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[PS3 Strategy Review] Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence

Nobunagas Review

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is a complicated turn-based simulation/strategy history game based on events during the famous era of Feudal Japan. There are several Scenarios to play as well as a long tutorial to learn everything the game has to offer. The themes of Nobunaga’s Ambition is warfare, development, diplomacy, family, foreign policy, tactics and unification. Are you up for the challenge?

The main aim of the game is to build your towns and cities and fortify your castle, and take control of Samurai clans all across Feudal Japan. Maybe you can take over the whole country if you are a good enough strategist and tactician! No knowledge of Japanese history is required but if you do know a thing or two, then the information will definitely work in your favour.

Very early on during the first couple of scenarios, you should concentrate on building your town and strengthening your clans as you search for gold and resources and send your officers in reconnaissance missions. Once you have that going on, you should also work on gaining trust from other clans as it will help you grow in prestige and attract people to your castle, therefore increasing your population. Gaining trust will also make it easier for you to overtake other clans!

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Nobunaga’s Ambition has quests you can complete, or if you choose you can ignore them and play the game how you see fit – you pretty much have complete freedom. The quests serve as objectives, and if you wish to reenact history as it happened then it is recommended you complete them. It is also worth noting that if you choose to ignore quests, it could prevent others from occuring, so choose your path wisely.

Accepting quests will display completion conditions and failure conditions. Meeting failure conditions will obviously result in a failed quest. Completing quests will reenact history as it happened, and officers will gain new abilities as well. I did them for a history lesson as I am a fan, so that was a very fun aspect for me.

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Once a month a council will convene in which three reports are given: a war report, a balance report and an action report. The war report states the battles currently being fought. The balance report shows profit and expenses for the current and previous months. The action report also includes a log which explains the results of the current and previous months orders and any important events. When the reports are over, you can press the end council button, and you are then free to issue orders and develop your territory as you see fit. Once you are done with your monthly development you can watch your actions and orders being executed in real time until the next council is called, and you then rinse and repeat for the duration of the game.

The most important aspect of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is gold. You cannot function without it, and your economy could collapse if you’re short, so it is important to keep a steady income so you always have cash to develop your territory. If at any time you are unsure of what to do you can hit the suggestion button to make your life a whole lot easier.

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This next bit is a good one and my favourite of all commands in the game: the survey command! This command allows you to investigate nearby bases for gold and silver mines as well as for resources, and you even find secret paths. You can discover them by sending your best officers with a high INT because the higher the INT the better the chances of hitting the jackpot!

This being such a huge game, it includes a full trophy count of 39 trophies, split as follows: 14 Bronze, 20 Silver, 4 Gold and the Platinum. If you want to Platinum this game, be ready to live and breath everything that Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence has to offer since you’ll be playing for a long time!

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Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence is a very big and complicated game with far more information than my brain can accommodate in one go. The tutorial is about 2 hours long, and I had to replay the tutorial as I forgot what I was supposed to do. There is definitely a lot to learn, and patience is required, but it is very much worth it. Despite my inexperience with the series, I greatly enjoyed the game once I grasped the basics, and I’ve been going back to it to improve my skills and to experience more of the available scenarios. And for those of you that manage to complete all scenarios included in the game, you’ll be pleased to know that there are additional scenarios available for download from the PSN store, and one of them is even free!

[review pros=”Well-polished graphics.
Feudal Japan setting is great.
Good informative tutorial.
Great replay value.” cons=”Might be a bit complicated for casual players.” score=90]


This review is based on a digital copy of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence provided by KOEI TECMO America.