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Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence Review

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I haven’t played a Nobunaga game in a really long time. This game almost flew under my radar. This is one of the quiet gems of 2015. 

The Great:


The very first thing I noticed when I booted up Nobunaga’s Ambtion: Sphere of Influence was how great the opening theme was. I sat in my seat for about 20 minutes listening to it before I started my game.

Once the game did start the soundtrack got a lot better. It’s really relaxing and I found myself wondering if I could get my hands on this soundtrack. It definitely made playing this game a lot better in the long run.


Council_AduchiCastleTownRight-Side-ViewIf you’re familiar with the Total War games you’ll get the hang of Nobunaga’s Ambition’s combat quickly. I’ve grown accustomed to micromanaging huge armies in Total War so doing it in Nobunaga’s Ambition was nothing new to me, but my head almost exploded at the intricate menus, materials, and managing my kingdom.

It was a lot to take in all at once, but thankfully the tutorial, this is one of the few tutorials I highly recommend you play, did a pretty great job at introducing me to the game’s mechanics and what everything was. After a few hours of play time I was running my kingdom with little to no problems and getting ready to start my first war with my Daimyo neighbors.

There are two different phases in each month. The first phase is where you’ll do your strategic planning, and resource managing. The second phase is controlling your army on the world map. During the second phase is where all of the battles, fort capturing, and scouting will be done and it’s all a lot of fun.

The Good:


This game won’t blow anyone away with it’s graphics, but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad. They’re actually quite simple when compared to games like Civilization V, and Total War Rome/Attila and one of the games that I mentioned came out back in 2010. Nobunaga’s Ambition does have a really good looking world map that allows us to zoom out as far as we want. I can see the entire map of Japan if I zoom out far enough and that’s always a major plus in strategy games.


I have yet to play a game that offers really great diplomacy in it, but what’s present here is pretty good. It’s your basic diplomacy options that I’ve seen in just about every Total War game. You can place weaker Daimyo’s under your protection. You can forge alliances, become a vassal, participate in a joint war, and various other options. One thing that’s new, to me, is being able to gain favor with the emperor by sending one of your generals to their court. It’s a cool mechanic, but I don’t really know how useful it is because I’m not a very high rank with them yet.


2015-08-25_00014-noscaleMost strategy games don’t bother to give us quest to complete. Sphere of Influence is not one of them. As I was playing the game I got many quest to complete that offered some type of reward in return. Some of the quest had me fortifying my castle while others had me conquering my neighbors. They keep things fresh when the game slows up and I had fun completing them.

The Bad:

It’s Not Noob Friendly:

If you’re new to strategy games start somewhere else. This game will most likely confuse the crap out of you and you’ll end up not liking it in the end. This game is complex and does have a learning curve even for veterans of strategy games.

It Doesn’t Separate Itself Enough From Other Strategy Games:

Sphere of Influence is a $60 game, but Total War Attila can be brought for about $20 and it offers more than this game in a lot of areas. I’m not taking anything away from Sphere of Influence, but I don’t think the game is great enough to justify a $60 price tag. If this game was $40, like Attila was when it first came out, I would recommend this game right now, but it’s not and I recommend waiting for a price drop before jumping in.

The Verdict:

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is a beautifully designed game that has a steep learning curve, intricate design, and offers hours upon hours of micromanaging, but it’s a lot of fun and I loved every second of it.


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