NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence – Ascension Review

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NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence – Ascension has now been released in English, after being originally released on Steam in March in Japanese. With a critically acclaimed predecessor, Ascension is a historical simulator based in Japan.

Set during the Sengoku era of Japanese history, the game highlights events during this period and has you fight to claim and keep areas of land and resources. Historical events that we can search up-on the internet are brought to life in this game, offering players the chance to make their own decisions in unique missions. Embracing both naval and siege battles, you duke it out during these fights to increase your land, in true rags-to-riches style. The idea is that you become the ultimate, owning the most land and resources.


An incredible thing to consider about this game is that there are 2000 different characters to choose between. Many of them are low ranking, but there are a few people in there that you may actually recognise from history, which I think is cool. I cannot say I am a Japanese history expert, but even I recognised the occasional name. After being given a small piece of land by your lord, you show them that you are more than capable of looking after a measly piece of land by winning more and more, all the while impressing them by completing missions. Looking after each piece of land in your attempt to build an empire does take planning, and what you build in an area can affect the areas surrounding it. If you want to make the most of what you have, you need to plan out what you think about what works best.

The story of Sphere of Influence – Ascension is a focal point of the game, providing you with an extensive list of missions to choose from. Having so many missions to read through is over-whelming to begin with, but if you stick with it, you will get the hang of it soon enough. This is exactly what kind of in-depth storytelling many gamers are looking for, and if you like simulation games then you will thoroughly enjoy this. Strategising how best to achieve a mission’s goal is half the fun, and it takes a while to get the hang of how best to attack in terms of formations of battle men. Battles happen in real time, and they are quite entertaining to watch, if only for a little while.


The game can run quite clunky, and there is a lot on the screen to take in at any given moment. You can zoom in close to look at the little details, or zoom out to look at the bigger picture, but either way, do whatever suits you. This game is one that needs you to have control of it at all times, in a way that suits you best, or you will quickly lose your grasp on what you want to happen. There is a lot to take in, so this is a game that you have to genuinely want to play. It is not one meant for you to just turn on and play for a little while, you have to be genuinely interested in Japanese history and simulation games to succeed and get your money’s worth.

If you take only one thing from this game, it should be that it is definitely education. The history is authentic, which I admire. However, they are dense. Full to the brim with historic caveats and strategy, this is one of those games that you are meant to dedicate one day of the week to, if not more. This game takes time to grow on you, as you will definitely not sit down to play it and know what you are doing. I get the feeling it will leave many gamers frustrated and with their heads in their hands, but if you are looking for a strategy simulation, stick with this one. It will pay off for you in the end.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to

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NOBUNAGA'S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence - Ascension Review
  • Gameplay - 7/10
  • Graphics - 7/10
  • Sound - 7/10
  • Replay Value - 7/10
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I get the feeling it will leave many gamers frustrated and with their heads in their hands, but if you are looking for a strategy simulation, stick with this one. It will pay off for you in the end.

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