Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence
Turn based super micro management. That is the truest way to describe Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere of Influence. The game is available on the PS3 and PS4 but sadly doesn’t really take advantage of either systems graphics capabilities. That was my truest downfall of this game. But we will get to that, just wanted to get my personal grievances out first. You as the player will be in charge of your castle and land as you try to conquer all of Japan. You micro manage your way to the top through politics, battles, growing crops, improving your civilization as a whole and much more. So lets jump right in.
First off, the game is tride and true simulation strategy. If your not the strategic gaming type you may as well turn away now. This game will suck many many hours of your life away just to learn and master the basics. The tutorial alone took me over an hour to complete and be warned there is a “mock” battle that if you fail, you must start the entire tutorial over again. That aside the game can be very rewarding if your willing to put the work into it. Some of the basics include upgrading your town and castle defenses. Items such as stone walls, adding a market or a blacksmith, or simply increasing your population size to suite your needs later on are all the basics which you build upon to create your perfect empire.
The battle simulations in Nobunaga’s Ambition were a little bit….hard to grasp and be good at at first. Your units are initially represented by little blocks (same as in any of the Samurai or Dynasty Warriors Games) until you zoom into the actual fight. This was where it was painfully evident that the game is meant to be on a pc instead of a console. The battles are in real time which is a change for the series, and it was often hard to select a unit and corresponding action you wanted them to do in time for that action to actually make any significant impact. Many of my units were wiped out due to a wrong accidental selection or poor timing on the commands. However once you do get the swing of things and timing down, you will feel like that conquering general you should be in the situation using flanking tactics, long and short range charges, and several other classic war tactics.
You are also inclined to be very politically active. Whether you are bolstering trust with neighboring castles or sending “spys” to slowly coerce unhappy inhabitants of said castles in order to bring them to your side. There are more options but the game will point those two out to you first as they are potentially the most important politics to grasp up front. But wow, lots of overall options. Once again you will need to micro manage alot. Thankfully you observe the time line in month increments. At the start of every month you have a council in which you can review all your monetary and military actions from the previous period. Then you begin anew, set all your decisions and watch your castle and land grow. This will be occasionally stopped with notices of a new battle starting, or a political action taking effect among other things so that you can constantly be aware of whats happening at any given time.
Overall Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere of Influence lives up to its legacy as the crown jewel of the series. Despite it being originally for the PC the game has transferred nicely to the console with only minor growing pains. That being said I would say if your not a strategic or simulation gamer, you may want to steer clear of this title. But if you are, well then this is easily one of the most rewarding feeling games in the genre to date. 7 out of 10. Happy Gaming.