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Red Dragon

Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

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Nobunaga's Ambition is a long running series of strategy historical simulation games all based on the same premise. Oda Nobunaga was a warlord in 1500's Japan. His dream was to unite the country under one rule. The goal of the game is to use diplomacy and combat to achieve his dream (as the Oda clan - or another clan). The latest version is Sphere of Influence which I have for PS3.

 

Graphics - B - Not bad. I'd put them on par with Heroes of Might and Magic or the Civilization series. It's not Uncharted or Heavy Rain, but it's a different type of game.

Story and atmosphere - A- - This version did well. You can play several different scenarios, all with different subquests in an attempt to get a lot of historical events to occur in the game. For a strategy game, it did the story well while still letting the game control the story. The atmosphere is very good as well. The details are a nice added touch to the game. You have to keep your officers loyal. You can get other clan officers to defect. You can negotiate alliances, coalitions, claim vassels, and have kin marry into family to keep the peace (It's the middle ages). There's times for peace and times for war.

Combat and Play Control - B+ - Very good, although it's difficult when you're moving a large number of units at the same time. You have to develop your towns based on crops, crafts (money), conscripts (Soldiers), and labor (actions you can take). The building (council) mode is complicated, but it is turn based. You issue your commands for the month with towns. Then you have the action and see what happens for a month until the next turn. Battles are in real time. If you send your troops to attack, that's in real time taking place between the beginning of the month commands and the next month.

Difficulty - B - There's a steep learning curve, but it gets easier once you learn how to play the game. There's a lot of things to learn with this game, but it's not too difficult where it is impossible to play. It takes time, trial and error.

Length - B+ - It's a long. I'm on the first "scenario" of this game and haven't finished it yet. It's a LONG game, as are most turn based strategies. Each turn is a month in game time and when there's 20+ bases, that adds up in time. I've had people on my side that are "born" become of age and now fight on my team. One thing that helps so it doesn't drag is that you can set up provinces and regents. You lose direct control, but that's realistic in real life.
 

Overall - B+ - This is a good niche series. Civilization the king of the historical simulation games and is focused on development first. Europa Universalis has a lot of the same historical depth, but is a lot more complicated and quite overwhelming (esp as it's all in real time). This game has a lot of building and diplomatic depth and some combat, but has a lot of balance overall. It's a good change of pace game that sucks you in. If you're interested in history, this is one to look at.

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How did I not see this. I love this game! I haven't had time to play this in a while, but I hope to pick up where I left off soon. Nice review.

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