Top Critic Average
There have been only a few strategy games on consoles in recent years, and none have had the depth conveyed by Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence. The unique historical setting only further cements this title as one of my favourite on the PlayStation 4 to date.
If you're a fan of strategy games and own a PlayStation 4 then you should check out Nobunaga's Ambition Sphere of Influence because it successfully creates a PC strategy experience on this console. Sure, the DualShock Controller will never replace a mouse but the developers have fine-tuned the mechanics to create a very compelling game that is not only easy to manage, both on a micro and macro level but it's quite a good looking game as well.
Offering deep gameplay with an approachable style, Sphere of Influence is rewarding for strategy fans while remaining forgiving for genre newcomers. Strategy vets will find all they want and then some, but newcomers will need to exercise patience in order to begin digging into the game's bountiful rewards.
A few drawbacks in the game won't stop you from enjoying this in-depth strategy game and pouring an exorbitant amount of time into propelling your Lord to the top of the Feudal food chain.
If you've been patiently waiting for a deep and engaging PS4 strategy title, look no further than Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence. While it certainly doesn't do anything new to win over those who aren't fans of the genre, it does more than enough to sap away the hours of anyone who's willing to wrap their head around its complex workings. And although its move to consoles could have been better executed, you'll still struggle to find a more rewarding experience on Sony's latest machine.
Though it may scare off many players with its plodding pace and immediately complex array of commands, Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence is an engrossing and fiercely detailed journey through feudal Japan, offering a deep, lengthy strategy experience that simply can't be matched on PS4. It's not for everyone, but if you surrender yourself to its intricacies you may well find yourself crafting your own ornate strategies for victory long into the night.
For the uninitiated into the grand strategy genre this might be a daunting order, but for those who are it's a wonderful entry that shines. Both full of detail and freedom and simple enjoyment. Its faults are few, though frustrating when they rear their heads, and it's much easier to find enjoyable, happy things in it than anything bad. A delight to play.
Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence is easy to recommend on its own merits and not just because it's the only in-depth strategy game available on the PS4. It has some flaws, including a rather lackluster interface and average visuals, but it makes up for that with plenty of in-game depth. It's probably not going to change your mind if you find the complex political strategy games too slow-paced or boring, but for anyone hankering for that often-neglected genre, this is a welcome addition.
Overall this is an amazing game that leaves some things to be desired but overcomes its issues with strong gameplay and ever increasing levels of depth. The game will please fans of the genre who have being waiting for a game like this to come to PS4, but I honestly can't see it winning over many new fans to the genre due to how overwhelming its initial few hours can be.
Its pace may be too plodding for some and it certainly seems somewhat backwards or dated in relief with other modern strategy games, but Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence still remains an ornate and absorbing title that kept me engaged for hours on end and surely will continue to do so.
Over the years, Koei has clearly continued to refine it's original strategy template, layering an interlocking mesh of game systems and mechanics. When the cogs start turning, Nobunaga's Ambition becomes this intriguing spectacle as clans employ a variety of strategies in order to adapt, survive, and expand. Although far from perfect, this is likely the best grand strategy title you'll find on a home console.
Nobunaga's Ambition is an incredibly detailed game. It has a huge barrier to entry but if you can get over it, then the game can and will absorb you. There are weaknesses, the biggest actually being the sheer detail the game goes into when upgrading such as roads, it feels like needless busywork which should be streamlined. By no means is this perfect, there is a lot that could be improved, but for what it offers, Nobunaga's Ambition is well worth looking at. The huge downside is the sheer cost of the game, plus the fact that Koei Tecmo are charging up to half of the original price of the game on extra scenarios.
The graphics aren't exactly pretty, battles can be cumbersome, and even the tutorial is brutally unforgiving. But underneath the rough edges lies an undeniably competent game, one that will challenge you first and foremost, but also a game that will reward you for putting in the hours that it requires.
The diplomacy is well done, but without a robust battle system and satisfying nation-building to back it up, the game feels like it's missing something – it's all build-up with no pay-off. It's a shame, because Sphere of Influence does some interesting things with the standard grand strategy formula. The way it mixes historical storytelling with freeform play is commendable, as is its focus on the political, personal side of military campaigning. Unfortunately, it falls at the final hurdle. Much like Nobunaga himself, in fact.
A long-awaited localization of a famed franchise that fails to make an impact. With little depth or strategy, this is a game designed for those who love Japanese history or are franchise diehards. Only that love will keep you wanting to play through the game more than once.
The harsh reality is that Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence rewards patience, but quite a lot of patience is required in order to make the most of what is a difficult game to recommend to others.