Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere of Influence Ascension Preview – The Devil’s in the Detailon October 6, 2016 by Oscar TK
If you checked out our review of Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII, Nobunaga’s Ambition’s, sister series, you’ll remember we loved it. But it also set the bar pretty high for a Nobunaga’s Ambition sequel. Naturally we were stoked to get hands-on with Nobunaga’s Ambition SoI Ascension a little early. So how is it shaping up? Very, very well.
The true believers among you will also remember that we loved the original Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence. This new entry in the Nobunaga’s Ambition series shares three quarters of its subtitle with that one. So what’s the deal? Is this just a GOTY re-release or a full on sequel? Well, the answer lies somewhere in between, but Ascension definitely feels like a brand new iteration.
Are you up to the task of ascending, and unifying Japan yourself?
Ascension does owe a lot to the original Sphere of Influence of course. Players of that one will feel immediately at home with the game, as at first it seems a lot like the original. But this is more than a simple rejig. Enough feels changed to call it a new game (which they have done), and it’s all in the title of the game — Ascension. You yourself, as your chosen character, must prove yourself worthy and ascend through the ranks of the clan through hard work from the ground up. It’s something that Romance of The Three Kingdoms XIII dabbled with — it really made you feel like you were inhabiting a single character in a grand strategy game — and the same is true if not moreso here.
The range of strategic layers available in the series has always been impressive, and this plays to those strengths by adding even more.
This feels like a much deeper dive into the individual officers and their stories than Romance or Nobunaga has attempted before, and it’s a fantastic way at making it feel fresh. Why simply explode what you can already do in the game when you can implode it instead? The Devil is in the detail after all. It changes the structure of the civic side of things massively. Being able to start the game as a subordinate instead of a daimyo is an ingenious way to peel back new layers and show a different perspective. You can start from taking care of a small village, to commanding a vast army.
Yes, Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere of Influence — Ascension does share a lot with the original SoI, but it’s shaping up to be a much more detailed beast on closer inspection. The range of strategic layers available in the series has always been impressive, and this plays to those strengths by adding even more. Beyond this Ascension also features numerous other tweaks, which feel like they’ve taken their lessons from RotTK XIII and applied them well, such as with the enhanced siege and naval battles. Even the concept of deeper character roleplay feels like an iteration on some of RotTK XIII‘s strongest elements.
The road to unifying Japan has always been a hard one for any clan. But when you’re just one person that road can seem even more daunting. From what we’ve been able to play so far it seems that Koei Tecmo have done a great job at making that task feel even more personal. Are you up to the task of ascending, and unifying Japan yourself?