Jan 17, 2014After 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.… Expand
Jan 16, 2014Well, 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.
-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.… Expand
Jan 16, 2014I originally wrote a 6-star review. The game was slow to start with. But digging into the text-adventure and choice-making part, I really got enthralled. Similar to stories as Game of Thrones, the game doesn't compel with action nor fireworks. It's in the on-going story, the characters, the hardships they face, and in choices to play around with, shaping your path. Once I finish the game, I might give it 10 stars. The game's like a better viking version of FTL.
Here's my original review, if only to show how one can expect a change of mind about the game:
"Well, though I was one to back the game through kickstarter, enjoyed the multiplayer component back when it was released and was overall enthusiastic about the game, now there's just a feeling of somewhat disappointment.
The dialogue drags on and isn't written as cleverly or masterfully as one would expect, and it's the only thing you'll see for a few hours even. Aside the tutorial battles which are meaningless. Voice-acting is void and cringe-worthy, the expressions don't have variety and are sometimes pretty much derpy-looking, even though the art *is* pretty good.
The art and the turn-based deep gameplay are probably the highlights, followed by the story. Yet facades of choice options and tediously on-dragging meddling in names and indifference-inducing history don't really meet expectations. If you're ok with Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2 style dialogue, yet even more simplistic in that mostly the NPC answers the same way, only without animations nor anything going on otherwise, then you could be fine with it.
There's this caravan-thing in the game, which seemed intriguing at first, yet my first dragging-on experiments of only resting and starving out my camp proved otherwise. With my whole crew dead and us stayed on a spot for over a year in time, the next cut-scene I got was that of an old man being astounded of how many men I had with me. Talk about immersion-breaking. Aside this, the morale was highest still, even though everyone's supposed to be dead. To be short about it - the mechanic seems contrived and doesn't have the possibility of defeat. Even if it'd be possible to play countless of hours in the game without getting food, the game doesn't do anything of significance once you're all dead. It just keeps playing.
For me personally, and as far as I've played, I'm bored. Maybe on the 7th hour the game will catch up. Yet I don't want to waste even more time on made-up yet messy and boring history with out-of-place hints to myths in pages of text to pan through, doing similar tutorials over and over for more than an hour. Loading screen after loading screen, the game's just waiting to unload void text on me.
Will give the game more shots though. I hope it'll catch up and release some content and patches to make the world feel more aliveish. Would love it if they'd hire a writer who has style to his writing.
Overall, I'd say the game seems as good as was Shadowrun Returns, the original campaign. A 6/10 personally, and given it's an indie, a 7."… Expand
Jan 14, 2014The Banner Saga is definitely in the top tier of games that have been Kickstarted. It has a very deep, involved plot from multiple perspectives and is filled with surprising revelations and heart-wrenching endings.
The graphics are a refreshing departure from the norm. The conversation scenes are reminiscent of Fire Emblem's static conversation scenes, while the travel and cut scenes are truly beautiful. The animations during battle are enjoyable to watch, as your character pulls off such a powerful hit and damages nearby enemies as well, or when your archer nails an enemy from across the map after their careful aiming.
The music in this game is just beyond words. Austin Wintory does an exceptional job on the soundtrack. The audio cues seem to hit at just the right moment to strike a chord of fear into you, or even to set the mood for celebration or sorrow. It's not often that the audio of a game ends up being my favorite part, but The Banner Saga really delivered.
The story is very involved and changes based on the decisions you make as you go along. This means that I'll be completing several more playthroughs before I'm done with the game. The choices can really reward you, or even end up in a death if you're not careful. I haven't gotten more involved in the well-being of a game's characters in quite some time, though in this game I find myself desperately trying to make the best choices so they can be happy, or even survive!
The combat, though it lacks variation, reminds me a bit of chess. It would benefit greatly from anything that could introduce deviation from the repetitive battles (though some specific battles can be exciting and different). My favorite point of the difficulties though, is that if you choose to play on Easy mode, you can play through the entire story without having to worry about battles, as some can be even skipped! If you choose to play on Hard mode, it is ACTUALLY a challenge. This is a nice change from "hard" modes on games lately not actually challenging their users.
This game is worth the full price, and more. I look forward to any sequels that come out from Stoic.… Expand
Jan 15, 2014This a game that you will love or feel uneven about. There is no middle ground. At first i hated it. I did not like the lack of animation through the dialogue parts but after about 30 minutes of actually playing the game i don't know. It grew on me. I started to care about characters, about the fact supplies will not last, about the fight for survival. This a game obviously done on a budget but if you let that slide(and in today's AAA gaming market we let a lot slide for bigger games) you will find an actual game with actual choices, engaging combat. To me that is meaningful. It could use more polish, and better voice acting but for the little money they had you can't blame them.… Expand
Jan 16, 2014This review is in what state the current game is right now. The Banner Saga is beautiful tactical rpg with great elements from Oregon Trail and a refreshing mature story that knows mature isn't in the amount of sex or gore, but the content of the story. The characters are most of the time very engrossing and wonderfully flawed. And most importantly this game offers a wide arrange of very hard choices with very dire consequences.
However this game is held back by the story being a very clear part 1 of a trilogy, but Stoic Studios has repeatedly said that part 2 is not even sure to be made, as it is heavily dependent on the upcoming sales. Secondly this game has great replayability potential, but as of yet you are only allowed to have one playthrough saved at the time. So if you wish to keep your first playthrough for the possible sequel, then you won't be able to replay the game. This design choice is absolutely insane.
However when all has been said; The Banner Saga is easily worth the 20€ or your regional equivalent and offers an engrossing and rare experience. When and if the sequel is announced and the save file issue has been solved, this game may be on the top 10 of games I have played, and I dearly hope Stoic gets the success they deserve.… Expand
Jan 15, 2014Great tactical game.
4 stars because:
* cannot skip cut scenes
* cannot skip minute long walking animations - do the devs really think we want to watch them over and over and over and over again?
* no controller support
* half baked keyboard support
* fewer game and video options than on a console
Jan 17, 2014I backed this game on Kickstarter very early on, basically after having read the words "turn based strategy" and "vikings" and had very high hopes for the project.
During the first hour of play I was thouroughly impressed with the artwork, the graphical style, the music and the combat system. It runs well, I encountered no major bugs, and the story starts very intense and engrossing.
Now, after nearing the end of my first (and, most likely, only) playthrough I can sum up my personal experience with a single sentence: I learned to *thoroughly* hate this game.
I'm terribly sorry, I desperately wanted to like this, but with every tedious, frustrating and boring hour of gameplay I had to concede, that just about *every* design choice made by Stoic seems to go diametrically against my personal preferences.
Trying to cast an objective vote, i give it a 5, because there are undoubtedly many things good about the game, but the essence of what it's about - having fun, being motivated and enjoying the time spent playing - simply doesn't happen.
TBS is the very definition of a railroaded game. More than that, it actually *feels* like more than half of the time I'm actually watching pointless, endlessly repeating nice backgrounds scrolling past, while nothing happens. Events are scarce, and when they happen, they kill my motivation and the RPG aspect. Because, frankly, I'm NOT making decisions. I'm playing a random guessing game, in most cases with absolutely *no* clue on what the consequences of the 4 "choose your answer" alternatives *might* even be. I hate playing a game where I don't even know the rules, and I hate winning every battle and then losing my heroes to random dialogue events.
The world map is like a bad joke on my expense, as it serves absolutely *no* function in the game but as a "choose your flavour text" library. It feels like there's an entire aspect of the game simply never implemented here...
Same goes for character development and resource management. Both are oversimplified, shallow and simply feel completely unfinished. Each character has one single item slot, and the items available are nothing special. Abilities are pretty much predetermined, and dividing 10 points you *might* receive during 5 ranks isn't that big a deal.
There is one single resource for everything (renown) and one single sure way to acquire it (by killing enemies in combat). Sometimes you might draw a lucky card during the random dialogue guessing game and acquire some extra, but that's it. As the resource is used to buy supplies, items *and* for leveling up your heroes, it comes down to either have your caravan starve or run around with level 1 heroes, despite them having earned several promotions on the battlefield. That kills motivation on such an epic scale, and can't even begin to describe it.
There are no side quest, no method to forage for food, trade, to gain extra renown or anything - remember, you are on one long, single track railway and never look left or right. You will *never* feel in control of *anything* in this game. For me, however, that is what gaming should be about.
Even the combat system, one of the best parts otherwise, has several unnerving flaws that started bothering me in the long run:
- You are forced to choose your team *and* the sequence in which they act *before* you know anything about the enemies you will face. Why is there even a deployment phase at the begin of combat if all you do there is arrange the predetermined team on the board? That placement will be void after one round of movement, a wrong party mix or suboptimal sequence will stay, however.
- the way the two sides take turns is beyond silly. If you face a single, strong opponent, that one will act 6 times for every ONCE your heroes do something, as it's always the *sides* that take turns.
- one stat for hitpoints AND combat effectiveness basically means, that the battles are decided in the first round. The side that starts taking hits is the side that will lose. Always. Without a way to regain strength, a single hit can de facto disable a hero.
So, again, sorry Stoic for being so negative, but this game is so totally NOT my piece of cake. Terrific art, great lore, good music and a stable game do NOT equal fun, I'm afraid. Lots of bad design choices for me equal de-motivation, tedium, boredom and frustration. Others might love this game, I can't, I'm afraid.… Expand
Jan 18, 2014I really wanted to like this game, and there are parts of it that I don't hate, but holy hell is it a long, long way from perfect. While I enjoy the combat itself, ALL the crap in between seems so poorly thought out, that I can't believe it's not a beta release that I'm playing. I feel like I could list all the things that piss me off, and I'm tempted to do so, but I'll just highlight one contradiction which sticks out as a prime example of how annoying the game is: You, as the player, can't control when the game saves. By itself, this might not be a big problem, if the game actually had some replayability, but if they actually built the game for that, would they have so many unskippable cutscenes, pointless dialog, trudging, etc.... Gah. I feel silly putting more effort into this review. Maybe I'm torn because their Kickstarter campaign raised my expectations so far, and I actually expected the gameplay to not suck.
Anyway, the artwork and music are really quite nice, but the rest is pretty bad.
Here are just a few blatantly obvious things, in particular, which I didn't like after only a few hours of playing...
1) Can't see character stats/abilities from the party selection screen when a new battle starts.
2) Is there no way to rotate the camera in battle?
3) Humans sometimes times get lost behind larger enemies... if the Stat Banners button could cycle through Allies/Enemies/All, that could help minimize this.
4) If you have an arrow on the screen, like in the party screen, map the keyboard arrows to them. Also, let escape return you from markets/heros/wherever to the main screen, and only then let it bring up the options menu.
5) In battle, let characters move more than once if they have the action points to do so.
