|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Koei||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Koei||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 28, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
This is not your average PS2 game. Nobungas Ambition: Iron Triangle is definitely in the neighborhood of Geeksville. But, thats not an insult, because we all know that its geeks that rule the world. While the average gamer is upgrading his virtual Nissan or acquiring more rounds for his plasma cannon, the geeks are involved in securing trade routes, constructing bases, amassing armies, and conquering new territory as they expand their empire. It may be that everybody wants to rule the world, but only serious geeks are capable.
Nobungas Ambition: Iron Triangle is a turn-based strategy game that is just as at home here on the PS2 as it would be on the PC. The Nobunga series has been around for a while, and while its primarily console-based, it shares many similarities with its PC relatives. One of those traits is depth. There is no shallow end in this pool of activity. You are going to be one busy control freak. But, dont let me scare you away if this is your first introduction to the series or the genre as a whole. Its not difficult, its just that there is a lot to keep track of, but in time that will be second nature. The first few hours can be your learning phase, as the tutorials will guide you through the fog. You can play around with your newfound knowledge before you commit to a series match, so that you can be confident that you understand whats going on. The tutorials dont cover everything. Experienced strategy fans can skip the tutorials and get right down to business.
Lets dissect the title since it might seem a tad confounding. The game is set in feudal Japan, which is a time when the country is divided into several territories; not all of them peaceful factions. Nobunga is a very powerful and influential daimyo. His ambition is to unite all of the kingdoms into one major force. He dreams of a new country, created by the unification of the divided nations, a prosperous country where the inhabitants can live in peace and harmony. But, this is no easy task. To attain his dream, a triangle of elements must be mastered. These elements include technology, diplomacy, and a strong military.
The Iron Triangle is rife with micromanagement. There is an abundance of stats to wade through, and even though there are some real-time gameplay elements to break things up, youre going to feel more like a chartered accountant than a legendary samurai warrior. All elements of the triangle will have to be addressed at certain points in the game. You cant favor any one particular category, although you dont necessarily have to have them balanced. Every match has the potential to be different depending on the selections that you make as well as the choices of your opponents.
You cant do anything without resources. Every building you construct, every war that you wage, every faction that you deal with, and every advance in weaponry or science is going to cost you something. Money isnt everything. Youre going to need manpower to construct buildings. Youll need food and shelter to keep them healthy. Trained units will be required to produce a formidable army but youre also going to need great commanders to lead them into battle. Youre also going to need new and more powerful weapons. All of this is going to cost you, and you cant just throw gold at every problem, since you probably wont have a lot of it at the outset. Youll have to make do with what youve got and spread it around, which is the hallmark of a good strategy game. Fortunately, you can barter and trade with some of the other factions to acquire things with other forms of currency.