Nobunaga is a long-running franchise by Koei Tecmo that has spanned across many generations. It has received a plethora of releases so far but despite this, the latest spin-off, Nobunaga’s Ambition Taishi, falls short of its goal of being a competent entry in the series. It is still complicated despite offering tutorials to bring in newcomers and it never manages to hit a middle point where it should satisfy the desire of the hardcore fans who love it as an in-depth strategy game, neither it is a great starting point for the beginners who use Taishi as the introduction for the series.
Just from the opening movie, you can see how the developers want to present it as an epic action adventure which gives false impressions of how the real game plays out. It is mainly a game where you roleplay as popular political figures from the era of Sengoku Japan. It is hard to feel excited about it unless you have a good grasp of the history of Japan and have read about most of the famous events surrounding it. The game basically lets you play these historical moments in a set of turn-based strategic scenarios such as the Kawagoe Night Raid, the Battle of Itsukushima, and the Battle of Takagi River.
To give some credit to the game, it has several complex underlying mechanics that make up the elements of ruling across a kingdom. Simulating this world with a set of rules and regulations mostly hits the mark but it is the execution that fails to hit the highs delivered by its predecessor. If you are new to the series, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at the start due to the breadth of the options that the game presents to the player. It will take several tutorials and a little trial and error to understand how to effectively handle a given situation without fail. Once you are able to figure out the system and how to exploit it, the game begins to show its flaws and it doesn’t take it long to fall apart.
As I have said earlier, you will be playing simulations of scenarios set in the past and the developers have tried to make it as authentic as possible, which is great, but it is also something that can make the game a slog to sit through. To progress in the story mode, you will have to claim the land ruled by rival clans and the game gives the player many options to approach each encounter, either letting diplomacy prevail, or win through violence. The first and the most diplomatic way is to slowly expand ground with commerce and trade zones. Increase the might of your military by recruiting new army people and keeping the current ones well-trained, and start increasing diplomatic relations with the rival clans.
The game plays out in a turn-based system where you start by making a set of key strategic decisions that will then play out once you end your turn. Each turn will result in a time jump as the decisions that you make are executed and the progress is resumed, which you will be seeing it all in real-time to see how the outcome affects others. This is represented on the world map with each key territory and highlighting the land under control. It is essential to start with a strategy that first makes you ready for the coming months and this means you will be setting up means of earning gold, food and other essential resources before trying to expand your influence and reach to the rival clans.
There is no lack of playable characters in the game with a large number of officers that are all based on historical characters. They all have their own personality and traits that help distinguish them from others. Their main goal for the story is presented as a ‘Resolve’ for them that can range from a wish to gain peace or expand their territory. It is a unique mechanic that helps makes the game a little more interesting but it still can’t hide the lack of depth and the shallow strategy elements offered by the game. The writing in the game is not at fault but the lack of exciting scenarios makes it hard to keep the player’s attention for a long period.
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Nobunaga's Ambition: Taishi" is the 15th and latest in the historical simulation game series Nobunaga's Ambition. Where a warrior's resolve exceeds their ambition. We offer the grandest warring states experience to all the fans out there!
As a turn-based strategy game that should have offered more depth with the amount of time that you spend on it, Nobunaga's Ambition: Taishi is disappointingly shallow and fails to carry on the long legacy for a series that is known for its incredibly complex and deep strategical implementation of ancient Japan.