Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi Review
Koei released the first Nobunaga’s Ambition game in the year 1983, beginning a long-running series of in-depth turn-based historical strategy simulators. Along with it’s Chinese based sister series, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, these strategy sims are perfect for those who enjoy these elaborate playstyles, constantly planning the next move in attempts to take over their desired region. It’s crazy to think this game is now celebrating its 30th anniversary and unfortunately, I haven’t really heard much of the series. I did, however, play Pokemon Conquest, a crossover of Nobunaga’s Ambition and Pokemon. With this knowledge in mind, I decided to try my hand at the just-released Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi, and boy, was I not prepared.
Taking place in the Sengoku period of Japan, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi allows players to choose from one of many different scenarios. At the beginning of the game, you will choose a real-life daimyo from the period, run a clan and hopefully unite Japan under one leadership. However this game can be played in any manner you would like, the course of Japan’s history is quite literally in your hands. Players will have to engage in diplomacy, subterfuge, trading and judicious use of force by outmaneuvering or allying with all other opposing daimyos in the game.
Unfortunately, as I do not have the experience with the previous games, something I really appreciated about this title is the personality traits given to each clan. Something you will have to constantly keep in mind of is the goals and aspirations of each daimyo and clan. Historically, as all leaders had different ambitions to achieve, this game perfectly emulates that feeling, really making sure each clan has something unique to them. If you are able to play to these traits and ambitions accurately, you will, of course, gain various rewards. If you choose to play a pacifist clan, for example, you will be rewarded by making allies with nearby clans however if you choose to do something that isn’t necessarily what your daimyo may do, you won’t be punished too harshly for it.
Something I could really appreciate about this game is the comprehensive tutorial system that is implemented in the game. The tutorial explains the functions quite clearly with much detail and everything is laid out very nicely. It will walk players through everything that needs to be thought about as well as how to manage each part of your empire. However, even with the tutorial system, a newcomer to the genre may want to look elsewhere as this game will still most likely come across as terribly overwhelming. The first few hours of the game you will have to learn how to properly juggle military conquest with diplomacy, economics and the development of your region and in doing so, means page after page of menu screens featuring a plethora of different options to choose from. Unfortunately, I did find myself confused by some of the commands as some of the options were hard to locate. It would be helpful if they were highlighted in some way to make finding where I wanted to go next, but perhaps that is just my old lady eyes steering me in the wrong direction yet again.
And then we finally get to the battle portion of the game. When commencing in battle, it is just as important here to carefully execute your plan of attack. You’ll be taken to a map that shows where the enemies may be and you are given an area to move in. Once you have spotted the enemy, it’s usually in best interest to try and circle around them to attack them from behind for an ambush, however, if you are not properly equipped with the right armor and weapons, you will most likely be going home empty-handed. Personally, I found the battles thrilling at first as I thoroughly enjoy the mix of tactical turns that could be planned out however for those who prefer building up your regions with infrastructure and diplomacy, there is an option to allow the AI to battle it out for you.
There is a lot about this game that could have players finding new characters, ambitions of the daimyo’s and clans along with play styles for quite some time. While the tutorial system is fantastic as it does very clearly show what maneuvers should be made, for casual players of this genre, myself included, may find the learning curve to be a bit steep. However those who have been interested in the series but have not yet picked up the game, or more experienced players, should definitely pick this title up. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi is certainly the kind of game that you can get lost in, constantly muttering ‘one more turn’ while losing sleeping and playing into the wee hours of the morning.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Many characters with unique traits
- In-depth tutorial
- Many different campaigns
- Steep learning curve
- Can get confusing