When you look at a game like Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension, it’s easy to be intimidated. Especially when this installment lets you go all the way from retainer to daimyo. That’s quite a job. There are new responsibilities and actions. Fortunately, the game eases you into every task, giving you chances to gradually grow into the role you may have been born to play.
For your first time trying to rise up the ladder in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension, I recommend going with the fictional Thirty Ambitions scenario for your first time. Give yourself an edge with an edited difficulty level, pick a substantial clan that’s fairly well off in terms of resources, and allow the in-game edits, in case you want to give yourself an “edge” at any time. This is, of course, after going through the tutorial. Giving yourself a comfortable start before going into your first domain is a good way to practice.
Life as a retainer in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension isn’t exactly glamorous. In fact, it can be a little intimidating. The missions you’re attempting to complete could be taken on by other members of your clan and completed sooner, meaning less honor for you. (As long as you can get at least portion of each mission completed, you should be fine.) The first battle you compete in, you’ll probably have to withdraw or retreat, as you won’t be strong enough to really contribute. (You’ll still get some honor for showing up.) But, this is about getting you comfortable within the space. You’ll gradually be able to add more and more districts, as well as spur on innovations that will allow for new kinds of buildings. By the time your second battle comes around, you’ll probably be able to help out. You may even be a driving force in the siege.
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension lets you move at your own pace. After succeeding a bit, perhaps expanding the lay of your land as a retainer and winning favor in a few battles, it will allow you the opportunity to take a promotion. You can always say no, if you’d prefer. You aren’t forced into it. In the same way, you’ll gradually receive offers from other clans, provided you’re taking your time, being patient, and putting down roots in places that allow different buildings to benefit and increase satisfaction in them so levels rise.
Once you do start rising in the ranks, your view and influence of course changes. Battle directions are altered. You have a larger worldview. You can even hop back into your previous domain to continue developing it, so its resources can trickle into your castle and larger area. But, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension is always offering you brief tips to help you out. There are always yellow exclamation points, like a small nudge suggesting a specific action. In battles, this means zooming out and seeing a larger view of the field. You dictate multiple units’ actions and form ties with other castles. Again, your first siege or fight might flop, but it’s all about perseverance and patience here.
But, the best part about the adjustable difficulty and training ground Thirty Ambitions provides is that you don’t have to worry if you do find yourself needing to do some in-game editing to help you on your way. If you choose to tweak things as you go, you lock yourself out of trophies and historical events. But, this scenario has no events to miss! And, if you’re already going with a custom difficulty, it isn’t like you’re really training yourself up yet! You’re just giving yourself the space to try actually becoming a daimyo. It’s a means of tinkering around and easing yourself into the experience.
A game like Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension takes a lot of work. You’ll need to take quite a bit of time learning how to play and succeed. The good news is, the scenarios have this flexibility to them. You have the opportunity to set things up the way you’d like. You can take your time wading into everything, practicing, and learning. Which you need. Going from a retainer to a daimyo isn’t easy. But, the game goes out of its way to offer options that are more accommodating, which I’m sure people will appreciate.
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension is available for the PlayStation 4 and PC.