6) Let me choose when to save the game. Didn't game designers learn this lesson years ago?
7) Why am I able to switch to my web browser, read ALL of Wikipedia, then go back to the game only to find that the army is STILL walking across the bridge. And I can't skip it? Sheesh.
I'm hoping some of these issues may be resolved, (in addition to lots of the story/pacing issues others have mentioned). This has potential, but it doesn't feel quite done to me. Hopefully it isn't.… Expand
Jan 14, 2014It starts with the awe inspiring graphics! They grab you from the first second. Then comes the gripping tactical combat. It's the perfect combat system for the player who wants to use his mind! Easy to learn - difficult to master! Lots of different strategies to try out.
And then the story! Dark, gritty, mature and wonderful. Your choices are never easy and they always carry consequences!
This game, more than anyone before it, proves that there's a bright future on kickstarter. Here's a game that no big publisher would touch. 2D graphics and grid turn-based combat. Still there were people who supported the project and it got done. And I'm sure it lived up to their expectations.
This is not a perfect game, by the way. There's repetitiveness in the battles and the battle maps could use some variety. Also, more choices in equipping and leveling up your troops would help! As well as more chances to actually do it.
I'm sure STOIC will take these quibbles into consideration for their next episode!… Expand
Jan 15, 2014One word: stunning. Heavily influenced by Eyvind Earle, Ralph Bakshi and Don Bluth, the game's hand-drawn esthetic is something very rare, and it's carried beautifully. through the game. Everything is a joy to look at, and while there is little animation and primarily static scenes, nobody who appreciates art would argue that the game isn't vivid and alive.
The story is wonderfully subtle, with lots of lore to muse over, but primarily serving as a vehicle for the core of the game: the turn-based tactics combat. While there are plenty of great elements to the arc, some of the dialogue falls flat, or feels shoehorned into the greater story. As an avid reader, though, at no point was I bored, or felt the need to rush through dialogue. It's all wonderfully scripted, if not a little muted, and the rich lore adds a lot to the character of the settings.
The game isn't for everyone though. I would recommend a more adult audience. If you're looking for an open world with lots of action and little story, this is not the game for you. It's a linear story, with static art, and a very humble tone. It's beautiful and engaging, but today's kids will probably nod off.
The tactics combat can be very involved, with lots of passive and active skills and rules to muse over while taking your time in combat. This isn't a rushy game what-so-ever. Pour yourself a drink, read it all and take everything in.
I'd recommend the game to anyone, with the preface that it's an artistic story, not a free-roam explosion fest. If you're not much of a reader, or easily bored, maybe go check out a different genre.… Expand
Jan 16, 2014Long story short: Amazing story (it truly is amazing), fantastic script and characters Beautiful art design Immersive and impressive soundtrack Challenging and exciting tactical turn-based combat Real choices and real consequences (not some Mass Effect-like crap) Yes...you can't roam freely in the icy wastes and "roll" through mountains but this game had only about 720k dollars budget... Of course I hope there will be a lot of plus features (character customization, more freedom, longer story, more spells) in the sequel.
I give this game a 10 because it hit me right in tha face with it's "overpowered" story characters, and the good combat system.… Expand
Jan 18, 2014Well. I'll try to make it short.
The game has a breathtaking visual art style, bravo for that. The music is decent, BUT totally unmemorable. The game lacks voice acting. Voiceovered characters would be more memorable, I believe. The combat is unusual, but that str/arm thing is pretty interesting, but the final battle can be very frustrating if you do not have characters with proper abilities/items, that's a letdown. The other good part is the atmosphere of inevitable war and suffering, it felt really convincing. About the C&C - it's impossible to predict the outcome of your dialogue choice and it can end losing a character or something else this bad, I agree that this was not done in a proper way, it feels too random. Overall, the game is catchy, the ending is a big cliffhanger and Stoic makes it to earn money to make Episode 2 and considers all the feedback about game's minuses.… Expand
Jan 16, 2014I enjoyed the game quite a bit. To start off one playthough takes about 10 hours.
Since the game is fairly different than most games on the whole, I figured it'd be easier to point out the similarities it may have with some established games. The game's a little bit like:
Fire Emblem - grid based combat, but individual unit turn-based with a strength as hp mechanic and armor -- you can try out The Banner Saga: Factions, the corresponding free multiplayer game to try the combat,
Oregon Trail - you travel along a fairly linear path making decisions as you go with a caravan nonetheless,
Dragon Age - unlike Fire Emblem series where if you lose a character in combat, you lose him/her in the campaign, in TBS you can only lose characters through decisions you make out of combat -- falling in combat will only injure a unit for the next fight, unless you rest at camp or have enough time pass to heal the injuries,
King of Dragon Pass - the decision system is similar and you will be given chances to wage war, however you only control the army by choosing one command, such as Charge, Formation, Defend, etc. which then prompts a regular combat scenario,
The campaign affects combat in several main ways. Probably most importantly, it affects who you will be able to play as in combat and which encounters will be combat encounters or bypassed through resolution or avoidance. You can add new characters to your party or even accidentally, or purposefully, kill off members of your team.
Next, your caravan morale affects how much willpower your team has starting the match. Willpower allows characters to use their special abilities, deal extra armor break or damage, and to move further in a single turn. If your caravan morale is low, your team will start fights with less than normal willpower, but if they start with high morale, they will receive bonus morale.
Lastly, from making some decisions, you can gain renown (the currency used to level up units and to buy equipment and supplies -- supplies are used to feed your whole caravan and maintain morale).
If you are not familiar with The Banner Saga's combat, I could see it being a fairly difficult game, as common strategic thought is to kill off units rather than leave them maimed and on the board. With TBS's turn-based system, one character takes a turn then control passes to the opponent to move one character. The order of character movement is established before combat and can be changed only by a few special characters once in combat. Although it might seem odd at first, this system requires much more strategy than just going from one side of the board to the other wiping out all enemy units. Each time you kill off an enemy unit, you are giving the opponent an advantage, slight or large dependent on the difference between both sides' total units.
Personally, I now prefer TBS's combat system over other turn-based strategy games.
As you'll see stated in most any other review, TBS is a gorgeous game. The combat is equally good and quite strategic.
The vast and detailed world map shows the scope of the game's world in the classic Tolkien fashion.
The characters and decisions are very impactful. You can lose or gain key characters (and their equipment) based on your decisions. Some decisions will have immediate results, while others may show up long after you've made them.
The biggest issue I had with the game is that it felt lopsided on the decision system. If you made a series of a few bad decisions, you wound up always struggling to get supplies, and on the flipside, if you make a series of good decisions, you have a fairly easy time. This is because all of the systems seem to compound on eachother. I preferred to be struggling, because it kept the tension of survival prominent.
I enjoyed the overall structure of the story and the many decisions I had to make along the way, however the dialogue sometimes was poorly phrased, such as by using modern colloquial slurs. Some characters would use lore-based expressions, while others frequently sounded like they were from the current era.
This was an odd issue. Some character and city names I did not know how to pronounce, and so I didn't commit many characters and places to memory.
Lastly, you're always moving forward, from point A to point B. Once you leave camp or town you continue back on your journey. Instead of directly choosing your destination, you're sent in the general direction the story tells you to go, able to take detours or backtrack only when an event decision occurs.… Expand
Jan 17, 2014An excellent start to the game. Great setting characters and gameplay. Unfortunately about 2/3 of the way through the weaknesses show.
1) The game needs more varied music and voice acting, during dialogue all is silent and it feels boring
2) Watching the caravan all the time? After 5 hours this feel necessary..
3) The caravan supply/renown currency system is broken. It needs to be rethought or patched. As it currently stands by the last 1/3 of the game you lose all immersion because you have 0 opportunity to buy new supplies and all your supplies get taken in random events, so you watch your people drop like flies. This unfortunately makes the nice visuals when crossing the plains just feel like you're watching a slide show before the next battle.
4) Due to the above the difficulty curve gets vast by the end game - maybe I was playing it wrong but the game should throw much more supplies t you towards the end...… Expand
Jan 23, 2014I loved the first few hours and I tried to love the rest, and I failed. There game gets high reviews because it had big hype/kickstarter campaign and because few first hour are great. The truth is this game has all the goods at the start. I played it through and, well.
At first you are dazzled; the game looks and feels fresh, the world map is fantastic, opening intro is great, drawn art is stunning. With first 5 mins you are told that you'll see the story from many perspectives, and that sun just stopped in the sky. All this promises a vast fantasy saga, deep world and an immersive story.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The stunning world map is useless since you can't go anywhere. The great opening intro is the only, repeat THE ONLY, good animation in the game, everything else is sliding still pictures. You'll swap the main character twice, the short prologue included. And that sun just stopped in the sky has no relevance at all. More of this later.
- False suspension. Your village is sacked and you'll have to run for it, enemy at your heels. But there is no enemy. You can camp for years and rainbows happen.
- False feeling of choice. As you travel you must (un)manage your caravan. It's like Oregon Train except without ANY interference. You can't ration food, you can't change pace, you can't hunt for food, you can't do anything. You have random events where you'll have to make decision. Bad decisions lose lives/resources, you understand. But it's all a joke because the caravan doesn't matter at all. Starve them all to death and the game just becomes easier. The heroes can't starve so nothing lost.
- You remember that the sun stopped? That's the game's cheap excuse for not having day/night change. You can rest but it's not obligatory. Just march 120 days without sleep, and nothing serious happens.
-Characters are uninteresting an uninspired. This is not fallout 1 or 2, or even Dragon Age. Seriously, Final Fantasy Tactics had hundred times more character building and dialogue. You can maybe speak four sentences to each hero, and this is without voice acting. There is a ghost of character building; some dude has a crush on your daughter, your daughter doesn't want to hurt people, that widow kind of starts to warm on you. But none of this goes anywhere. Sometimes the game kills some guys in unavoidable walls of text and then nobody mentions the dead guys ever again. Even the much-vaunted art gets repetitive as every character is only one picture copy pasted infinitely.
-The dialogue is bad, bad like written by an 15 year potato. Every character speaks modern American English with crap, creepy, yeah etc. which doesn't improve the atmosphere much. Yes, this game is 90% text-driven adventure.
The combat isn't bad but it's quirky, hit or miss for most of us. It's all about herding/hamstringing enemies and abusing turn order to your advantage. It might seem difficult at first but once you get the system it's baby cakes. The heroes are pretty simplified as far as character building goes and there are only so many ways to build a good team. Magic items are 1/hero and there are no skill trees to unlock, so there isn't much room for customization. Once you learn those about 5 different enemy types battles grow repetitive.
Also there were small matters which annoyed me:
1. no free saving, just checkpoints
2.No subtitles, no keyboard support, no resolution change, no nothing
3.Can't see heroes stats or swap items in pre-battle roster.
