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Games : Recommended
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Release Date: October 25th, 2016 Movie Release Year: 2016

Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence - Ascension

Overview -

Koei's 'Nobunaga's Ambition' strategy game series began in 1983, and has seen over 25 different releases on a wide array of platforms. The latest entry in the retelling of Japan's feudal history is 'Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence - Ascension,' an enhanced version of last year's 'Sphere of Influence.' It brings a number of new features to the series including the ability to play as an officer and new combat scenarios that take place in castles.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
October 25th, 2016

Video Review


As expected, 'Ascension' looks virtually identical to 'Sphere of Influence.' That means it creates a decent looking virtual of Japan, although one that fails to be spectacular in any regard. Nothing aside from a few CGI cutscenes will impress players, and the art style is much more realistic than Koei's 'Samurai Warriors' depiction of the same Japanese soldiers. The game isn't really enhanced nor hampered by the visuals, as it looks good enough to avoid major complaints, but can't garner much praise by the same token.

It also should be noted that the game's user interface, just like 'Sphere of Influence,' is ridiculously small when booting the game for the first time. This can easily be remedied in the options by checking the "Increase UI Size" tab, and then the game is actually playable. I'm kind of surprised they kept the super small version as the default as the text is simply unreadable on a television.

Audio Review


Much like the visuals, not much really stands out about 'Ascension's audio. The overworld features the relaxing instrumentals one would expect from a strategy game, and there are some more upbeat tracks for battles. Other than a pretty standard musical score, there are a few brief lines of English voiceover that get re-used to the point of tedium. Every month players will have to hear the same voice tell players about the past month's income and that they are "reporting in!" The options allow players to change the voices to Japanese, but that doesn't solve the repetitiveness.

Final Thoughts

Despite largely being a repackaging of last year's game, 'Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence - Ascension' makes smart changes to the formula that immediately pay off. The new game still controls a bit wonky using a controller, but the revamped user interface does make the strategy title more accessible. The future looks bright for Koei Tecmo's strategy series, and its new focus on individual officers is definitely the way to go.