There have been only a few strategy games on consoles in recent years, and none have had the depth conveyed by Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence. The unique historical setting only further cements this title as one of my favourites on the PlayStation 4 to date.
This strategy title from Koei Tecmo brings us in the Sengoku era, and offers endless gameplay possibilities. It's a fact, anyway, that such a game is most likely to be appreciated by people who love Japan and that particular era.
A turn based strategy game worth playing hundreds of hours with deep gameplay mechanics and lot of strategic options. Be warned it takes a bit of time (and research) to get into the game and to understand the well balanced mechanics. Nobunagas Ambition is a long running series of strategy games that started 1983 and is nearly unknown outside of Japan. You play as a Daimiyo (Feudal Lord / Prince) in the Age of the Warring States (Sengoku period) of Japan. In this time Japan was split into many principalities ruled by different clans who want to unify Japan. Gameplay: You chose a scenario during the Sengoku period, then a Clan (Huge variety in size and power) with its Daimiyo. Now the struggle for power begins. Each turn is a full month. As in real life you need retainers (Samurai) to help you. Each retainer (and Daimiyo) has different stats and abilities. Some are only good at warfare others are good at construction or agriculture and there are all rounders. The more famous Samurai / Daimiyo / Retainer have better stats and some have unique abilities. Stats will improve on a learning by doing base and abilities can be learned on the same base. Depending on your Clans size you have a number of action points you can use for upgrades and improvements (The higher the better) which will increase as your clan and “Sphere of influence” grows. For the basics stuff: For each City you control you chose to improve agriculture, commerce or military power. But be careful because these are connected. You can not start a war without provisions (agriculture). As Napoleon said: An army marches on their stomachs”. You can not muster all your soldiers and if you run out of supplies they will starve. Also without commerce (gold / money) you will also be underpowered or lose some options because you can not afford improvements or build stuff. Also as your population grows you can create new districts and build facilities which give you benefits. Important tip: Scout all areas with retainers with a high value for this task (Yes also those you starting in). They often find hidden resource that allows you to build better or special facilities and sometimes hidden paths / roads. You have also a castle or fortress you can improve. The improvements have various bonus effects (some are dependent on the facilities you build in the city) that help you a lot. Then there is the most ignored part, the roads. As you improve the roads above level 2 your cities will grow faster and you earn more money with commerce (Improves with each level. Max is 5 or 3 in mountain areas). Then there are the diplomatics task. You can send your retainers to scout (enemy)areas, secretly recruiting enemy retainers (Can join, betray former Daimiyo during battle or even join with their city in case of higher ranked ones. But only if they are discontent enough!), gather influence in tribes (Smaller clans that give all kinds of support), start diplomatic relations with other clans (Alliances give military support, support in negotiations with other Clan, marriage alliances etc.) and negotiations with the imperial court. The imperial court is also an underestimated mechanic. If you have enough influence you can force a truce on one enemy (not in a coalition ware fare!). Good option if you conquered enemy territory but could not stop their counter-attack fast enough to prevent losing that territory. Now you can prepare many rounds. Alternatively you can get courtesy titles (Need an increasing bribe / fee for each) that improve some stats which can be given as reward to retainers (increase loyalty) or as gift to other Daimiyo (Improve relations for a short time). There are also merchants were you can buy / sell supplies, buy horses and muskets (improve fighting strength) or get treasures with can also be used as rewards / gifts. Finally there are general polices that give benefits in some area and drawbacks in other (You must meet the requirements and pay money each turn for them) For the battles: You chose a Retainer as leader and optional up to 2 supporting Retainers (Always use 2 supporters as it improves your fighting strength) in each City. Then chose your troop size (Depend on availability and supplies), if you want supply them with muskets and horses and finally chose a target. As I said before you can not afford to be in war all times because it will drain your supplies fast (Except your clan has reached a size so big that it can support it). There you can use pincer attacks or pre build fortification if you planned in advance. Tip: I often won by distracting enemy armies with attacks on other Cities while blocking the parts to my main targets. They could not defeat the blocking army fast enough to stop me from conquering the main targets. There is of cause a siege mechanic which I can not explain because I run out of space for this review. Overall this is a deep rewarding game even more if you are a fan of Japanese culture and history like me.
If you **** at strategy games, dont buy.
Koei strategy games has been most complicated and deep in both politics and choice you make.
and yet this title is among the most complicated one. Have your expectation on check when you buy this game.
Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence is complex for newcomers, making it difficult to understand and not at all at ease on a console. This is perhaps the only criticism due to Koei Tecmo, we are faced with a quality production and immense below the side of content, almost overwhelming, which will delight fans with a truly fascinating setting.
