Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 74 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 74
  2. Negative: 0 out of 74
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    100
    The Banner Saga is blindingly lovely and arguably just as intriguing to play. Built atop a world that all but demands the attention of travel documentaries, it's epic in the literal sense of the word.
  2. Jan 30, 2014
    95
    An experience I advise no one to miss.
  3. Feb 14, 2014
    90
    Regardless of whether future installments stand or fall, The Banner Saga has done its duty. It may not always give gamers what they want, but it gives them what they need: challenging questions, tactical gameplay, and a strong, fully realized atmosphere.
  4. Jan 31, 2014
    90
    A great start for the next entries. The combat system is extremely polished and the game has great characters and a detailed world that we want to explore even more.
  5. The Banner Saga is an example of a successfully Kickstarted video game that gives its backers everything they wanted, including a story that’s rich in character and detail.
  6. Jan 30, 2014
    90
    For all the compromises you're forced to make within it, the game itself never compromises on the quality of its writing, art, and tactical combat.
  7. Jan 22, 2014
    90
    The Banner Saga is one of the most original games you’ll play this year. That such a small team has managed to create a story that will be unique to every player is astonishing, and that the story actually makes you care even more so.
  8. Jan 15, 2014
    90
    Last year, Expeditions: Conquistador and Shadowrun Returns proved that Kickstarter can help create a good RPG. But The Banner Saga is not just good – it’s amazing.
  9. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    A beautiful and unforgettable experience, very well written, with a challenging combat system, and where every action has its consequences. A game that RPG fans shouldn't miss.
  10. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    The cast is plausible and the art is nothing short of exceptional, and everything is molded in a coherent, fascinating experience. A great result from Stoic that puts some brilliant out-of-the-box thinking and sheer creativity to good use.
  11. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    The Banner Saga is one of the most engrossing games I've played in a long time. It drives you forward and is incredibly hard to put down. It's the kind of game that throws you a really unpleasant curveball when you least expect it, and I love it.
  12. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    With a refreshingly unique aesthetic, well-written story, and challenging gameplay, The Banner Saga is an excellent adventure well worth your time.
  13. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    If you’re getting tired of swords and sorcery, or just looking for meaty tactical battles, few RPGs will satisfy you better.
  14. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    Filled with strategic gameplay and impactful decisions, The Banner Saga is a gorgeously epic Norse-inspired adventure whose only real fault is that there isn’t more of it.
  15. Jan 14, 2014
    89
    The Banner Saga delivers an engaging story, narrated with great visual and music artistry. The combat system developed by Stoic Studio is also enjoyable.
  16. Jan 14, 2014
    89
    The Banner Saga’s mature and gripping story, sublime visuals and soundtrack, and engaging gameplay make for a game that’s worth raising the banner for.
  17. Jan 20, 2014
    88
    The intangible thing that ties everything together is the mood of the game — grim and somber in a way that fits the setting perfectly. Whether it’s the hard-bitten characters, the swirling snow, or the haunting score by Journey composer Austin Wintory, The Banner Saga is a game about an apocalypse that actually feels like there’s something being lost, not one that feels like a chance for an unkillable hero to simply kick more ass.
  18. Jan 14, 2014
    88
    Distinctive writing, nuanced combat and impossibly beautiful art headline The Banner Saga. Strong workmanship went into the character builds. The rethought turn-based tactics are unique and sensible. And I just couldn’t slow down the insistent narrative of this brave world and the bold new legend it’s sewing together.
  19. Jan 22, 2014
    87
    A great tactical RPG coming from a forgotten era of videogaming, with a brilliant art style and a melancholic story.
  20. Jan 14, 2014
    87
    If you have any imagination at all, The Banner Saga’s terrific writing will take you on a splendid tour in one of the most interesting worlds computer game developers have created since the original Mass Effect. It’s a love letter to fantasy books and features an epic story with fascinating characters, that will sweep you away and not let you go until its end, which sadly comes all too soon.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 550 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 131
  2. Negative: 25 out of 131
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    10
    The Banner Saga is such an incredible tactic game. It´s by far the best game i have backed on Kickstarter. It a must have if you like tacticThe Banner Saga is such an incredible tactic game. It´s by far the best game i have backed on Kickstarter. It a must have if you like tactic combat game. And it´s a real choose - consequence game (not like TWD) Full Review »
  2. Jan 17, 2014
    6
    After I played this game through, I have mixed feelings.
    - The story is good, your choices do have some impact (not heavy tho) , but most of
    After I played this game through, I have mixed feelings.
    - The story is good, your choices do have some impact (not heavy tho) , but most of it is told through walls of text, with some animation here and there.
    - Tactical combat is great at the beginning, every unit has one special move which impact the battle, but as he game goes on there are clear choices which characters to take and which not, so towards the end you will take same ones over and over again. Also it gets repetitive towards the end.
    - There are not many bugs, but the ones I had are annoying. For example, I lost all my men due to hunger at one point but the game still goes on, random events about problems of the people in caravan still emerging (even if there are none left). I also think that you can play whole game on easy, and then switch to hard on last battle, and you'll get achievement for finishing it on hard (steam).
    - I played this game on normal. For me, the game quickly turned to hunger game (you're marching without stop 'cause you don't have enough food, and every renown you get, you use on buying more food). Battles tend to be easy with little practice, but if you played whole game on normal last battle is almost impossible. Hence, I got achievement for finishing it on easy, even if I played only last battle that way
    - The game map is useless, except if you're into reading more walls of text to figure out the whole "setting" of this game (I think that is "RPG" element)
    - It is clear that this is meant to be just first part of series, 'cause game ends pretty much in the middle of things. Its like you sit and watch just first part of the lord of the rings.

