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The Future Of Tactical Pokémon RPGs

By aquizero on Jun 19 2012 06:11 PM
As some of you may already know, Pokémon Conquest, for the Nintendo DS, was officially released yesterday (June 18th) in North America. This spin-off Pokémon/ Nobunaga’s Ambition crossover title is a first for the Pokémon franchise. Nobunaga's Ambition, a turn-based strategy Role-Playing Game (RPG), was release for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1989. In Pokémon Conquest, the main character takes on the role of a Warlord of the Primus Kingdom; one of the seventeen Kingdoms in the Ransei region. When Pokémon Conquest was first announced, I thought the combination of Nobunaga’s Ambition and Pokémon (as we well know it) would be a mistake. These two concepts couldn’t be any more different. It seems like I was wrong though. After reading a few online reviews, it's clear that Pokémon Conquest is a hit! Gaming website IGN gave Pokémon Conquest a 9/10, while other sites like N4G and Destructoid awarded it with an 8/10.

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I would like to point out that this game will certainly not be for everyone. The turn-based tactical RPG battle system, is not the typical turn-based RPG style system, as found with the main series Pokémon titles. The gameplay found in Pokémon Conquest, is very similar to Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, which is also available for the Nintendo DS. Those not familiar with tactical RPGs should imagine a game of Chess, where each piece moves on a grid and can interact with the other pieces in various ways. Yes, you must now move your Pokémon all over the battlefield! In doing so, you must keep in mind the environment, your enemy's location, the distance between them and even which direction you are facing. This is, of course, in addition to the Pokémon type and move-types you are currently familiar with in Pokémon. With this battle system, Pokémon take on a new level of intensity and I couldn’t be happier!

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Being a long-time Pokémon fan, I have wanted a tactical RPG battle system ever since first I played Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, for Game Boy Advance. I never dreamt they would take the approach of combining Pokémon and the Warlords of Nobunaga’s Ambition. My only concern would be the future of this style of gameplay? Will this be a one-time thing? I personally hope not. With the hardware and software limitations of the Nintendo DS, we are only given access to one-third of the 600+ available Pokémon in this game. Having not played the game yet, I am also concerned that this “combination” may not be as effective, if used again in the future.

That begs the question, "What is the future of Pokémon Tactical RPGs?" There is still a lot of potential in using this battle system for Pokémon. I personally, wouldn’t be satisfied until all Pokémon were available in a game. Whether a new game is released for the Wii U or 3DS, it wouldn’t matter too much. Both systems have their obvious advantages. I can imagine how utilizing the Wii U GamePad would allow us to have a unique view of the battle environment, as well as Hi-Definition (HD) graphics. Also, there's no denying the benefits of portability that the 3DS offers. This, combined with better visuals, online options and optional 3D, could make for a perfect combination.

In the end, I am really glad that this very ambitious title came to fruition, and I am eager to get my hands on a copy. I just hope the sales numbers sway The Pokémon Company from dismissing the possibility of future use of this battle system.

About the Author

Benjamin is a true gaymer. For nearly a decade, his interest in Nintendo has grown exponentially! He's not extremely skilled at any particular genre of games, but mostly enjoys RPG, strategy, and fighting games. His true obsession within the Nintendo universe is Pokémon, followed closely by Zelda. Ever since he watched the first episode of Pokémon, he's been hooked. To this day, he plays the main-series Pokémon games and watches the anime religiously. He's as close as it comes to being a Pokémon Master. His true passion for Nintendo makes him excited to write new topics for you!

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Comments: 4

Great article, Ben!

I believe this is a great new way to experience Pokémon. You definitely make a valid point about the future possibility of Pokémon games that use this type of battle system. It's unique and forces the player to know how Pokémon tactics function. For the sole reason of its uniqueness, I feel that this is only the beginning for this type of Pokémon game.
I was against this from the beggining. But having them say its like Final fantasy tactics a2... that was ne of my favorite ds games. Guess what i will be picking up tomorrow.
Yeah now that I have it, I will say that it does differ a bunch from FF Tactics A2 but then again it is very similar. I really do like how the warlords work with the Pokemon and are not just there for show.

I hope that this is just Pokemon testing the waters of Tactical RPG's because I could see this style of play being an even bigger hit and maybe even drawing in more fans who claim Pokemon is to kiddish.
Anyone complete the main storyline yet? I have not.