The game will please fans of the genre who have been waiting for a game like this to come to PS4, but I honestly can’t see it winning over many new fans to the genre due to how overwhelming its initial few hours can be.
A long-awaited localization of a famed franchise that fails to make an impact. With little depth or strategy, this is a game designed for those who love Japanese history or are franchise diehards. Only that love will keep you wanting to play through the game more than once.
despite a rather steep learning curve (no more than CKIV and less than HOI3), this deep strategy game is one of the best of the year. There are many details that are easy to miss, and a wiki would help a lot. The manual is fairly complete, but very compact, son one is likely to miss a lot on the first reading. The game has many settings of difficulty, even for the least competent of gamers.
tl;dr This is an RTS inside an RTS inside a strategy game designed for consoles, and it works. The AI makes this game. Game was ~60 hours of fun for a $22 price tag. May play it again. An all-around good value.
I bought this game on sale at a Gamestop because I played the original Nobunaga's Ambition on NES and loved it (the little ninja assassins would poke the sleeping guy in the belly and jiggle the blade around making techno murder sounds^^).
When I first started a match of Sphere of Influence, I thought that the gameplay seemed disappointingly basic. I think a lot of the character flavor's supposed to be assumed because gamers in Japan are more familiar with their own famous Warring States period personalities. Nobunaga's a famous evil genius type, but I remembered Takeda being a schemer from another game (Shingen the Ruler, also NES), and he liked horsies more than guns, so went with him. He was fun.
There are two phases to the game - a base building phase, which you can skip (AI handles the basics for you), and a conquest phase, which consists of marching little triangular armies to enemy castles and sacking them with pointy sticks. I expanded for a bit, ate a few weaker neighbors, thought that extreme mode seemed easier than the NES version's, and then was suddenly mass-invaded by Hojo (a bigger AI faction), which slaughtered me.
Tried again. Same results. The AI on Extreme invades you almost like a player would (they keep about 10% more troops in reserve, which in retrospect isn't a bad idea), and therein lies the fun in the game.
Tried again. Expanded faster than my largest foes this time, so they formed a coalition and sacked me.
Last time I played I won. Played Hojo, and gutted my most dangerous foes through sheer random luck when one invaded another instead of me. Got enough territory to make a province. Gave it to a hawt chick officer, who went all Joan of Arc and started mass invading on her own, expanding my territory. Towards the end, these lady butchers made the game for me, as I was assisting them more than the other way around.
The true shining star of Sphere of Influence is the AI, which plays like a strong human player without significant cheat assists (on max difficulty it gets a little gold and food bonus, I think, which's meaningless). It invades like you would invade. It expands like you would expand. It teams up on you when you get too far ahead.
The game I won, I had conquered the eastern half of the map, overcoming foes and coalitions my size or greater, only to realize another foe had conquered the western half in the same time, and that I was at best on equal footing for a final mega-showdown that took ~10 hours to complete.
Final note: I only unlocked 2 of ~20 ingame cutscene videos, so there's plenty more to see, and the ending credits are quite neat. A good purchase.
I haven't played Nobunaga's Ambition since the Snes days so my opinion is somewhat date perhaps but I think it's a decent addition to the franchise although it seems to me that it's missing some beloved elements like assassinations and the UI is somewhat confusing at times. It's a satisfying experience although it greatl helps to have an interest in Japanese history.
NO, this is not a game made for console, this game have been designed to play on a PC with a mouse and a monitor.
it's a pain to play with a joypad on a TV.
+ Being a player of Civilisation on PC and mobile, I can tell you that this game is several years away in term of ergonomic & pace.
it's a game to avoid , i have asked for a refund.
I was hoping to be challenged by enemies on the battlefield. But nope, the challenge of this game is mastering the unwieldy user interface. Now, I have heard the excuse that this game is designed for play on a PC with a mouse, and that is why it is awkward on a console. But think about that a moment. Is a mouse really that much more efficient than a controller with a joystick?
It's hard to keep track of your officers. You can't assign them directly from the information window, but have to navigate to an action window. Between the two, I lose track of the similar Japanese names, what location they were at, their loyalty, etc.
Further, the rich graphics shown in the reviews do not appear in game play.
I used to spend hours (days and weeks, really) playing strategy games on the PC. That ended when game disks no longer contained the game itself, and I was forced to submit to hours-long downloads to install a game. So I bought a console to try and get around this problem. This was an unsuccessful strategy. I say to the game industry: "Please take my money and let me have fun again!" The industry replies: "You're not our target audience, and we're filthy rich without you anyway. Run along little man."
SummaryBecome a Daimyo of the Warring States period of Japanese history in NOBUNAGA'S AMBITION, a historical simulation game of conquest and domination. It is the 30th anniversary of this series and this current release, NOBUNAGA'S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence, is the crown of the series.