First things first: Pokemon is amazing. Its classic formula – collecting and battling cute little monsters like so much electronic cockfighting – has been entertaining kids and serious gamers alike for more than a decade, but its last few iterations perhaps haven’t innovated quite so much.
Pokemon Conquest changes everything.
The twist is simple; instead of playing a small child in a modern world, you play a young feudal Japanese warlord fighting for his homeland commanding multiple armies. The armies, of course, fight with pokemon, in pitched battles across complex terrain.
Battles are turn-based, and are tactically extremely rich, as there are roughly 200 hundred of the adorable little so-and-sos to collect, selected from all five generations, each with special moves, strengths and weaknesses. It might look like a children’s game, but it has the feel of a particularly maximal version of chess.
There’s plenty of game to get through, with a story campaign lasting up to 20 hours, and three times that in post-game content. The catch ‘em all aspect is still present, of course, but it’s no longer the be-all and end-all. Instead it’s the hors d’oeuvres to a far deeper and more satisfying Pokemon experience.