My thought on Nobunaga’s Ambition – Sphere of Influence

Its been a while since I last played a strategy game, and this would be my first time playing a game inspired by Japanese history, especially from the Sengoku period. Even though I recently picked this game up, I’ve been following this franchise for quite sometimes, due to my experience with another KoeiTecmo’s franchise: Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Long story shorts, I would list down 6 impressions I have on this game. I won’t be talking much about playthough, but I could be talking about its gameplay. The purpose of this post is primarily my thoughts on the game, not the technical part of it. You may find some tips along the way though.

1. Officer creation
Maybe familiar with RotTK titles, the officer creation tool is the big addition of flavor. Let’s get this straight, fancy Uzumaki Naruto as the Shogun of Japan? Well, you can create both Naruto’s character AND his clan if you spend enough time (and with some additional modding). Its a very fascinating thing to see historical and fictional characters clash inside the game. And if you can go a bit further, you might be thinking about the Uzumaki vs Uchiha scenarios. The feature also allow you the freedom to create the officer to your liking, with the basis of traits and growth. This will ensure each character comes out with their own strength and style. Live out your fantasy here, even this game is pretty historical, nothing shall bare your power of imagination.


2. City/Region planning
The city management system gives out alot of strategic route you wish to undertake during your tenure as the leader of your clan. I may be thinking which province is best for gold generation, or crop yield, or troop center. Whether is macro or micro management, the game has plenty to offer. You can start with picking your principles, either you are a conservative or progressive (or neutral), which dictates alot of aspect of your city planning. The stance also affect your policy options, which in turn provide different benefits to your game. Imagine “The Last Samurai” fighting scene when you see horse troops charged into array of gun barrels, it can happen in this game. If you’re on conservative mode, you will most likely benefit from horse troop, rather than gun troop. On the other hand, if you want to invest in modern technology, you’ll neglect traditional way of war and irritate some of your conservative officers.

3. Landscape
Thanks to the dev team, they spent quality of time dedicate to the development of the landscape. It seems their principle of this game is to give as much detail as possible. You can enjoy the rivers, mountains, open fields, sea routes… and many other aspects of the land. Even the district and castle designs can be observed if we enlarge the map enough. You can admire the city/region that you built with all the sweat and blood, and you can try to spot a good space to build another new city or fortress.


4. War tension (Level of difficulty)
As I am playing, I am aware that Oda Nobunaga is expanding his territory and influence. I am still working on my 3 provinces which I just conquered. A moment of decision comes: call for a coalition with my neighbor and resist him, or ally with him and absorb my neighbor. You might want to start building relationship with different parties, and try to maintain it. Receiving request from them and this will affect your diplomatic plan. Either rush to build troop power or using diplomatic war can be a matter of life and death. Employing vertical or horizontal alliance strategy is always a matter of concern. And in late game, there will come a time when two major powers clash heads on. The build-up never ceases to amaze you. This game does well to produce such tensions throughout the game. Choose your road to Shogunate carefully.


5. Learn more about the Sengoku period through the game
20 years ago, I learnt alot, really alot, of the world history through playing the legendary Age of Empire II. This experience has provided me the nostalgic feeling when I play this game. Surely, this is solely about Japan. However, this game gives you the chance to act as different Daimyo, who will be given specific quest (only prominent Daimyo though). Each clan has their own unique policy too, combining with character backgrounds, will be a valuable additional experience to us gamer, and especially those who love history-based game. I myself is planning to look for book on this era, so I can learn more about this (I’ve started with wikipedia on some important characters).


6. (new) city development
In addition to the management system that I mentioned above, the game allows us to build new city on a great number of available spot. If you spend enough time, you would know instantly which spot or “potential new city” would be a good choice to add more city, which will help with augmenting your military strength (the game troop system works like this: you cannot manually manipulate the growth of the troop number, you can only do that through certain development choice – like build a military district with a specification to increase Conscript point which raise up the maximum number of troop a castle can have, but you have to wait for the number to grow in each turn – therefore, if you wish to accumulate more troop in your region, your best bet is to invest 1,200 gold in building new city). The more cities you have, the more troop or resource you obtain. I always want to try my hand building city on some interesting spots. It is quite rewarding, for me, giving that I can create a new legend in the page of history (raising troop from a far away place to conquer Japan). Yeah, it’s Thug Life.

This game opens up many possibilities and options for playing. It won’t tire you easily. I fast-learn about the game too, which is really a big plus to it. The system is simple yet sophisticated. You might find some flaws in the game, which I also did, but I do recommend you grab this game and try it. It is not hard for newcomer too (and not to mention, this is my first game of the series).


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