There’s a bit of a slight revival of strategy games lately. Games which are truly taking advantage of PC hardware to deliver armies that have a higher number of soldiers than a World War One battle to move a brandy cabinet a few meters closer to the front. The next such strategy game to possibly keep an eye out on? Koei Tecmo’s revered Nobunaga Ambition: Sphere of Influence, which will be hitting western markets in September with its armies of samurai, foot soldiers and possibly Tom Cruise*.
If you’ve never heard of Nobunaga’s Ambition, then you’re missing out on the finest legacy games around. It’s been around longer than I’ve been alive and then some, dating all the way back to the dark digital ages of 1983. Set during the Sengoku (KAAAAAAMEHAAAAAAAME) period of Japanese history, the franchise has followed the conquest and unification of that island nation over the centuries through the eyes of famed warlord Oda Nobunaga. It’s rather spiffy if you’re a fan of history and strategy.
There’s been a ton of games released, most of them confined to the land of the rising sun. Sphere of Influence however, will be a PC and PlayStation game that reaches western audience for the first time ever, according to the press release in my inbox and on Facebook which I copied and pasted bits from below:
Having recently celebrated its 30th year anniversary, ‘Nobunaga’s Ambition’ is one of the longest running franchises for Koei Tecmo Games in Japan, and during its lifetime it has received high praise by an ever-growing fan base across an array of platforms. Now, its latest chapter, ‘Sphere of Influence’, is finally ready to cross the waters and reach Europe for the first time.
Ogasawara-san, the long- serving producer of the series, notes: “It is my distinct pleasure to be able to present the newest installment of “Nobunaga’s Ambition” to our western audience. I hope gamers will enjoy this one-of-a-kind strategy game that has been refined through 30 years of experience. Don’t miss it!”
Hailed as one of the best instalments in the franchise’s history, this extremely intricate, deep, and meticulous strategy game is set against a backdrop of a fragmented nation and asks the player to take up the mantle of a Daimyo, a feudal lord of the Sengoku era (15th- 16th century Japan), who will fight for the great ideal of uniting the war-ridden country under one rule, thus becoming the first Shogun.
This title, centring around creating a realistic, dynamic, and dramatic playing experience, requires a high level of concentration and skill as players will need to master three key verticals in order to become a well-rounded ruler and successfully beat the game: Creation, Diplomacy and War.
In ‘Creation’ they are called to build up their clan’s standing, deal with everyday issues like building farms & roads, growing the economy, entering trade agreements with neighbouring fiefs etc. ‘Diplomacy’ is a playground for cultivating diplomatic relationships, employing spies, creating alliances, gaining the loyalty of subordinate officers and growing in strength via marriage, oaths of fealty and treaties.
Finally to succeed in ‘War’ players must train troops, level up officers according to the clan’s needs, fortify defences, strategically position armies and attack (or defend) to further their goals and grow their dominion. Choosing to play either as a historical personality or a uniquely edited character, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of influence is both a full scale historical simulation and a bona fide strategy title and it offers an extremely wide pallet of choice for the player to shape the world as they please.
Sounds rather detailed. The game arrives on our shores on September 4.
*Tom Cruise is not a samurai. That’s just silly. Just ask Steven Seagal.
Last Updated: May 19, 2015