Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Review
Follow Genre: Historical simulation
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Historical storyline, great graphics, loads of possibilities
Bad: Sound might get repetitive
User Score
5.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)

The Nobunaga franchise exists since the eighties and this title is the latest offspring. You will take a tour in the Japanese ‘Warring States’ but although there is a historical path you can follow, you can also take another road and write your own history.

NobunagasAmbitionSphereOfInfluence_LOGO

Story

It is quite hard to give you the story of this game as it is you who decides what happens and how everything will develop. At any rate, you will play as one of the daimyo’s of famous Japanese clans. There are several campaigns you can start and every one of these will revolve around certain events in history. You can choose if you want to follow the more historical correct quests or if you want to follow a different path.

The outcome of each campaign can be different if you choose to deny some quests or if you do certain things differently than a previous run. For example, you will have the chance to forge alliances with neighboring clans and it is your choice if you will put time and effort in this or not. This will change the outcome of the campaign as you might get to your goal sooner.

It is a great idea of the developers to give the players the chance to make their own story and to give a historical structure they can also follow. This might make it more appealing for a larger group of people as it gives a lot of possibilities.

Nobunaga's Ambition Sphere of Influence

Graphics

We got the chance to test this game on the PS4 and although the intro video is amazingly lifelike, it might be a bit disappointing if you see the rest of the game. It certainly isn’t bad but it doesn’t use the full capacity of the console.

You will mostly have an overhead view of the area, which looks really nice. There are quite some details when you zoom in but there are certain things that could have been done better. For example, the few people you see are like small sackboys and the birds seem like a PS2 image. This is a small remark though, as you will be on the overhead map most of the time.

There are also a lot of intermezzo screens like when the council is starting, a quest has been completed or something historical has happened. The images are static and the characters only appear in one stance but there is a good reason for this. The images look like they are oil painted and it might be difficult to make this animated.

Sound

Overall, the sound quality is superb and you will get sucked into the atmosphere of a more historical Japan. What is a downer is that you will hear the same tunes over and over again when you’re doing a campaign and it might get on your nerves soon. It would have been better if there was a bit more variety during the quests, as you will play one campaign rather long (especially when you’re new to the genre).

Nobunaga's Ambition Sphere of Influence

Next to the tunes, there are loads of sound effects that really take the game to the next level. It is always a joy to hear your people work and laugh in your town or the battle cries of a group of soldiers on their way to a target. Some of the voices have actual voice acting as well which really fit the style of the game and the visual representation they have.

Gameplay

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is a historical simulation game that will take you on a journey in Japan’s history. You will need to start a campaign in which you need to fulfil several quests. Depending if you accept the quest and if you are able to complete it, will determine how the story continues. You can start at the beginning of the story or jump in at another point as this is a historical take of things. This means that, if you’re stuck on certain parts, you can start at a point that lies a bit further in time. When you have chosen a campaign, you can also change some difficulty settings.

During the campaign, you will notice two phases. The first one will give you the opportunity to do all of your actions, while the second one is the ‘Active time’ when everything you ordered happens. During this time, you can also see that the other clans have their own actions. You can choose to watch everything at ‘realtime’ or if you are in a hurry, you can also speed things up.

Nobunaga's Ambition Sphere of Influence

There are loads of different actions you can do during a campaign, so we will only give you a summarized list. First of all, you can expand your territory by doing several things. For example, you can develop your towns or villages or sell/buy provisions. These provisions are necessary during warfare, but more about that later. Next to these tasks, you can also alter the infrastructure of the roads, cities and other buildings, which has its own perks as well. There are also diplomatic things you can do, like negotiating with other clans or tribes or try to convert enemy officers.

It would be a bit weird if you only could develop towns and not be able to defend yourself or try to take other areas. This means that you can deploy troops, get back-up from allies or set directions to certain areas

Before you can actually do these actions, you will need money, food and labor. Labor is needed if you want to perform certain actions like expanding or developing certain things. If you want to have more labor, you will need to attract people in your villages. This is done by focusing on two elements, namely the agriculture and crafts.

Agriculture stands for the production of rice and it will determine how much food you will receive at the start of fall. This is also necessary to provide your troops with provisions when they are on the road or you can sell some excess stock to a vendor and gain some gold. Crafts on the other hand will increase the population of your town and you will receive money when you focus on this element. Besides these two branches, you can also go for conscripts. This will increase the amount of soldiers your town has. Of course, your city or village will have a maximum capacity, but this can be increased by expanding by focusing on agriculture and crafts.

Nobunaga's Ambition Sphere of Influence

Next to these necessary goods, you can also have horses and guns. These can be important to get the upper hand during a war. Talking about war, you can choose to let the computer fight your battles or you can take the sword in own hands and lead your troops into battle yourself. This is done in a rather Risk-lookalike setup. It might be better to give the orders yourself as it can give you the upper hand in battle but there is a downer as well. The controls aren’t that great and it might be that you’ll have your troops do things that might turn the battle against you.

There is a tutorial level foreseen in which a lot of the mechanics are explained, but it is a lot to take in at once. You can save at any time though, giving you the possibility to continue at another time. During this tutorial, you also learn that you can access extra information about a lot of things. For example, you can see lots of details of the other clans or enemy bases.

Next to the campaign, you can also edit historical or created officers. This means that you can change their personality, appearance (by selecting another image), tactics and abilities. When you will see them in-game, they will have changed to your liking.

The last thing you can find are the feats or achievements. Here you have an overview of the things you have already unlocked and which still need your attention.

Nobunaga's Ambition Sphere of Influence

Overall, you will have loads of fun if you like a historical strategy game. There are loads of actions you can do though and if you let the game rest for a while, it might be that you forget the mechanics. Thank goodness that there is a tutorial level which you can replay or you can access the online manual if necessary.

Conclusion

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is the latest game of this franchise. You will be sucked into a historical campaign, guided with really nice graphics and tunes. There are loads of actions you can perform during the campaign and every move will change the situation and even the story. So it’s time to take up arms and let your ambition run free.

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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence - Review, 5.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
AnneMieke
AnneMieke


Faster than lightning

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