4.Battle camera can't be rotated or zoomed
5.Can't skip cut scenes, walking animations, anything, in an absolutely linear story.
Then there is the story. I'd love to spoil it but there really isn't much to spoil. The story might seem strong at first but soon degenerates to standard fantasy pulp. 120% of the game you just run away from that invisible, nonexistent enemy army to destination which you can't choose, and what happens during the journey doesn't make much sense. So sun has stopped, gods died about a week ago and there is a giant world-eating snake straight from Viking myths. None of these has any relevance to anything, and all are soon forgotten. Then you just reach the final city and oh, it's the final boss. The ending provoked many complains in steam forums btw.
It's not an awful game but it's not that deep fantasy saga some people paint it to be. It's an mediocre tactical game with an below-mediocre story /writing to glue it together. It gives an odd mixed feeling, for clearly some parts of the game were made with love. It seems somebody had great ideas and passions which died about 70% way through, and they couldn't be bothered to finish the job.
Currently it costs 22,99€ in Steam and honestly, that's about 12,99€ too much. It doesn't feel like a complete game because it isn't.… Expand
Jan 18, 2014The Banner Saga is my early frontrunner for game of the year. Though it takes a half hour to really get comfortable in the world, once it does you are hooked.
The game is split between a travelling caravan where decisions are made, and turn based tactical combat. Both systems are excellent, though I must admit I didn't get to flex the combat systems/characters as much as I would have liked.
The caravan sections are also brilliant. While the adventure itself is "linear" in that you will always head to a per-determined city/location, everything along the way is gripping and taxing. Both the phenomenal main story moments, and the day to day caravan management. Its a stressful yet memorable experience.
My only flaw with the game is its resource system. Renown is used to buy items, upgrade characters and buy supplies so you don't starve to death. While it serves its goal of trying to be a "tough decision" resource, it fails because it isn't fun. Those two sides of gameplay should not be linked.
As a final mention, the art style is stunning, and very impressive for such a small team.
Overall, if you open yourself up to Banner Saga, get immersed and let it sink its hooks in, it will be one of the best games you play this year.… Expand
Jan 16, 2014The game is probably not for everybody, as it's a completely different experience than most of the RPGs released in the last few years. And it's not cheap thrills, like letting you slaughter hundreds of goblins just by giving your character high strength, the best weapon and healing him constantly. If you're looking for that, the Banner Saga ist not it.
Instead we have a slow paced game that relies on your fantasy/imagination to truly shine, but helps a lot with stunning graphics, sound-effects and the best game soundtrack I've heard in a while.
If you're able to immerse yourself into the game, you will have a great experience. But it's not just a novel, as there are a ton of choices to be made on your journey. HARD choices. One of the big themes of the game is the hardships of being a leader.
Then we have the combat system. And again, it's different, even unique as far as I'm aware. Every point in a stat matters. People complaining about a lack of customization are just wrong. Giving a D&D character + 2 strength gives him one more damage, which does not make much of a difference, in this system, it makes a medium threat into "I should look out for that one". Really, the stat system is genius.
The Turn order system is unfamiliar, even to TBS fans. But it leads to way more tense battles, as it reduces snowballing by giving the party with fewer characters a kind of advantage. Not so much, that it always turns around, but it's something to look out for. The combat asks for thinking, it's often compared to chess and for good reason.
But to bring this to and end: I could hardly be happier with the game!
So if you think, you probably like the features mentioned, it might also be a great experience for you.
Skâl :)… Expand
Jan 17, 2014If you are wondering what kind of game it is, it is not exactly in its own genre. It has adventure/pick-your-own-adventure elements, with turn-based strategy battles, with some rpg features like party management with upgrading units, abilities, and items. I would say it is like Oregon Trail meets Final Fantasy Tactics. Because half the time you are in oregon trail travel mode, whilst the other half you are playing in turn-based squad combat.
I will begin with the positives of the game. The artstyle and music are perfect. And the word perfect gets tossed around a lot, but I really mean perfect. The artstyle is truly terrific and one of a kind, and there is a grammy-nominated composer for the soundtrack. Combat system and mechanics were refreshing and unique to the genre of turn-based strategy games.
The negatives: for a story game, the story really was weak. It started out pretty strong, with introducing interesting characters, but later seemed to dip in character development and instead focused on 2 stereotypical characters (Rook and Alette). The ending was very disappointing, and without getting specific, it just ends abruptly, without resolving any conflict whatsoever. The entire story you are met with problem after problem, and at the end you feel like you haven't solved any of them at all, leaving the player with more questions than answers. The problem is that this story doesnt stand on its own feet, since it is one part of a planned trilogy. Although it does a good job of introducing the characters, world and the problems they face, it does not do anything past that. The story really does feel incomplete. I am sure the game will stand better alongside its other two parts, but I cannot recommend this to anyone looking for a standalone game, this is a piece of a great pie, but you are not given a vertical slice, but a horizontal one, and tasting only the crust you are left wanting.
After all is said and done, I am sure it is going to be a masterpiece of a trilogy. I would recommend it if you can take this for what it is, one part of a series.… Expand
Jan 17, 2014The game is made up of three parts:
(a) Dialogue & Role-playing -- You assume the roles of fixed characters and guide them through the story in a choose-your-adventure style.
(b) Traveling -- You manage a viking caravan that's almost always in peril, with enemies constantly its heels.
(c) Tactical turn-based combat -- You assemble your heroes (1-6 of them) and fight against various enemies in on a grid-board.
The first thing you've probably noticed about The Banner Saga is the so special graphics visual style. That's fantastic, a straight 10/10. Just look, if you haven't. What you can't actually "experience", unless you actually play the game, is the excellent bonding of the music with the visuals and the atmosphere it creates. That's also unique and powerful, worth another straight 10. One more straight "10" that the game deserves is the combat system. If you've played Factions, the free-to-play offspring release in March 2013, you know what I'm talking about. The combat mechanics are very sharp and allow for great simplicity and remarkable strategy depth, a the same time! It's really this "easy to learn but hard to master" type of game. Finally, the last "10" I'm gonna give to the game is to the very beautiful lore and world they have created. It takes a lot off of the viking/Norse history but blends in many fantasy themes in a very successful way.
OK, enough with the good stuff. Lets see the bad ones. Actually, what hurts most about this game is its own extremely high potential. I mean, it offers so much potential that seeing it come short of that is ofter enough to let you down. For me, the biggest problem about the game is that the final product feels a little rushed, kinda unfinished in the sense of consistency and balancing. There aren't big flaws in the core mechanics of the game, but it could use a lot more polishing. I'm gonna bring up some specific issues so that you understand what I mean:
-- No subtitles : VO is really scarce (not a problem for me), so why ain't there no subtitles?
-- Caravan/Survival balancing issues : Sometimes the game feels too hard for its own sake. I mean, it's supposed to be hard, about survival and all, but at some points it just feels wrong and fall out of perspective.
-- Language & typos : In my opinion, the language used is often too "American" styled, something that hits bad in the viking theme of the world. Also, there's quite some typos and syntax errors. The game's text is enough, but not so much...
-- Inconsistencies and awkward "story delivery" : The game is all about a branching story line, where each choice you make has consequences. That's fine. Problem is that it feels like some story parts don't quite glue together or the pacing of the story changes from Chapter to Chapter sometimes putting you off. That's more noticeable near the end of the game, where the pace dramatically picks up, and you are bombarded by a lot events all at once, that you barely have time to digest. Also, I could argue that the ending sequence is a little wanting in view of the climax that precedes it. Finally, it's quite evident that the game is just the part 1 of the proclaimed trilogy, so it leaves a lot of open questions.
To conclude, I'm giving it a 9 because of the four very strong components (visuals, music, battle system, theme/lore) and because I believe that most of the problems I found can be easily addressed with patches without meaning that the game is "bad" in its release state.… Expand
Jan 15, 2014The Banner Saga (Part 1) is an incredibly pretty game, an enjoyable game, and a game of deceits designed to stimulate self-narrative, immersion, and investment... and in that, it does its job exceptionally well through its visuals, story, and (Austin Wintory) music. Calling itself a game about choices is part of the deceit, as choices don't really have the power to alter the destiny waiting for you. Instead, the choices you make in Banner Saga's story affect you and allow you, by the end of this first leg of the journey, to feel every difficult, terrible step of the long road and why and for whom you made those choices.
My only complaint is that the simplified dialogue options suffer from the same issue Bioware's shortened responses do in that your interpretation of the simplification may vary wildly from the coded-in, intended interpretation. Thankfully this is not always the case.
As for the tactical combat side of things... it's swell. Challenging -- and a huge part of the deceit.
It is a game I am glad to have backed on Kickstarter. I heartily recommend it to all of you.… Expand
Jan 21, 2014Overall Banner Saga is a good solid game that brings a fresh type of gameplay to an otherwise stale market. Like most players I am a bit more gentle in my expectations for a kickstarter/indie game and I carry that bias here. If this were a big studio game I'd likely give it a 5 or 6 rating.
The Good: The way the game uses side scrolling and communicate travel is fun and feels new. The map is a great way to communicate the game lore and it has that old school rpg feeling. The combat is fun and fairly simple and easy to understand. I like many of the characters and the world and story are grittier than the Disney-esque graphics would imply.
The Bad: The story is a bit hard to follow and some of the dialog is confusing. The combat can quickly become repetitive. The stakes of some dialog choices aren't very apparent and more of the outcomes seem canned or forgone than the disclaimer about meaningful choices at the beginning would imply.
Overall I think this is a solid buy and a fun game, you will enjoy it even more if you can keep in mind the indie nature of it.… Expand
Jan 24, 2014This is the best mobile match 3 game I have ever played. They are always releasing new content and I love the way the narrator says "Sweet!" and "Delicious!" as you match candies. I just hope that no one releases a 2D animated turn based tactics game with saga in the title anytime soon, because that would just be really confusing.
Mar 9, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I wanted to like this game. I should have liked this game. But it wasn't much fun.
I like indies. I like vikings. I like turn-based tactical games. I like deep worlds. I like the art style. All the pieces were right, but they didn't come together into an enjoyable game experience.
The story violated most of the basic rules of narrative structure. It jumped back and forth between two groups of characters without any sense of how they were connected. I didn't know which characters I was supposed to identify with or care about. Nobody had a character arc. Nobody was on a hero's journey. One character unavoidably lost an arm, while another died at the end. I didn't care. There's a villain to fight at the end, but we never saw much of him or learned much about him. The plot is full of loose threads and unexplained ****
The devs spent a lot of time on the world map, which was full of elaborate history and descriptions. But the map was slow to load, and it had no impact whatsoever on the gameplay. The game runs on rails. The few times you get an illusion of choice on where to go, the map isn't available to help you decide.
