Ambitious guide to greatness
I’m apparently no battlefield general. I learned this fascinating tidbit about myself within a rather rough short season of my gaming life through disastrous decisions and lack of preparation. My troops weren’t ready, I didn’t have enough horses and my crops failed to sustain my garrison. Even my samurai and ninja were taken out quickly. I was outmanned, outmatched and decimated before I knew what hit me. Suffice to say, if I had been Oda Nobunaga, feudal Japan would have been in shambles like my mentions on Twitter these days. That is the way in Nobunaga’s Ambition.
Ambition is not for the faint of heart. It requires serious planning, thoughtful tactical strikes, and good resource management. At its core, Nobunaga’s Ambition is a war simulation that takes you through feudal Japan’s revolutionary period, where unification was the goal and Nobunaga was the man to do it — possibly. While you can choose to be Nobunaga, you can be any other number of generals from different regions of Japan at the time. You’re tasked with raising an army, gathering and maintaining supplies, and defending your region while conquering others in a bid to unify all of Japan under your shogunate.
You roam around the Japanese countryside with your troops and challenge the other generals in a turn-based battle sometimes to the death. If successful, your name will be mentioned in history as a great general and the unifier, much as history played out with Nobunaga’s victory over Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki in 1582 and his successors’ battles after his death.
The premise is unique, though to fully appreciate what it is you’re doing and why, you probably will have to be a history geek or interested in Asian history. It’s niche but fun with a lot of historical education thrown in.
Its niche context aside, the game is fun to play once you fully get into the simulation. It’s a very 1993 presentation. The graphics are small for the maps, but they’re reminiscent of the graphics of the time for the SNES and Windows games. The standout among the graphics, though, are the general portraits. They’re colorful — as are the other graphic elements — but are also beautifully detailed. For a SNES game, the graphics are top notch and still can compete with the big titles of the era.
The music can be a little grating but it’s not overly terrible. There are a few different songs for the menus and battle, and while slightly tinny, they are OK in a short-term play setting.
If you’re into strategy simulations and Japanese history, let curiosity strike and settle in for a rousing battle. Nobunaga’s Ambition is enough to get you started in the genre and is destined to lead to greater things.