Nobunaga's Ambition
Nobunaga's Ambition | oprainfall
Title Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence
Release Date September 1, 2015
Genre Simulation
Platform PS3,PS4, and Steam
Age Rating Teen
Official Website

Nobunaga’s Ambition is a series that has been around for a long time and seems to have a pretty dedicated fan base. I’ve seen these titles many times, but had never actually played one. So, when the opportunity came around to review Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, I decided to give the series a try. I figured it’s always good to try new things, right?

The game itself is turn based. During each turn, you are presented with a political phase and a military phase. During the political phase, you can develop your towns, build structures, fortify your castles, send out diplomats to woo other clans to be your ally, build roads and much more. Now you can move to military phase. Here, you control troop deployment, battle tactics of your troops engaged in battle, or you can even call for aid from a friendly clan if you find yourself in a losing situation.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence | Skirmish Siege Plain Castle

The graphics, while not the most impressive I’ve seen, get the job done nicely here. The closer you zoom in on the world map, the more details pop out at you. When you are zoomed in as far as you can you will be able to see quite a bit of detail on all the structures, roads, and even the topography of the land itself. The officer portraits are nothing special, and you’ve likely seen most of them before if you played a Samurai Warriors title, but there are some interesting ones to choose from if you want to make a custom officer. My only issue here is that the font is so tiny. Even if you go in the options and make the UI bigger, it’s still pretty small.

In the audio department, this is solid. The OST features a ton of great tracks to listen to while you manage every aspect of you aspiring empire. There are a lot of confirmation sound effects and chimes to let you know when various orders have been carried out, such as when structure building is complete, among other things. The game is voiced in Japanese and English, and both sets of voice actors do a great job in bringing out these historical figures personalities.

The story is broken up into several historically-accurate scenarios, and some that are fictional. History buffs will love how much attention to detail has been paid in making these scenarios. This is also a good way for people interested in Japan’s history to have a fun way to learn. You can also use the free quest system to change things up a bit and carve out your own history. This was a really nice feature since it added more options and depth to this already very deep story.

Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence | Castle

Combat, unlike the other phases in the game, takes place in real time. Your armies will be represented on the combat map by a T-shape that looks like a Tetris piece. You can issue movement commands and even use officer special abilities to turn the tide of battle if things are getting rough. These would include things such as Rally to improve morale or Volley to make use of your ranged troops. I had to fight the cursor a bit here to get it to click on which units I wanted a couple of times, but it was manageable for the most part.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence | Skirmish Tactics

I have to say as far as the gameplay goes, this is the most realistic war simulation I have ever played. The problem that more casual players will find is that, in being realistic, this game requires a ton of micromanagement. I really felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of options presented to me. There is an in-depth tutorial that will help you figure some things out, though, if you lose the battle there, you will have to start it all over. There is also a large help menu and even an online manual.

While I cannot say that Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is a bad game, it is definitely not for me. As a newcomer, I was able to work my way through four of the scenarios the game has to offer, and it took me around 10 hours to do this. I was only able to do this because the difficulty is very adjustable, and I could tilt the odds in my favor a bit. Even doing that didn’t really seem to help me that much in the later scenarios as they become very difficult. This one has far too much micromanagement for my taste. However, if you want a really in-depth war simulation or are a fan of the series, this one has plenty to offer at the $59.99 price tag.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is available on Amazon:

Steve Baltimore
Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.