The Oregon-Trail aspect of the game is a trap for the unwary. You must choose between spending limited points on better stats for your fighters and food for your mass of followers. Metacritic reviewers report that feeding your followers has no impact on the game's outcome. You can apparently let your followers starve and finish the game just fine.
This game's main strength is the turn-based tactics system, which is distinctive but not very deep. The combat is not tied to any underlying reality. It's not simulating anything. For example, you can attack someone's health, which reduces their ability to do damage and brings them closer to death. Or you can attack their armor, which means that subsequent attacks can do more damage to their health. I couldn't imagine how a warrior could swing a sword one way to break armor, then a different way to damage health. I got no immersion from the combat system. It was just a logic puzzle to be solved. And the final battle is stupidly difficult on normal. I didn't bother finishing it.
The art is truly beautiful. Kudos to the artist. I didn't mind the many walking scenes that were designed to emphasize the smallness of the characters against the vastness of the wilderness. When the world began to literally fall apart, I felt the loss of beauty. If you don't slow down to enjoy the art, you're missing the best part of the game.… Expand
Jan 15, 2014Fantastic game. Complex combat with large variety of possible tactics, challenging in hard. Art is gorgeous, but don't expect any significant differences from the multiplayer version.
Haven't played enough to criticise the sortyline.
Points that should be polished: markets offer very random items (too random and often above your level so you cannot use them), save without crossing a milestone.… Expand
Jan 24, 2014It's like a modern day Oregon Trail with a fantasy-themed backdrop and a Tactics-based battle system, though it lacked the depth of either. The art and scenes are nice, though the animation and voice work was minimal. The strongest point of the game is the decisions you are presented with, throughout the game, that can affect the story and characters you have, which was really well-done - there are some great moral dilemmas and little story arcs to be had, though I unfortunately found the main story line somewhat underwhelming, if not flat at times, considering this felt like it should've been a strong point of the game.
If I were rating relatively, this indie game is a point or two higher; but I feel the game very nearly misses on all marks riddled with some minor flaws here and there such as the inability to manually save, paired with the fact that the game doesn't tell you when it saves. I felt like it could've been great, but it settled for good. What really saves it is how different it is from your standard "RPG" titles you see now days. The deviation from the normal formula is a definitive breath of fresh air.… Expand
Jan 17, 2014arguably one of the best games i´ve played in a while and once again worth a short review: if you like the great nordic atmosphere, are fond of comic style which is beautifully drawn, can handle tough decisions with results impossible to foresee and if you like the gentle character drawing and definition, this one is for you ..
Jan 18, 2014A slow-burning, bleak piece of epic fantasy; a deft work of storytelling filled with painful decisions and unforeseen consequences; a sharp game of tactics, where positioning and forward planning is essential; a beautiful game, filled with spectacular visuals and moving music - the previews (and some reviews) of The Banner Saga had me worried, but those worries were for naught.
An absolutely stunning debut by Stoic, I can't wait for the second episode.… Expand
Feb 26, 2014Not much to be said after all the reviews posted here.
All I can say is that this is a unique game, with a fantastic setting and Lore, where you feel the helplesseness of a catastrophe that has descended on the land
Few games can capture the despair the way this one does.
10/10 for this unique game, the only slight is it´s lengh.
Jan 26, 2014It's a pretty good game, but pick it up on sale. $25 is a bit much. The good: - Tactically it's a challenge to get through battles without taking casualties. - Caravan's need food and food gets scarce real fast - Decisions have a variety of consequences and vary in importance: sometimes you can make the wrong choice and people just shrug it off, or the right choice and get only a small boost to morale. Other times it could be the difference between life and death for a well developed character. I like it because I appreciate a bit of triviality in world building.
- Supply management is largely meaningless. There's no reason not to let a few folks starve if it means leveling up or getting a new item. Hell, by the end people are marching along the Trail of Tears anyway.
- Alternating turns in combat. It's not too bad, and it certainly can be viewed as just another strategic element, but the more I think about it the less I like it.
- Game length is short. Like... really short. I was expecting a lot more for the price and the hype.
- There's very little replay value in this game when it comes to plot, decisions, etc. You've got 2 possible endings and it's pretty obvious how they play out.
- There's also no post-finale game play. No roaming the world trying to visit other villages, no going back to places you've been, nothing. It's linear as hell.… Expand
Jan 15, 2014I haven't finished it yet - but on the gameplay alone side it feels very different and unique. It gets off at a cracking pace, so you might be a bit lost at first but the tactics are quick to learn difficult to master and incredibly satisfying once you pull off more difficult situations.
Takes a little while to start putting together who is who and what is happening - so at first you might not feel much connection with the characters or the story - but after a while a case of the 'one more turn' syndrome kicks in. You'll be watching those supplies and weighing up promotions, supplies and items while juggling the story decisions and their potential impacts.
Well worth the price - with the only faults being in animation and voiced dialogue (the lack of it).… Expand
Feb 24, 2014While the setting and overall idea is ingenious, I felt the story of the game didn't do it justice as it felt shallow and rushed. Perhaps I simply had too great of expectations from the story, as it ended up feeling like a storyline from older Final Fantasy games - big evil comes, engulfs the world, got to find someone who can stop it and there is a lot of sacrifice on the way.
The gameplay was most problematic at first - at the beginning, I liked both difficulty and variety of character skills..until the variety died out, and each anoher battle felt exactly the same. The experience-per-kill system later on forced me to only use characters that I have leveled up, instead of using interesting combinations.
But my biggest issue is with the savegame system. A player can only save if he stops for a camp - it was probably done so people wouldn't save during battles and before making decisions, but people have lives and they sometimes can't finish a battle because they need to go somewhere or are simply tired - so a 20 minute fight has to be suddenly started over because I can't save. And those battles are long because the animations take a bit of time.
All in all, I have a rather mixed feelings about the game - its not a game I would recommend to anyone, but at the same time, I'm far from calling it 'bad'.… Expand
Jan 18, 2014A good game. Yes the graphics and music are amazing but what makes a game good is game play and replay value. This game has no replay value at all and can be easily completed in a casual day or two. The game mechanics are very over and over again style: You watch tiny characters walk across a backdrop for 30 seconds, then either a "interactive" dialogue box pops up (which doesn't have much effect on the game play), or you get into a battle with guys in armor. The story is alright but my big complaint is the repetitious game play and the fact the you only fight two kinds of enemies: giants & vikings, or the weird black armor guys.
I would have like to see them travel on the map without rail-roading me one way on the map. I never felt in control of the game that much. The character development (stats, etc.) didn't run very deep either. I felt like leveling them up wasn't exciting or a big deal. It felt to me that I was more worried about running out of supplies than being challenged in combat, etc.
This game has all the earmarks of becoming a spectacular game but it needs to be less linear and have much more depth both in combat, character leveling, exploration, etc. But for now, it feels like a half-baked indie title that's all eye and ear candy with no actual filling. The price of $25 on steam for this game I think is also a bit high considering how small in scope it is. As it stands this game should be selling for under $10.
So in short I applaud their efforts but its needs to be filled out more and definitely a better "last battle" that is longer than 2 minutes to play.… Expand
Mar 8, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The banner saga is not a bad game.i enjoyed playing the game although i was never been able to finish it because of the last battle i tried many times yet all there was is failure.
The good : the game soundtrack and the artwork were amazing,the fights were actually pretty good and i was impressed by all strategies you could make .
Now the bad :the story started pretty slow and most of the time i was reading texts and choosing random answers.The game says that you can choose your destiny but all i saw was answers that lead to the same result********spoiler:for example onef betrayal left me in frustration and rage*******.the game difficulty was pretty good until i reached the end of the game where i was left helpless against the enemy(and why the **** must alette join the fight???)
IN the end the game is pretty good but as you progress through the game you just start hating the game!!!… Expand
Jan 17, 2014The Banner Saga (TBS) is a story driven tactical RPG. As a long time lover of the tactical rpg genre (FF:Tactics, Fire Emblem, Disgaea), TBS was a bit of a letdown. While having great artwork, the gameplay itself is very barebone.
Story: Underwhelming. The story is basically the characters need to arrive at a certain predetermined location and most of the game takes place before arriving there. Also, you're controlling two different parties, so the game will force you to move on to the other party's story even when you don't want to. Oh, finally getting into that party's story? Too bad, we're moving back to the first party. Too bad if you already forgot what they were about.
Characters: Most of them are one-dimensional and fill a very specific personality in the party. For example, there's a character that has a crush on one of the female character, and the whole gist of him is, "I want to protect her". That's it. There's really no emotional attachment to them, and the only reason you want them alive is just to feel complete.
Dialogue: False sense of choice. There are some choices that change the story, but most of the choices you make are very linear and most end up arriving at the same answer no matter what you choose. For example, you're trying to enter a castle. You can go by a water passage, or just push the gate. Either way, you end up fighting a group of humans and enter the castle.
Art: The artwork is amazing. However, the way it's utilized makes you let out a sigh. The characters during dialogue scenes are emotionless and are basically copy pasted over and over. The background pulls you in at first, but the endless snow and blue sky becomes dull after the first hour. Very minimal animation as well (probably due to lack of budget) where there needs to be some.
Gameplay: Very unbalanced. Some of your characters are statistically worse than others where there really is no point in using them. Game itself is very barebone. Strength/Hp, Armor, 1 active/passive Skill per character. That's really it. Compared to others in the same genre, it's really underwhelming. Also, you're only able to move one character at a time (You-NPC-You-NPC-etc.), which is somewhat unique in the genre and might not suit you.
Menu: Atrocious. Can only turn sound and music on/off; no scale. You also cannot save whenever you want; the game saves for you. No resolution options; only fullscreen or windowed.
This game could have been better if it was worked on longer, but I'm assuming they ran out of money. However, the core of the game -the gameplay- is very lacking and I feel like what it currently is is what they were going for. This game rides on it's artwork only right now, and I hope at least the story gets better in the sequel.… Expand
Feb 21, 2014The graphics are cool, but did not keep the promise for a good game. I gave up to play after 20minutes being bored. I never knew who i am etc, worst game ever. Begins with butchering some people, then a dialogue about helping and then the next fight. Who am I ? Who do I fight ? Would help for immersiveness. I ask me how it can get so good reviews, I am really astonished.
Feb 28, 2014Deciding whether or not to buy this game? Take my advice: Don't. See, saved you a lot of time, didn't I? Like certain characters, so you level them a lot? Rest assured, the game is going to take them away in the storyline in arbitrary ways you had little to no control over and absolutely no warning about. Enjoy turn based strategy? I hope you also enjoy the main villain of the game always being way more powerful than you and killing one of your men with every shot, while regenerating way more than you can damage in a single turn.
