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Nobunaga's Ambition

Nobunaga's Ambition

Nobunaga's Ambition

Nobunaga's Ambition is a series of turn-based grand strategy role-playing simulation video games. One of the first games in its genre, it was first released in March 1983 by the Japanese video game developer Koei.

Games in the franchise have been released on a variety of gaming platforms, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Mega Drive, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PlayStation 2, Virtual Console, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Wii. The title was also released for Macintosh as well as Amiga and computers with DOS-compatibility.

Nobunaga's Ambition Plot

Nobunaga's Ambition takes place during the Sengoku period of feudal Japan. As the title suggests, the player is tasked with achieving the ultimate goal of warlord Oda Nobunaga: the conquest and unification of Japan. Selecting Oda Nobunaga is optional, however, as the player is also able to choose from a variety of other regional daimyos of the time.

Nobunaga's Ambition Gameplay

The player may choose from four campaign scenarios, including "Battle for the East" (beginning in 1560), "Daimyo Power Struggles" (1560), "Ambition Untamed" (1571), and "Road Towards Unification" (1582). In each scenario, the player must allocate resources to raise a capable military force, provide a productive economy to support both military and civilian expansion, and support the peasants in order to sustain their respect and loyalty. Gameplay is taken in turns, with each turn in the map view corresponding to a season, and each turn during battle corresponding to a day. The player may achieve victory through numerous means, among which are forcing the enemy to retreat, destroying the enemy command unit, outlasting an invading force, or prolonging battle until the opposing force has exhausted its supplies.

The player can make many choices during the campaign, such as, according to Evan Brooks of Computer Gaming World: "One may transfer soldiers between fiefs, go to war, increase taxes (which causes a decrease in peasant loyalty which may lead to rebellion), transfer rice or gold to another fief, raise the level of flood control (which decreases productivity), make a non-aggression pact or arrange a marriage, cultivate (which increases productivity, but decreases peasant loyalty), use a merchant (to buy/sell rice, borrow funds, or purchase weapons), recruit for the military (soldiers or ninja), train the army (which increases fighting efficiency), spy on a rival, expand a town (which increases taxes collected, but decreases peasant loyalty), give food/rice to peasants/soldiers (to raise morale), steal peasants from rival daimyos, allocate military strength, recuperate (even a daimyo can get sick), turn over a controlled fief to the computer for administration, or pass a turn (hint: when one has no idea of what to do, train the troops.)"

The Nobunaga's Ambition series has garnered several awards over the years. According to Koei's website, various releases in the series have won Log-In magazine's "BHS Prize", the "Minister of Post & Telecommunications Prize", Nikkei BP's 12th, 13th, and 14th annual "Best PC Software" awards, and CD-ROM Fan's "Fan of the Year 2001 Grand Prize".

In North America, where it was released five years after its Japanese release, critical reception was also positive. The game was positively reviewed by Computer Gaming World, where reviewer Evan Brooks gave it four stars out of five. He introduced the game as "a detailed economic / diplomatic / political / military simulation of the unification of Japan in the Sixteenth Century." He praised the graphics for being "among the best that this reviewer has ever seen for the IBM" and the 5x10 hex map battles, and noted that it used role-playing game elements, including assigning various statistics to a selected persona, a time system where each turn represents a year, as the daimyo ages and eventually dies of old age, and a multiplayer option. He stated that he "thoroughly enjoyed Nobunaga's Ambition", concluded with a "Highly Recommended" rating, Compute! similarly praised the IBM PC version, calling it "one of the best strategic war games ever designed for a personal computer" and citing the game play, user interface, and documentation.

Fan reception has also been positive, with GameSpot's users rating the original Nobunaga's Ambition an overall score of 8.8 of 10.

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