An excellent single player experience filled with many memorable battles, beautiful music, and new game mechanics.

User Rating: 9 | Pokemon + Nobunaga no Yabou DS
In general, I have disliked most Pokemon video game spin-offs because they have not usually met the standards of the main role-playing game series. When I think of poor Pokemon spin-off games, titles such as "Pokemon Trozei" (a puzzle game) and "Pokemon Mystery Dungeon" (a block-style combat game) come to mind.

At first glance, Pokemon Conquest seemed extremely similar to any of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games. After playing both, I am pleased to explain that Pokemon Conquest is, overall, a much better Pokemon spin-off experience. The game is surprisingly engaging, addictive, intuitive, and beautiful. I could probably list at least ten great things about Pokemon Conquest, but here are five.

The Five Best Things about Pokemon Conquest...
1. Beautiful Japanese Music -- Throughout a variety of battles, on snow, grass, dirt, lava, poison, cement, wood, and water, you will hear a specific Japanese music theme. Very soothing at times. Very exciting at times. It is truthfully very excellent music that you can listen to on YouTube when searching for something like "Pokemon Conquest Music".

2. Memorable, Single-Player Battles that remind me of classic moments during Pokemon Red and Blue -- You battle in different "Pokemon Kingdoms", which are merely different battlefields made of snow, or grass, or dirt, etc. The single-player battles prove very challenging after the second or third introductory battles, and you might end up losing two to three times. Moreover, although all the battles and battlefields felt very unique and creative (using the landscapes to intensify the challenges), one really memorable battle took place in the Fighting-Type Kingdom against an enemy's Gurdurr. The Gurdurr was REALLY overpowered: having hundreds of hit points, when your team all had less than a hundred, and hitting you with massive amounts of damage. Furthermore, the object of the battle was to touch banners and prevent the enemy's Pokemon from doing the same. However, these banners were on top of a raised arena and the Gurdurr would often knock you off the arena: forcing you to go back around the stairs and eventually tiring your Pokemon into defeat. I actually lost four times to this Gurdurr, and eventually realized that I just needed to kill the Gurdurr first and then secure the banners. After a lot of training against wild Pokemon, I beat the Gurdurr and felt accomplished! This battle reminded me of the memorable battle against Brock in Pokemon Red and Blue. In these classic Pokemon games, that started the Pokemon series, Brock would usually defeat you if you chose the fan-favorite Charmander as your starter Pokemon. I remember getting stuck at that Gym, and having to talk with friends about how to beat Brock. There were many novelty methods: you could catch a Caterpie and raise it into a Butterfree, then use Confusion against Brock's rock type Pokemon; or you could catch and train Pidgey and keep on using Sand-Attack against the Geodude and Onyx until they couldn't hit you at all. Extremely challenging battles against single-player enemies that seem overpowered really gave this game a genuine classic feel - something that many Pokemon games still fail to possess.

3. Each Pokemon only has one move & new Pokemon abilities that mix well with the new combat system -- For example, Eevee can only use quick attack and has a new ability called "celebrate". At first, I thought that Pokemon only having one move and new abilities, specifically for this game, would be a bad idea. However, it all works out nicely. Eevee's quick attack grows stronger after more and more battles, and can change after it evolves into Jolteon (my pick), Flareon, or Vaporeon. Furthermore, having only one move makes battles a whole lot simpler, and it again gave this game a classic feel. I mean even though the first Pokemon games had Pokemon with four moves, these moves were very simple, so the battles felt nice and simple. Nowadays, especially in Pokemon Black and White Versions, the moves are way too complicated and I don't feel so confident anymore because the game itself has become too clouded up with complexity. Pokemon Conquest brings forth a simpler and therefore nicer battle system.

4. The new "strength" game mechanic that measures your Pokemons' powers as a team and is not dependent on evolution and effort values -- Again, Pokemon Black and White Versions have become way too complicated, and have transformed from a simple and satisfying wrestle between two Pokemon into a full out World War between two armies of Pokemon. In Pokemon Conquest, there are no effort values, and evolution is no longer necessary for more power. True, Pokemon can evolve in Pokemon Conquest and gain "strength", a new type of Pokemon stat, but they also gain considerable strength even when they don't evolve. Moreover, the game uses your TEAM'S strength instead of each individual Pokemon's strength, so it feels like the game emphasizes more team work between your Pokemon instead of using one overpowered, uber Pokemon to win every battle.

5. The new "warlord" game mechanic -- You play as a male or female warlord of one kingdom, called Auror, and can "link" with wild Pokemon in order to capture them. What is significantly new is that you, the warlord, are able to directly assist your Pokemon with a special ability that only you possess. This "warlord ability" can be activated once any time, during any battle, and can help your Pokemon move farther, deal more damage, deal status ailments unto enemies more often, and even heal your entire team's hit points! On top of that, you are able to recruit up to five other warlords and have complete control of their warlord abilities as well, in addition to their Pokemon. So now, it DOES matter WHICH warlord (think "trainer") is assigned to each Pokemon, in order to match up a Warlord's ability with a Pokemon's role in your team.

The Five Worst Things about Pokemon Conquest...
1. Lack of post-story content -- there isn't much you can do after you beat the initial story and, even worse, you lose your Pokemon after you beat the main story. However, the game offers many small, mini stories to try post game. Furthermore, many excellent and recent Pokemon games have lacked post-game content, such as Black and White and Shadows of Almia, so it isn't uncalled for. However, I certainly found it sad that I couldn't keep my Pokemon after I beat the main story.

2. Lack of non-battling features -- in the main Pokemon role-playing games, you can now cook poffins (Pokemon food), participate in musicals, play slot machines, etc. However, Pokemon Conquest only offers a variety of battles and a lack of anything else.

3. Gamestop Pokemon Codes aren't very useful -- those who pre ordered Pokemon Conquest to unlock exclusive Pokemon through exclusive Pokemon codes were probably disappointed. The codes you receive are for Pokemon that are usually just as strong as regular Pokemon that you can link with in the wild. In addition, the game will only allow you to use one code at a time, and will make you hold onto the other codes until you have linked with the Pokemon tied to the code you just entered. Furthermore, you can only start entering codes after you've conquered five kingdoms, so you basically have to finish about 1/3 of the game before these codes even work. I personally saw no point in pre ordering this game as opposed to just buying it when it came out.
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The Most Significant Thing about Pokemon Conquest is...
The single player main story filled with many memorable battles, beautiful music, and new game mechanics that all work well.