Enjoy troop and supply management? Don't worry, the same resource you use to buy supplies for your troops is also the resource you use to upgrade your main fighters, so either you have a good fighting group or your people are always starving!
Appreciate a well thought out storyline, setting, and characters? Don't worry, the game is only about 4 hours long (most of which is spent waiting for the next uncontrollable event to happen), after which you're more than welcome to buy the dozens of DLC's they're sure to come out with soon!… Expand
Jan 21, 2014This is a such a well thought out game on every level. After playing Double Take's new kickstarter project I was optimistic about this one, but this is exactly the kind of game I want to play, Bioware. Bethesda and Telltale games have given me taste of decision making and in game consequences and this nails that gaming aspect perfectly. There's some very old school about the experience too, a lot of it being very text based. As the game goes on your scope as a leader takes on an even greater role and the tactics get more and more in depth. And I haven't even mentioned the battle system yet. The turn based system is nailed to an absolute tee. There are so many different fighters with different abilities and leveling them each up and increasing their stats is an absolute job, An original masterpiece which proves that listening to your fans can really pay off… Expand
Jan 19, 2014Like many other people, i really wanted to like this game. So, I started playing it with a very positive attitude but that didn't last long. I have to admit that the game looks good but once your initial amazement with looks is over, there's nothing else left to make you want to play this game. Dialogues are very shallow, characters are not so interesting. Yes, there are choices but they don't really seem to impact the game significantly. Battle screen offers nothing new and very repetitive. (It really needs hexagons, squares limit the options)
In another year, a turn based RPG might be intriguing, but 2014 is the "Year of the turn-based RPG", so I'd suggest you keep your money for the upcoming games like Wasteland, D:Original Sin, Blackguards, Age of Decadence..… Expand
Jan 18, 2014Great tactical turn based combat RPG, the system is a nice invention (check out banner saga: factions). This game allows 2 playthroughs (8 hrs each).
1st playthrough (normal diff): roleplay and lead your army and then a caravan of refuges to safety. Battles will be hard but possible. Story is a bit weird but interesting enough to keep some interest.
2nd playthrough: powergame your way to the final battle on hard difficulty.
THe good thing about the game:
1st playhrough is carried by story/decisions
2nd playthrough is carred by mechanics.
I've spent about 20hrs playing this game and it's been fun/interesting and challenging 90% of the time.… Expand
Jan 26, 2014-GREAT gameplay and tactics with good items and well done heroes. -Awesome artistic design and soundtrack that leads to an Epic atmosphere. -Just looking at your caravan moving and travelling through towns,seeing godstones is something epic. -Good choices that affects the story. -Combat is really challenging with good variety of enemies and abilities. the bad things are: -the story sometimes is not explained well.
-Lack of cutscenes.
Totally this game is really good and brings new ideas and it's better than stupid RPG games like kingdoms of amalur.
The game is 7 chapters and takes about 10 hours or maybe more to complete.… Expand
Mar 13, 2014The artwork of the game is not only unique but lovely. The problem with the game is the actual game play itself, as far as that is concerned it falls on its face pretty hard. Plane, lackluster and quite honestly just bad is how I would describe the game play of this turn based RPG. There is so little to it and managing your units along with your travels almost seem like an afterthought to the artwork, there are also multiple problems with the food and currency system that make it seem not well thought out. The story also ends rather abruptly too. So to recap, the art is good the rest is bad.… Expand
Mar 1, 2014This is a great game, and a real breath of fresh air for the RPG genre, which arguably has been pretty stagnant for a while now. The Banner Saga boasts well crafted and fun gameplay to go along with an engaging story filled with a large cast of interesting characters, but the real jewel for me is the setting itself, and the way it's presented. The artwork, as most reviewers have pointed out, is just outstanding, and it really enhances the aesthetic of an already unique and deep world.
Gameplay: The gameplay could I guess be divided into three broad areas: the combat system, the caravan system, and the character advancement system, which sort of straddles the border between the other two systems.
The combat system is rather simple, but very elegant in its design. It's the sort of system whose simplicity makes it easy to learn, but I feel like the more discerning gamers will note that there is a level of subtle tactics, which is not so easy to master, which can really enhance your effectiveness. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the combat is excellent, but it more than serves its purpose, and it kept me entertained.
The caravan system is arguably the more essential part of the game. Throughout the game, the player is responsible for looking after a caravan of his clansmen. You're constantly making decisions, whether they be in the form of random events that pop up along the road and demand your attention, or in the form of making decisions regarding whether to spend your renown on supplies to keep your people alive, or equipment and level ups for your characters to make combat easier. There's a keen feeling of desperation, survival, and leadership, and I think it's a real key to what makes the game so cool.
Finally, there's the character advancement system, which to me is one of the most vital parts of any rpg. Sadly, I think The Banner Saga is just a little bit lacking in this area. Your ability to advance your characters is constantly being hamstrung by the supply demands of your caravan. Yes, this does contribute to the survival aspect of the game, and I understand why the devs decided to design it this way, but it is a frustrating tradeoff for someone who really enjoys building and customizing his party. Still, the character advancement is much better than what you would find in many rpgs, so I was able to get over my quibbles.
Story/Setting: This is where the game really starts to shine. I've played a pretty decent number of video games, especially of the fantasy rpg variety, but I was really caught off guard by the feel of this world. Early on in the game, you get access to the world map, and it is riddled with clickable landmarks (cities, mountain ranges, regions... all sorts of stuff, really) which each have neat little tidbits of lore. After spending just a little while reading the lore, I could tell that this was a really deep and well crafted setting, very unlike your typical Forgotten Realms esque high fantasy world. You really feel like you've been transported to a pre-Christian world of nordic mythic, and you get caught up in some pretty fascinating events of pretty epic proportion. A lot of the characters are also pretty neat, though you don't really get to know any of them extremely well, as you're too busy managing things.
As I understand it, this is just the first chapter of a planned trilogy, and I'm very eagerly awaiting a chance to see what happens next.
Presentation: While the story and setting certainly stand out from the crowd, I think that the look and feel of the game is truly one of a kind. The character art is beautiful. The cinematic backdrops that your caravan travels through are breathtaking. The music rules. I've really never experienced anything like it. Watching your caravan wearily journey through this lovingly created world is just awesome. It's hard to describe. You've got to try it for yourself.
Conclusion: What a wonderful game. In the midst of all the gaudy, big budget, mass produced AAA titles, it would be easy to convince yourself that the future of gaming is bleak, but games like this renew my confidence in the industry. I'm so excited to see the next batch of kickstarter games, and of course the other two games in this trilogy. If you're as eager to see the progress of video games as a medium of storytelling as I am, and if you're the sort of person who can appreciate subtlety and art, you should try this game.… Expand
Feb 11, 2014There is more reading than actual fighting and developing your skills as a strategist and as a fighter.
After few hours you will find this boring and annoying that you actually spent 20$ on it.
I don't find even a single character to be fun or interesting and that tells me that these characters don't have much depth in them. You are probably better off trying some other game than this.
Jan 18, 2014The game combines beautifully hand drawn characters, a most vivid atmosphere with its characteristic art style. Game-play is simple, and all choices matters. Which made me feel the burdens and responsibilities of characters I'm controlling. Made me feel like I was in a Nordic country from a tale, a tale so familiar, as if something I've heard when I was little.. that's the feeling the game offers.
Feb 1, 2014The Banner Saga tells a sad story, based on Norse legends. The graphics and music are beautiful. There are a few innovative elements in the battle gameplay, but overall, it just gets in the way. I started on Normal difficulty, but dropped to Easy once I realized that the story is what I cared about in the game. It provided about 12 hours of enjoyment.
Jan 22, 2014Solid tactical turn base game, not dissimilar to chess. As folks mentioned, the game is essentially Oregon Trail outside of the combat. The story is dark and engaging, and while you could fault it for being about 10 hours that wouldn't be fair as the price is set appropriately for the play length.
If you are a fan of factions, i'd suggest starting on hard difficulty.. normal would be a breeze for you probably.… Expand
Mar 26, 2014This game proves once again that just like with movies tragedies are overrated. Don't get me wrong it is a fun little game but merely having a tragic story does mean a game deserves high marks.
Pros: Great plot, dynamic story that changes based on your decisions, 4 + decisions to every situation, simple but fun strategic combat system, simple character skill tree and item equipment options, tense moments as you are forced to decide between upgrading your characters or buying food to feed your people.
Cons: To be continued ending (this is getting old), imagine getting a great 10 chapter book but then having it taken away after the first chapter ends, depressing game (if you like getting punched in the stomach or getting kicked in the groin repeatedly then put this in the Pros section).
Jan 26, 2014I'd been waiting for this game since the kickstarter. The Scenic backdrops are really beautiful though i think the character art leaves something to be desired. Its kinda like Oregon trail with turn based fights. The story is good though i was expecting it to be better. The actual turn based fights are getting pretty repetitive (fighting the same enemies over and over), but they are still pretty fun and the additional strategy elements involving enemy and character placement on the board is interesting. All in all, the game is a solid good play, with a good story, and some good strategy.… Expand
Jan 22, 2014After getting completely ripped off recently by Creative Assembly's Total War Rome 2, I was in a pretty terrible mood about PC gaming in general. Then I found this GEM. Amazing story line, great characters, lots of replayability and so immersive! For $25.00 it is a steal, I'm on my second play through and having just as much fun if not more. So refreshing to see a game company that actually took the time to really make a quality product. I have encountered 1 or 2 bugs but with the frequent auto saves I've only lost a total of maybe 5-10 minutes of playtime. After the epic disaster that Rome 2 was I consider that more than tolerable. BUY THIS GAME.… Expand
Jan 23, 2014This game is art ! This game is fun ! I can recommend it to everyone. I love the story, the artwork, the gameplay. Worth every cent ! Im looking forward for addons :-) If you like round based strategy, set in an medieval "nordic" fantasyworld you will love this.
Feb 19, 2014I will try to be very objective, yet factual, and detailed in my review. I've put in about 40 minutes so far. Having played many turn based strategy games, I feel I can in one sense be highly critical, and one sense favoring of this genre. I have played D&D 1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition, all the fire emblems (liked), advance wars (liked), xcoms (liked), chesses (liked) i have played most of the turn based strategy games on the iphone and ipad, and there are too many to list but my favorite is hero academy, i liked warhammer quest, but i did not like skulls of the shogun, i thought "great little war game" was ok, From what I have seen so far about this game, I have a strong feeling this game is going to be good. The voice acting is unique impressing with me a voice and accent I have rarely heard, the story seems lengthy, complex, with much dialogue perhaps to the point of convoluted, but its cartoon presentation balances the serious depth of the story to a temporarily agreeable amount. During my first battle I found that combat to be relatively complex in a good way, taking into size of giants into account to cover four tiles on the battle field while humans take up one space. I was able to attack an opponents armor or strength initially both have different yet significant effects. The attacks among the two units I was able to use at the time was varied and intrigued me further. I also found the art work to be compelling for the size of the game (less than 2gb)...to elaborate, I can tell the developer did not appear to have a lot of funds, but they made up for in by creating a detailed world that is pleasing to a video gamer, who's emphasis is on fun and a good story, instead of games with PS4 graphics with little challenge in thought nor skill. For now I recommend this game...I will be encouraged to send more updates with more likes on this message.… Expand
Jan 15, 2014I've been a kickstarter backer of this project for some time, and I'm a fan of tactical turn based combat. Take this review with a grain of salt if you aren't a fan of this genre.
