in each kingdom, they just might join you--and so will their Pokemon.
Everybody needs a starter Pokemon, and yours is Eevee. The battles in Pokemon Conquest are built on the turn-based strategy formula: you and your opponents take turns moving and attacking one another on a map that's crisscrossed with a grid. You control your allies' Pokemon, but only six are allowed into a battle at one time. Sound familiar? Needless to say, your Pokemon's elemental type plays a vital role in your strategy, especially since each Pokemon is limited to only one attack move. Depending on your Pokemon's type, you may have access to, say, Quick Attack, or even an elemental attack like Flamethrower or Vine Whip.
Aside from one active attack, each Pokemon has a latent ability that comes to life under certain circumstances. For example, Eevee gets another turn after knocking out a rival Pokemon. The combination of limited active attacks and passive abilities makes for a different kind of strategy than we're used to seeing from traditional Pokemon games.
Your Warrior allies also have skills that can assist in battle, such as healing and other support boosts. Warriors can also carry a limited number of items to aid their Pokemon, like healing potions.
Watch Your Weaknesses
The first rule of Pokemon (and it's not "We don't talk about Pokemon") is that every member of the species has elemental strengths and weaknesses. That comes into play in Pokemon Conquest in a big way: each kingdom you visit has a specific theme, including Fire, Water, Poison, and so on. Likewise, the terrain you battle on is infused with elemental powers as well. In other words, don't take your Archanine on a vacation to the Water Kingdom, because chances are he won't like it very much. It's just another point to keep in mind when you're meeting the conditions for a victory in battle, which might include defeating all the enemies on a map, or capturing and holding enemy banners for a set amount of turns.
As is the case with the original series, the emotional link between a Pokemon and its trainer/Warrior is very important. The more a Warrior uses his or her Pokemon, the closer that Pokemon becomes to its owner. When the link between the Warrior and the Pokemon reaches 100%, the Pokemon reaches its full potential.
Ah, but there is more to conquering kingdoms than simply slinging Pokemon around willy-nilly. You must also prepare for combat, manage your resources, explore the features of each conquered kingdom, and learn how to use them most effectively. Shops in conquered kingdoms sell items and potions that can boost a Pokemon's power, which is important to remember. Also, if you don't take the time to hang out in your own kingdom and train your Pokemon, you'll get a beat-down from your rival Warriors in record time.
Conquer 'Em All
Pokemon Conquest combines more than properties: it combines genres as well. Are you interested in the concept of Pokemon going to war? Then you'll want to give Tecmo-Koei's new take on the franchise a try on June 18. Strive to be the very best like no one ever was, young Warrior.