    All in all, since this is advertised as indie game and it's from kickstarter, it is very good. Bearing that in mind, price of 23 euros is just too high, that's why my score is that low. Add +2 to score if you don't care about money and waiting for (possible) next chapter in this saga. 10-15 euro price tag would be more appropriate for this game.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 16, 2014
    2
    Well, now we finally have the Banner Saga RPG, and I have to ask: What were they doing in the year between this release and the free combatWell, now we finally have the Banner Saga RPG, and I have to ask: What were they doing in the year between this release and the free combat multiplayer? Because it doesn't look like they were doing much at all, honestly, the game looks like it was abandoned at about the 70% completed mark, so sparse is the gameplay, dialogue, plotting and yes, even the vaunted artwork.

    I've heard how there are "10 hours" of play time in this $20 title, as if that's even defensible in an RPG, but I have to say that that isn't the case, the playtime is extended artificially by a series of unskippable cutscenes, travel scenes and battle scenes that add nothing to the game except to drastically slow the pacing in order to pad out what little was delivered at release.

    Serious issues:

    -Poor story, minimal player choice, remarkable little "dialogue" given that text is the cheapest content a game designer can offer, and this designer offers little except for text. I figure there's under 10 pages of normally-spaced text in this game, and I doubt you'll see more than 6-7 pages of it in a given playthrough.

    -Beautiful artwork that quickly becomes copypasta after the first couple chapters. The game is "oregon trail" style, just a long slog down a dangerous road, and once you pass the 3rd or fourth copypasta'd landmark (godstones) or village you realize that the art talent was as poorly directed as the rest of the game.

    -There's an entire interactive map screen that promises a sandbox-style play at some point (or at least a few hubs to choose from), but DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING throughout the entire game, you are on rails down a text-driven road with the same 3-4 choices every few days. This is the most glaring example of an unfinished game element that I've ever seen in a full release. It's like having a character tab for "inventory" and then clicking on that tab doing nothing, because the function was never implemented.

    -The tactical level of the game on "Normal" is definitely challenging, however once you learn how to manage the three types of opponents (dredge, human, varl) in the first couple chapters, you will never really think that hard about combat again, because ultimately it is quite shallow, and 80% of your opponents will be Dredge anyway, with the occasional boss fight,

    -The script, such as it is, is dark and despressing, with every choice essentially a bad one. But the whole trudging from one place to the next, "chased" by enemy isnt really that dramatic, like Battlestar Galactica, but much more like Oregon Trail: A slow, tedious slog with your people starving and complaining the whole way, only at least in oregon trail you had some actual resource management role to play, in Banner Saga, you can't hunt for food and most of your opportunities to get more will come from dialogue choices that give no hint of the results, so you have to memorize ideal decision trees and then reload the game to accomplish your tasks. Horrible design.

    2/10, 1 for art and 1 for initial tactical combat difficulty. Many minuses for giving up on what could have been a solid adventure with some gritty decisions but just wound up being a muddled mess.
    Full Review »