This game is absolutely phenomenal. I made an account on Metacritic just so I could post a review of this game. The visuals are stunning, the music is pitch-perfect, the story is gripping, the characterization is deep and meaningful, the decisions you make truly change the gameplay, and the tactical depth of combat is very rewarding.
I downloaded this game yesterday afternoon. It gripped me from the first second and wouldn't let me go. When next I took my eyes from the screen, 5 hours had passed and it was time for bed, so naturally I stayed up for another hour playing.
A truly amazing cinematic experience, with phenomenal underlying rules systems and stunning art. I can't recommend this game highly enough. You will not be disappointed.… Expand
Jan 19, 2014I've seen a lot of complaints about the way it portrays it's story. And I am usually the one to complain about unskippable cut scenes and slow progression. But The Banner Saga was absolutely wonder full. It was like an 11 hour dream, I was completely immersed. This game will pull you in, so let it. If you are playing solely for the battle system (which was thoroughly enjoyable) this game will probably not be for you, for that is not the core of this game.… Expand
Jan 19, 2014This game is as much art as craft, thus 10/10 - art is immeasurable. The only complaint is the relative shortness of the experience, leaving you craving for more, replaying the game, exploring event paths, levelling different characters or simpy beholding the sheer awesomeness of game's artwork. In short: a masterpiece.
Jan 19, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This game is incomplete. It is 6 hours, maybe, of looking at a line of people slowly walk from one side of your screen to the other (not including clicking to move story along.) Reading and thinking your actions through will add more time depending on the player. Most of the game's time is unskippable filler. Don't wanna call an indie game's filler filler, but that is what it is.
You are responsible for that line of mostly civilians, some fighters and in Varl (the game's name for horned Viking giants) chapters: a prince. Meaning you have to make sure they don't starve by making wise decisions. The people will starve easy. It is a chore. Leading the Varl, though, is actually pretty good, as you have supplies and a reliable horde of enemies to entertain you with battle.
The turn-based battle system is really good and carries this game. Playable characters and enemies have stats. One can see the 2 more important of enemies' stats, their Strength and their Armor. Strength is both your health points and your damage output. Armor is damage block. Combatants can reduce each if in range; and armor damage output is itself a stat, not reduced by anything.
I find an effective strat is to have 1 designated guy lower the strongest enemy's armor, then have a high strength guy do a lot of damage. Of coarse, sometimes the obstacle is a lot of low stat enemies in which case diverse stats or lineups is good. Also I tend to prefer combatants that can exert 3 units because that allows them to move around from enemy to enemy faster. Several varl cannot do this.
What I really would enjoy is a just-the-battles mode. Like Witcher 2's Arena. Or DBZ Legendary Super Warrior's battle mode.
After battles you get Renown which you can cash in for Upgrades on your PCs' stats; food supplies for your followers; or items you like at shops that can be equipped to PCs for extra effect (things like +stats, knockback, rolls for 2x dmg, etc.) Because this is scarce, it means you shouldn't upgrade every Hero (your Playable Character) for its own sake. You have to consider your followers starving, specifically on the human chapters. Again, Varl, don't seen to have that problem.
This also means that you should get in fights a bit since kills are what get you the Renown. This that show good leadership get you Renown occasionally. And it is considered good leadership to not get your followers massacred, so every decision can be justified; at times, every decision is punished, anyway; perhaps outcomes are dice rolled though? I havent tested. Test does not interest me because going through the story is so slow. It might be an anti-war message the way they make even just political expeditions with battles boring.
Characters are pretty meh. This will be the last I write, so if you absolutely do not want spoilers, don't scroll down. But in any case those who haven't play should know that in this game anything can happen. It will go Game of Thrones on your ass. No one is off limits. No one. Not even the person it says you are in the story. you can get your ass killed. Anyway, down for a few words on the characters.
Allette, the human clan leader's daughter, is ok as a character. She doesn't like killing. A lot of the women in this game are strong independent black women who don't need no men. She's just a young adult and will ask for duty from her father when the time is right because she thinks she is a better archer and can do with very limited resources much better. She can go through a lot. It is pretty bad though that it is through concern of her well-being is how you experience those human chapters. Meaning that a lot can happen to her and you only focus on her and you don't really meet many of the people you lead. This is also a theme in that you can choose to do whatever it takes for your specific clan to survive (us vs them.) Sometimes you don't even choose who can join you; sometimes the game tricks you into adopting more mouths to feed. But that's another topic.
Odd, the late captain's wife, taught the human clan leader apparent's daughter archery and in the story can teach more women. She isnt seem so much in the story but is pretty agreeable. She would make for a good romance were this a dragon age game. Speaking of which a political union could have kept her in power, with Rook, clan leader as a puppet. Not an option in the game, but could be tried in Chapter 2? Fingers crossed. Though she did say she got her husband no children, who knows if that wasn't his fault.
Iver is a good friend, normally has good advice, takes orders, and does his duty even when its daily battles with real danger or facing a known immortal enemy. You find out about something he did in his past that he's not proud of but earned him respect among his kind, even more than their king to some. More on this guy not war related would be good.
Word cap.… Expand
Jan 21, 2014This is not a game for everyone. If you're a fan of fast-paced action and shooting, or even of RTS-style quick micromanagement, or even other turn-based strategy games, you may very well hate this game. It seems intentionally slow-paced and drudging. But with that slow pace, it takes it's time in the development of a story, one in which you and your people will be exposed to the elements, hostile attacks, betrayal, deaths of friends, and starvation on the road. You make choices which either immediately reward or punish you, or will reward or punish you well down the storyline. I read old Norse and Icelandic sagas. This game emulates the saga style very well. Don't expect to have a joyous adventure in this game. Expect to have your heart-strings tugged every which way you've ever heard of. This is a sad game. You'll likely feel bad for your poor choices, and a marginally better for your good choices. Different characters approve or disapprove of your choices based on their individual personalities. You'll have to become a real leader, one that takes risks, sometimes sacrifices his own people, screws some people over, and chooses his actions whether they're popular or not. It's difficult to make these choices, but you'll find yourself sucked into the story. The role-playing element is superb. You'll be surprised by the type of person you really are. You'll feel responsible for the lives of your kinsmen and fighters. If you want a role-playing game that causes a real emotional response, forces you to make hard choices, that will make you really feel like a refugee leader, and weave an epic (as in "The Odyssey " epic) story of your survival, then this game will not disappoint. If you're into fast-paced games, don't play this game because "oh, there are vikings and killing." This game doesn't reward killing, it'll make you hate it, and to dread battles. It'll make you think, and it'll make you sad, it will make you regret poor decisions. Also, the art style and music are great.
I recommend this game. It's not perfect, but you won't regret it.… Expand
Jan 26, 2014The Banner Saga is a compelling tale following close knit to Norse Mythology. The Viking-esque feel is excellent for the type of story. The cause and effect style to the story really makes the player (myself) think long and hard about choices before rapidly doing things. Slow to start, Chapters 1 and 2 introduce you to the two main stories, which, by the end of the game merge to become one story, which I quite frankly love. The game on normal difficulty, is not hard, but does not baby you past the initial tutorial, some battles, especially the last, can prove to be a struggle, and may cause losses, injuries, or a need to rethink your strategies for later battles. The game is quite... real, it doesn't beat around the bush with the story. It really feels like the end of the world. When you have maybe 350 clansmen, 140 warriors and 60 varl in your caravan, with limited supplies running, you're forced to be conservative at most times and on occasion, be the polar opposite, offensive and assertive, to gain supplies from meek farmers. The characters really interact with your decisions too and tug on how you want to convey yourself as a character to those close to you. All in all an excellent game. 10/10 Gameplay, 11/10 story and I absolutely love the 'cause and effect'-esque mechanics. Nothing like having to really think before performing actions. The replay value is excellent as well, to see how you could play differently to get different reactions from characters, the caravans, or to earn new heroes from placing yourself in more "immediate" danger.… Expand
Feb 1, 2014BORING. 99% text reading... No voice overs.... well, occasionally, the narrator speaks, but the whole dang game is like reading a novel... all text and no action. I got bored with the story line after awhile because I wanted some kind of ACTION... something to actually DO instead of just reading and clicking continue. According to Steam, I played for about 6 hours... guess how many battles I actually played in that time..... Well, I can count them on ONE hand! The other 5 1/2 hours was reading... If I want to read a book, I will load up the Kindle app. Yeah, you get to make choices occasionally, which is supposed to affect how the story goes, but whoopie. I won't be playing it long enough to actually see if my choices really made a difference or not.
This game is 99% story, 1% battles. I like the battles, but they are VERY few and extremely far between.
I feel like I spent $25 on a BOOK, not a game.
Feb 2, 2014I made an account on this site just to say this is one of the best games I have ever played. I have been playing games since the early 90's and I would probably put this in the top 10 games of all time, it's that good. Perfect blend of gameplay + story. The game play is easy to pick up, but addictively complex and will make you want to keep playing to level up your heroes. Similar to Final Fantasy Tactics but simpler, which for a game of this style and length is appropriate. And the story....simply wow. I have not seen storytelling like this in a game in a long time, possibly ever. The artwork is simplistic but stunning, and the music fits perfectly. I was pretty sure I would like this game after watching the trailer and playing the factions multiplayer but this completely exceeded my expectations. Hopefully they will bring the gameplay in factions up to par with this, because as of right now the single player is much deeper.… Expand
Feb 6, 2014The Banner Saga features some of the best writing in an RPG ever, with a story that forces you to make plot-affecting decisions beyond simply what to say. Unfortunately the combat system is lacking and makes fighting awkward. Most notably, the almost chess-like turn system where the player and the AI take turns moving one unit each encourages the player to reduce enemies to 1 hit point instead of killing them, forcing the AI to waste its turn moving crippled units that pose no threat before it can move the useful monsters again. While it adds a bit of strategy, it mostly makes combat absurd and causes fights to drag on unnecessarily long.
