Pokémon do all the fighting in this game, and they do so in a grid fashion that works much like Final Fantasy Tactics. Just like the 'real' Pokémon games they have their special abilities and charming little character designs. They level up and fight enemy Pokémon characters. It's like the developers took the basic Pokemon game, and turned it into a turn-based SRPG.
The good news is that it's easy to get into and plays a little like "my first strategy game." That's good news because this game was clearly designed to introduce youngsters, or people less familiar with strategy games, to the genre. It works. There's a gentle difficulty curve and relatively few difficult strategic decisions that need to be made.
And that’s when the real problems with this game are going to be immediately obvious to anyone who has actually played a Nobunaga's Ambition game before. This is far, far too simple to get by on strategy. Those games are up there with the most hardcore strategy games imaginable for consoles. From managing resources to carefully building and training armies, to a real historical setting, Nobunaga's games are meant to be taken seriously.
There was the potential that Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition could have worked. It doesn't because the developers decided to focus on the Pokémon theme, and forgot somewhere along the line to put in the Nobunaga's Ambition bit. The plot is a complete fantasy, and the strategy is about as complex as a Samurai Warriors conquest mode. In fact, Pokémon + Samurai Warriors Conquest would have been a far more appropriate title.
The actual characters from the Nobunaga's Ambition games take a back seat in this game. They're not much more important than the Pokémon trainers of a regular Pokémon game, though they do have a once-per-battle super power that can help tip the balance, and outside of battle there's not much to do with them, aside from recruiting more of them and using their "link" to their Pokémon to strengthen the Pokémon and make them evolve.
There's a lot of warlords, each with their own preferred Pokémon, and the art style for those characters is nice. In general the game gets presentation right, it just completely misfires in understanding that Nobunaga's Ambition is a franchise that stands for a strategic game, and this is anything but strategic. It's a bit like the misfire with calling Ninja Gaiden 3 a Ninja Gaiden game when in reality it is anything but.
For everyone else: go get a real Nobunaga's Ambition game. I promise you they're awesome.
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