To start off blunting, I hate strategy games. The idea of micromanaging every unit of my army and establishing treaties doesn’t appeal to me anyway, shape or form. Despite this fact however, I still am a person of open mind and welcome the experience from games I dislike to completely change my perspective on a certain genre. Although Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence doesn’t change my opinion on strategy sims, I can say that enthusiasts of the genre will thoroughly enjoy the experience that this title has to offer.
Nobunaga’s Ambition is certainly as it’s name suggests, ambitious. Considering the last strategy game I played was several years ago, I was really impressed by how far the genre has come as a whole. Hub navigation, unit movements and resource management in-game were very intuitive and easy to get the hang of. Unfortunately, as much as the game boasts these capabilities, the open endedness of it all sort of left me scratching my head. There is a plot and an end goal, but what it actually entails? I’ll be honest with you dear reader, I haven’t the slightest clue.
Speaking of plot, I really did enjoy the story that Nobunaga’s Ambition presented. The idea of creating your own dynasty among the era of feudal Japan was an interesting one and definitely added to the joy of building my empire from the ground up. This premise isn’t without it’s issues though, I felt that getting into the actual plot was a long and drawn out affair that really didn’t have a lot to do until later on. This is understable though due to the size and scope of your starting army and kingdom. Nonetheless, these issues could have been avoided if there was more of a directed opening, allowing you to get a feel for the world, as opposed to the real lack of substance that you begin with.
Gameplay wise, there isn’t a whole lot to mention, it’s your standard turn-based strategy simulator. You plan out your movements accordingly and do your utmost to not completely eliminate yourself from the game. Player and enemy turns flow fairly well and there’s never a sense that you’re being outmatched, assuming you’ve taking all the right precautions.
Moving away from plot and gameplay, one of the biggest pluses I found from playing was the amount of presentation that was put in-game. It really feels like the developers put a lot of care and passion into getting the feel of the era down, and it shows. The effort that was thrown into the world map was wonderfully done, presenting large beautifully crafted landscapes. As well, the art style used alongside text popups was incredibly detailed and well designed. It really brought me back into a game that the gameplay had taking me out of.
That being said, there are two sides to every coin. One of the biggest flaws I found is that this game is flat out not meant for PS4. It’s painfully clear that everything designed for Nobunaga’s Ambition was made for PC and PC only, with things like menu navigation and unit selection hindering the in-game flow, it’s bewildering to me fact that this title was ported to PS4 at all. However, I do understand that not every strategic based gamer is going to play on PC, so I suppose the port will come as a plus to many.
All in all, Nobunaga’s Ambition is, from what I could tell, a wonderfully designed strategy simulator that has drive and shows a wide array of playability, along with a large degree of replayability. Only being held back by the fact it’s on console, Nobunaga’s Ambition is something that will come as a welcome entry to fans of the genre.
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence - Ascension (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Nobunaga's Ambition is a turn-based strategy sim that does it's best to impress. Although it may not be my cup of tea, it will currently come as a welcome entry to fans of the genre.