Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening aims to be the definitive title in the long-running strategy series, offering a breadth of intriguing content and features. In an official preview build, I was able to experience what the franchise’s 40th anniversary title brings to the table. At first glance, the sheer amount of game mechanics and systems appear to be overwhelming, but Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening provides an encouraging hands-on approach that allows the player to learn the intricacies of the new title. All of the gameplay systems are accompanied by several intriguing campaigns that retell the history of Japan’s most tumultuous period.
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening focuses on the Sengoku period and more specifically, the events within the latter half of the 16th century. As the game’s title suggests, players will dive into many of the events that leading up to and facilitate Nobunaga Oda’s rise to prominence as the ultimate unifier of Japan. However, the strategy game provides interesting twists and turns from the perspectives of several daimyo, Oda included. The latest Nobunaga’s Ambition title allows players to change the course of history as they see fit while experiencing events that have been documented and studied for hundreds of years.
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening – Preparing for War
After viewing the opening cinematic starring Nobunaga Oda, players may begin their conquest by selecting New Game and picking a scenario. Each scenario focuses on the history of a daimyo and their clan as they attempt to unify Japan and achieve their goals. Three scenarios are designated as being the best place to start with an in-depth tutorial, including the Battle of Okehazama scenario. Additionally, several options are available for a scenario such as historical accuracy settings, the ability to have maiden officers, and overall difficulty. For those new to the Nobunaga’s Ambition franchise, starting the Battle of Okehazama on Easy difficulty is a really great way of learning how to lead the clan and its seemingly never-ending supply of tasks.
Shingen Takeda and the Takeda Clan are the focal point of the Battle of Okehazama scenario, often coming to blows with Kagetora Nagao and the Nagao clan. Before setting out on a conquest, players are caught up to speed on the events of the actual battle where Nobunaga Oda defeated Yoshimoto Imagawa in June 1960. The perspective then shifts to the Takeda campaign and an extensive tutorial. The tutorial introduces most of the major gameplay systems and terminology that the player should be made known about. These systems include managing plots of land, marching troops, enacting policies, and hearing proposals. Although the tutorial phase is quite long, it’s extremely helpful since the player must interact with all of the required elements to complete these tasks.
Promoting Synergy And Ambition
In Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening, a daimyo is required to serve his people’s best interests while asserting authority over high-ranking people. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening still allows the player to make whatever decisions they feel is best for the playthrough, even if it’s against the better judgment of a daimyo’s subordinates. These decisions including forging alliances, marching toward castles, and covert operations to employ. This freedom makes the game very unpredictable despite being able to load a previous save. The key to success in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening involves smart tactics, clever resource and time management, and taking advantage of good opportunities. The ever-evolving seasonal changes, ongoing power struggle between clans, and consequences of the overall story make each in-game month exciting.
After cultivating the land and precuring several resources, various aspects that once seemed overwhelming are much more manageable and fun to engage with. While progressing through Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening and working toward ultimate conquest, the player may view Hearsay Events, which act as cutscenes that for historical events involving other clans. The Hearsay Events are really insightful and add another degree of authenticity and immersion while playing through the game. These cutscenes reveal what drives certain figures in the game like Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi alongside the narrated sequences. Alongside sieges and castle raiding, mandatory historical battles offer even more compelling story sequences that greatly affect the overall game world.
A Promising Conquest
As time progresses in Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening, players have even more options after cultivating their land, earning achievements, and making some breakthroughs. These options include the ability to build miscellaneous facilities and buy unique treasures that may prove useful in negotiations. Additionally, officers become more valuable as they rise up the ranks, allowing them to contribute in surprising ways including the recruitment of enemy staff and the use of unique abilities for combat. Certain goals may be made by a daimyo’s most important advisors, granting a bounty of rewards upon completion. In-game achievements are plentiful and make the pursuit of conquest even more worthwhile due to additional gold and unlocks. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening is wise for offering so much in the form of unlocks and progression.
All of the in-game systems work cohesively and effectively to provide a satisfying and rewarding gameplay loop. Alongside the management systems and real-time combat, the main story and the rich history of the Sengoku period kept me interested for dozens of hours. The ability to change history as the player sees fit and adjust settings is a really great asset that will add more replayability for the scenarios as well. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening is a promising strategy RPG, and the final build should yield an excellent experience for longtime fans and new players.
Here’s another look at Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening, courtesy of Koei Tecmo:
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening launches July 20 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam, and pre-orders are available now.
Disclaimer: Koei Tecmo provided Final Weapon with a preview key of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening for PC (Steam)