The game also has little voice acting and most of the gameplay consists of reading text and watching your caravan march. As mentioned, the writing is excellent and the overall experience is enjoyable, but at times it feels more like an interactive novel than a computer game.… Expand
Feb 15, 2014Liked the story but even on normal difficulty the dredge were taking huge mechanical **** all over my guys and killing them in 1-2 hits constantly. Not sure what I was doing wrong as I am an RPG veteran and skilled player (Silver in LoL and beat Skyrim on medium hard difficulty) so I usually do quite well at this sort of thing.
Mar 7, 2014the only reason this game is not getting a 0 is because of the art. that aside. WHAT A RIP OFF! in the first part of the game you show the player this big map with all this info on it. but you don't go to any of it! WTF! also the game ends right after it just starts to get going. what the **** where is the rest of the game! you cheap sons of **** don't show off a sick world if you can't go to any of it! its just a big cock tease! no random events= no replay = waste of money!… Expand
Mar 13, 2014On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give this game a 6. Would be 8 or 9 if not for all the bugs.
Pros: Unique visual style, cool animations. Tactical combat is fun and challenging. Compelling story with interesting characters. Price is reasonable.
Cons: Very short; you can finish in a few hours. Lots of minor but annoying bugs. One almost game-breaking bug in the final boss fight. The game has been patched many times since release; some bugs have been fixed, but many have not been fixed. That means this is unfinished software, so if you buy it you are paying for the privilege of being a Beta tester.
Nevertheless, the game is good fun, so I am recommending it... barely. Just be aware of both the Pros and the Cons. Make an informed choice.… Expand
Mar 17, 2014A game shouldn't take longer to download than to complete. Right off the bat that is the biggest problem here. I don't expect every game to be Skyrim in terms of length,but for $50 I expect some decent playtime.
By the time I started really getting into the game it was over. Aside from that major flaw there are other things that I was generally disappointed by. The actual play is fine and I enjoyed the seemingly important decisions but the variety of characters is pathetic. Basically you have archers, small guy with sword, and big guys with swords who either are better at using a shield or hammering enemies. Towards the end of the game you get a single magic user. That's it. Anyone that has played a good tactical RPG just has to be disappointed by that. Look at shining force or final fantasy tactics. A huge variance between character classes with benefits and costs to each.
On to the enemies, surely a game set in Norse mythology would be rich in bad guys? Nope. Instead we get black robot guy with high armor, bigger black robot guy with high armor, and black robot archer. Again, that's it? Every battle consisted of "ok hit them a few times to lower their armor, then attack".
I really wanted to like this game and I think if it had been 5x longer with an evolution of fighters and enemies I would have loved it. It's almost like we got a long demo and not a full game. I rarely feel ripped off from a game purchase but this fits the boot for me. I'll pass on whatever game they make next.… Expand
Mar 17, 2014If you are familiar with these type of games; you will learn the gameplay in 30 mins, you will like it as you play for 2 hours, but you will be disappointed after 8 - 10 hours of play because the game will over.It is too short but there is a dillema that if this game will be longer this time it will be boring(repeated playing).
General; Graphics 9, Gameplay 8, AI 7, Stickness 5. If you like to spend 10 hour of fun then buy this one, if not,be sure you wont miss anything.… Expand
Mar 19, 2014Due to several design flaws, what could have been one of the greatest strategy rpg's of all time is instead not quite playable. The graphics and sound are both amazing. The vikings theme mixed with beautiful, classic Disney animation styled characters and unique, stylized backdrops make for an incredible experience...at least at first. Unfortunately after a few hours several critical design flaws start to become apparent.
The core of the battle system is solid, centering around a unique strength versus armor mechanic which in itself is very fun. The problems I have with the game, however, all concern things that happen outside the battles.
There is lack of real customability, not just in the development of your characters, but also in having any ability to choose which characters to use at any given time. The story shuffles back and forth between character groups and at certain points the game sticks you with a new group . Outside of battle I never feel like I have any real control.
You never seem to get to really build a customized party of your choice and often when you've found a nice solid character that you like, you'll be presented with a series of dialog options after a battle and upon choosing the wrong one, the game will seemingly arbitrarily kill the character off. This is extremely frustrating, not just because the choices presented give you no real sense of what the results will be (you often feel like you're rolling dice to see who dies), but even more infuriatingly, the game is built on a secretive auto-save system that makes going back and retrying your choices almost impossible.
When you reach certain invisible points the game will secretly save and then delete all your saves going back several hours. There's no choosing when to save and there's no saving mid battle. The only way to tell when the game has saved is to bring up the load menu and check the time of the last save. The designers clearly want the player to keep playing and then live with their choices and failures. This style of play may work for some, but I'm something of a perfectionist and it just frustrates me.
Another problem I have is with the way characters level up. Characters are rewarded with renown points after each kill and once a character has enough kills, they'll be ready for promotion. The problem is you have to spend renown points to complete the level up process and I find I only ever have enough points to level up one out of every four or so characters who are ready for a promotion. These points are also used to purchase supplies and equipment, but given how little there are for leveling up, using them for this purpose always seems foolish. Adding to this frustration is that often I'll spend almost all my points from one battle to level up a character only to have that character randomly die 15 minutes later when I choose the wrong dialog options. Also, points toward promotion are only awarded for kills making offensive characters far easier to level up than defensive ones.
So despite such a solid battle system and beautiful artwork, I find this game more frustrating than fun.… Expand
Jun 28, 2014Good, but not great. Beautiful graphics, forgettable story, decent tactics. SCORE 81/100.
It's no Fire Emblem Awakening, Final Fantasy Tactics, XCOM, or Advance Wars in terms of tactical depth. There just isn't the tactical depth of those games and there isn't enough variety of units to play with or against. There is no marriages or dynasties or unit interaction.
It has a gritty and dire story, but ultimately forgettable. It just didn't grip me. It needed spoken dialogue (it only has it occasionally as narration) much more often.
It certainly isn't worth full price but probably is on sale if you like turn-based strategy. I love supporting Kickstarter games (I think 12 total, all have been worthy games and I don't regret a single one), and the fact it isn't as good as the big four turn-based strategy games ever (imo), isn't the worst thing in the world.… Expand
Jan 21, 2014Its definitely not a "must have".
And you have to be a gamer to feel this game.
But yet, its a very interesting game, with some charming features of an old-school game, but without all UI and UX hardcore attached.
Do not expect any revelations from this one, and you gonna like it.
Music, meta-Scandinavian landscape, long caravan animation (that some complain) that give a feeling of long journey and makes you dive a bit deeper into the game, unique charterers (I mean really unique, with very few similarities in other games).
But three most obvious features are:
- Really uncommon and fresh system for tactical combat.
You will have to understand it. And do not expect that you will level a kind of all purpose-tank or mega-sniper. There are none. Not even close.
- Choices you make.
Its not that kid-adopted type of options like "i do good things = I'm good". Its a bit more mature here. Few canonical good behavior patterns will do you good in this game. I see a house burning whit child inside, i'm a hero, I go rescue... you just die. You all who coming with you.
Not there is something extraordinary. But its deep, rich with of details and well written tale.
The only really fail I'd change about this game is to remove "save/load" to make player to think on what chooses he makes and not just probe each and everyone and see which one is better.… Expand
Apr 21, 2014Guess all those high scores are because BS looks awesome for an indy game, but what a torture it just was!.. Dialogs in a bottom of a screen, when you see perfectly painted character fullscreen and a smallest line showing who's talking now, and it's some other guy. And your sight jumping from picture to one small line of text and then to another, thying to fix whole picture. HOW can you hit armour without damaging one who'd wearing it? Was it platformer-like view, of a 2d top-down map view? For 15 minutes i've just seen tons of text jumping on me from all sides of the screen. Seems like game designer just hates people, while still work of artists and animators is awesome. Sure I'll give it one more try, just need to heal my eyes a bit.… Expand
Jun 21, 2014This is a clever mixing of tactic RPG, fantastic novel of the kind of "choose your own adventure" and an extremely simple resource management system. It is set in a world with ingredients of nordic mythology where there are 3 races: humans, varls (some kind of "giants" with horns) and dredges (creatures with mechanical appearance).
The main development team was composed of 3 people and the game got ahead thanks to a kickstarter campaing. The lack of resources can be appreciated in many aspects, although most of the time it is graciously disguised. The game experience is like reading a book where you'll be asked many times what decision to take. Some of these decisions are resolved automatically with more text, but others will take you to a tactic combat scene.
If you are able to get over the impression that you have bought a game 8 years old (dialogues have no voice acting and they just show you a beautiful image of a character that blinks from time to time), you'll enjoy a great story worthy of being compared to Game of Thrones for its depth and quality of characters.
The soundtrack has been composed by Austin Wintory, "Journey", I don't need to say more :-)… Expand
Jun 20, 2014The Banner Saga is an excellent, well-narrated cartoon with pretty animations and an interesting plot in a "Choose your own adventure" format. Unfortunately, I am writing a review for something that is supposed to be a game. The Banner Saga is not a game. It is as simple as that.
Feb 22, 2014If your in the mood to really play a game, you'll probably have mediocre to upper-mediocre feelings about this game. If your in the mood to sink into a story in the form of a game, then it is hard to get much better than The Banner Saga.
For me, the essence of this game is the story, once it pulls you in, it keeps you right at the heart of it. I felt a sense of pressure with every decision I had to make, and really felt like my decisions had gravity in the plot's progression. It almost felt like I was creating my own story. I can't think of any game I've ever played where I put so much consideration into every choice, internally weighing the pros and cons of various options. This is the highlight of the game for me. It's like an epic choose-your-own adventure role play story that happens to be interspersed with a strategy game-play experience.
That being said, the other aspects of the game were not as spectacular, though still solidly good. The turn-based grid-style strategy battles were fun, though not amazing. I never really wanted to play this game for more than an hour or two at one sitting because of the repetitive nature of the battles. The character developed in a gaming sense was not particularly well developed either, but this only slightly detracted from my actual enjoyment of the game. By the time the ending credits were rolling, I was right there, living in this mythological fantasy nordic world, and I am eager to sink right back into that realm once the second part of the trilogy is released.
This is a game that, though it shares a lot of game-play elements that are relatively common, the overall experience of the game is unlike anything else out there. It's the kind of game that should be played by anyone who loves and appreciates the art of the video game. And for anyone who loves reading a good fantasy novel.… Expand
Jan 29, 2014The Banner Saga is not a brilliant tactical game. There's little variation of jobs, little variation of enemies, and the game is overall not very innovative. However, as RPG it is a pretty good experience, with a good plot that changes with the tons of decisions you make, which adds a very funny component to the game.
The visual aspect and the music are probably the best of the game. And as a counterpart, when the story starts to become interesting, it suddenly ends, leaving room for a sequel.… Expand
Apr 8, 2014This game has an interesting TBS mechanics, but at the same time has major faults and ends up a mediocre broken game at best.
First, the tutorial battles push too much info on the player, leaving you confused. I had to re-start the game 3 times until finally I understood how combat works.
Second, there are multiple problems with game controls. There is no "undo" command, so if you do something wrong because you didn't know the rules (e.g. nowhere it's said that "tempest" attack also damages allies), there is no obvious way to replay or reload. The field is scrolled in tablet-style (dragging) and not by pushing the cursor to the edge of the screen. The whole battlefield get cluttered already in the second battle because the units are drawn using fixed-angle isometric 2.5D and overlap. The option to hide banners doesn't really help it. Mouse-over just doesn't exist here, and it would be much easier to play if there were handy tooltips like in Rome Total War 2, for example. But well, obviously the game was designed for tablets. So all hardcore gamers (like myself) have got a clumsy port from iPad or something. Not really fair for the asked $20+ price.
The third major issue of the game is that the texts were written without any regard to the fact that there will also be non-native speakers (like myself) playing this game. In the first city I found myself failing to understand many of those low-frequency adjectives scattered around almost every phrase. Maybe the writer wanted to show off, but the result is that the text is hard to read (I suppose, even to native-speakers), it looks unnecessarily complex. Combine that with the pile of fantasy-themed names most of which you will see for the first time, and you have an mess of crap which you hardly have desire to dig thru. Even the voice-overs were done with such heavy accent (is it Swedish accent?) that I had to strain myself to understand what they were saying. Btw I'm not that bad in English. I read Fallout 2 texts easily as well as Baldur's Gate's texts, and watch piles of US movies in English without any problems. The runic font used on the map is hard to read, too.
The forth issue is with graphics. The drawings of the characters in the cutscenes look strikingly worse that the smooth backgrounds.
On the plus side, the music and sounds are excellent, as well as backgrounds. What this game needs is an overhaul of the controls with more regard to desktop users. Also, someone should go thru all those piles of text you have there, make shorter sentences and replace low-frequency words with normal, high-frequency synonyms. At its current state, the game isn't worth the money and is no fun to play.… Expand
Jan 28, 2014Didn't expect much, not disappointed. Just bored. Couldn't they have voiced the dialogues? It feels like reading a fantasy novel that you dont care about, i found myself skipping dialogues entirely, that was sad. But not as sad as the art, its mediocre at best. A wasted opportunity to create a beautiful and original style. I dont know about the combat or any gameplay features, because i just barely sit through the tutorial but from what i know its not bad. World map looks huge. Probably some interesting quests await but i think i'll pass.… Expand
Apr 16, 2014This is not a role playing game. There is no role playing involved in it. People should realise that the fact that there are characters with helmets and swords doesn't make a role playing game out of it. It's a tactical combat game. As such, the visuals are good, I like the aesthetical concept. The story could be interesting enough if explored in a role playing game (as it is supposed to be). In the context of a tactical game, I don't care about this narrative. The lack of voice acting is not compensated by the sound score.… Expand
Feb 1, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Concept: An enriching, tactics heavy turn-based role-playing game through a grim world, with interesting characters, battles, and a pretty bleak story as well. Also, vikings.
Graphics: Makes me think either of the old Legend of Zelda cartoon or the animated movies such as The Hobbit and The Black Cauldron, in terms of the visual presentation. Whatever it is, it works.
Sound: The voice work, haunting sounds of battle and melodies, and clash of weapons and twang of arrows all work well, sound great, and seem pretty realistic for the setting.
Playability: You might not always get used to the unforgiving difficulty and the necessity of balancing so many tactical readings, but the controls and unit response work like charms and together resemble a well-oiled mechanic. Oh, and there isn't really a tutorial, so get ready to bring the pain or feel it.
Entertainment: This is definitely a shining example of what a Kickstarted final product should resemble, as it's been pretty well-received, is pretty good in my mind, and is a fairly decent length for an experience as rich as this as well. It's no forty hour role-playing game by any stretch, but the replayability and grim outlook on decision making will have you wanting to replay it, or cowering in fear.
Replay Value: High.
Overall Score: 8.0… Expand
Jan 22, 2014This game does several things well that I usually don't care for - cut scenes and dialogue heavy among them. This game is, effectively, a tactical RPG meets Oregon Trail meets a high quality animated adventure story. Usually, I'm loathe to write favourable reviews for games because they're generally so overhyped (particularly the critical reviews), and I was very happy that this game lives up to the praise I've read. The game's difficulty is adjustable, at at "normal", it's quite challenging. I'm in my second play-through - I learned the strategy via the first play-through which I eventually failed at, and like it even more the second time around.… Expand
Jan 22, 2014First off, I'll say I mostly enjoyed this game and played it through while putting it down very infrequently. The music is excellent, the story somewhat compelling, the world is very creative and unique and the art is fantastic.
Unfortunately there are a few glaring issues that may make this a dealbreaker for some. For others it may just be painful knowing how much potential this game has.
As much as I tried, I am not a fan of the combat system. It is a very unique (and strange) take on turn based combat. Each side takes turns moving a single unit. What this means is that every time you kill an enemy unit, the remaining units get "extra turns," which can lead to you inadvertently "hasting" powerful enemies after killing weaker ones. This can be somewhat circumvented by "disabling" units using the strength system. In Banner Saga, units have two meters, armor and strength. Strength-armor=strength damage, or you can choose to attack someones armor. This leads to a very strange dynamic where if any of your characters are damaged they become serious dead weights. Even with some leveled up characters by the end of the game fights still took a decent chunk of time, and never really felt satisfying.
The other major part of the gameplay is the "caravan." You basically watch your caravan traveling across the world and random events pop up giving you choices. As a huge King Of Dragon Pass fan I picked this game up immediately based on reports that it had some similar elements. After playing through the game I don't really think this is a valid comparison. King of dragon pass used a unique system during their "dialogue choice" scenes where you can select every member of your ring to give you advice and hints on what each different option will do. This at least gives you a little direction during these scenes. Also (usually), if you "fail" one of these scenes the results penalize you in what seemed like a fair way that you could recover from given some time. Banner Saga on the other hand gives you choices with sometimes random outcomes. For example there are quite a few scenes where the wrong choice can end in a permanent character death and you just never see it coming. This type of random punishment is a little upsetting especially if you've been leveling a character or are attached to their play style.
Also as part of the caravan you have several fighters and refugees with you that rely on you purchasing supplies to feed them with "renown." This leads to a couple of issues. First, there doesn't really seem to be any purpose, upside or reward for having people in your caravan. Reportedly all battles are scaled to how many warriors you have, so that doesn't really make a big difference, and having more refugees just means more mouths to feed with no real change in story, rewards or outcome. Also, the currency in the game, "renown," is a little too scarce, making you choose between feeding your caravan, buying items or leveling characters. Between buying useless items, losing leveled characters and unclear purpose from having anyone in your caravan the system is a little disappointing.
I definitely think the game is worth giving a shot, as it is very beautiful and entertaining if you can overlook its flaws. I hope for the next installment combat is seriously revamped, that there is meat added on to the "caravan" mode and that the dialogue choice system gives choices with slightly more predictable outcomes.… Expand
Feb 11, 2014A great, stylish game for a reasonable price. At heart, Banner Saga is a turn-based tactical combat game, and it has solid mechanics that feel comfortable but also unique (not just wailing away on hit points). The icing on the cake is the bleak story it tells, about a world on the brink of disaster, as the sun has frozen in the sky. Also worth noting, this is a full game for a fair price....no awful DLC or micro-transactions. That alone makes it worthwhile.… Expand
Feb 6, 2014The Banner Saga is an utterly unique undertaking in the gaming world. A beautiful, visually and auditorily driven tactical combat game that also incorporates strong decision making and a moving story.
Much of the presentation of the Banner Saga is simple and intuitive, but allows for great depth. The character development is lean but allows for diverse tactical options. The combat is heavily focused on tactical positioning and clever combinations of character abilities.
Many of the decisions regarding the game's development have clearly been directed at creating a strongly evocative experience.
If you are interested in turn-based, tactical combat, and have a preference for roguelike games, give the Banner Saga a shot, and do your very best to continue playing without ever loading from a poor combat performance or a decision that wreaks havoc upon you. It will be an experience unlike any other game.
Also, a unique setting and some of the most mature thematic writing I have seen, even if some of the content is a little hamfisted at times. The only reason it's not a straight 10 is that they dropped the ball with a few of the travelling and choice mechanics. Everything else is awesome.… Expand
Jan 28, 2014For a Low budget title, you won't get much better than this. It has imo the best grid-based combat system of any game which is really fun just by itself, but add great music, artwork and sound along with a heavily engaging story line and you get The banner Saga.
The only drawbacks being some game mechanics haven't been fully implemented, which is a little confusing for a new player. TBS would benefit from a more open world design and/or a less linear progression system.
With some additional game modes and systems to support them, this game could be worthy of a full 10.… Expand
Feb 20, 2014The Banner Saga is a great game.
Beautiful and inspired design, great story implying a lot of cool lore and ( sometimes unforgiving ) choices from the player, breathtaking for the genre,... It's one of the most original T-RPGs out there, and arguably one of the best.
The game lasts for about 12-18hrs depending on the difficulty you play on, and there are chances that you come back to it at some point due to the different paths you can take in the story.
The dificulty and some plot twists might make some people cringe or leave to never return, but it has some very powerful moments that constantly encourages you to go on on this adventure, and even though the quality of the game kinda decreases after a while, it's still a very good and memorable experience.
Tactical-RPGs players will probably love it. I sure did.… Expand
Jul 6, 2014Really? I mean really? The video game community is getting insane more and more, praising such a bad game. They write the "game of the year" reviews, scores 10/10 in the Internet, advice it at the every meeting... etc.
But i hope there is 10% of gamers, which have a good taste and still could determine what is the masterpiece, and what is the average game, which is overrated so much.
Pros and cons? The art work is good, but not great, and together with pretty well sound they make a fake good impression, which throws sand in your eyes.
Extremely bad story, which is full of nonsense, cliches, stupid and not interesting characters. The tons of dialogues are so long, bad and silly, that you don't have any emotional connection to the characters. The story "selections" are fake, despite of the developer's statements. Cut scenes are the worst part of game along with copy-paste battles, which doesn't make any sense to enjoy it. Gameplay looks like casual RPG, with no fresh or even good ideas, just upgrade a couple of skills, add some items to your heroes and look after the "caravan", which is useless.
Don't buy this game, it's so overrated and overpriced, that makes some strange feelings about the whole game industry, which produces for example a better story in shooters, like the last Wolfenstein (seriously!), than in "indie game of mankind" - Banner Saga. I hope more people to have a better art taste and don't just look to some "game experts" silly opinions.… Expand