User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 469 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 469

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  1. Jan 14, 2014
    10
    The Banner Saga is such an incredible tactic game. It´s by far the best game i have backed on Kickstarter. It a must have if you like tactic combat game. And it´s a real choose - consequence game (not like TWD)
  2. Jan 16, 2014
    9
    I 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."
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  3. Jan 15, 2014
    9
    This 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
  4. Jan 14, 2014
    10
    The 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.
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  5. Jan 14, 2014
    10
    It 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!
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  6. Jan 15, 2014
    10
    One 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.
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  7. Jan 16, 2014
    10
    Long 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.
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  8. Jan 16, 2014
    9
    I 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).

    ---
    On Combat:
    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.

    ---
    Strengths:
    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.

    Weakness:
    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.
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  9. Jan 18, 2014
    10
    The 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.
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  10. Jan 16, 2014
    10
    The 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 :)
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  11. Jan 17, 2014
    9
    The 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.
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  12. Jan 15, 2014
    9
    The 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.
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  13. Jan 24, 2014
    10
    This 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.
  14. Jan 15, 2014
    10
    Fantastic 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
  15. Jan 17, 2014
    10
    arguably 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 ..
  16. Jan 16, 2014
    10
    This game is a real gem. It played like a good book. Once I picked it up, I simply couldnt stop. If you decide to play the game, never reload a save no matter what. Just play through.
  17. Jan 18, 2014
    10
    A 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
  18. Feb 26, 2014
    10
    Not 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.
  19. Jan 21, 2014
    10
    This 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
  20. Jan 18, 2014
    10
    Great 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.
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  21. Mar 1, 2014
    9
    This 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.
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  22. Jan 27, 2014
    10
    pro:
    + beautiful art and music
    + well-designed combat system
    + your choices DO have consequences
    + immersive story
    + not post-apocalypse, but the beginning of the end

    con:
    - lack of voice acting
    - very hardcore (some might consider it a pro)
  23. Jan 18, 2014
    9
    The 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.
  24. Jan 22, 2014
    9
    Solid 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
  25. Jan 22, 2014
    10
    After 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
  26. Jan 23, 2014
    10
    This 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.
  27. Feb 19, 2014
    10
    I 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
  28. Jan 15, 2014
    10
    I'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.
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  29. Jan 19, 2014
    10
    I'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
  30. Jan 19, 2014
    10
    This 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.
  31. Jan 21, 2014
    9
    This 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.
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  32. Jan 26, 2014
    10
    The 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
  33. Feb 2, 2014
    10
    I 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
  34. Feb 12, 2014
    10
    Some one needs to make Peter Jackson play this game. Because this is game needs to become a movie! Directed by Jackson it will be the next LOTR. YES THE STORY IS THAT GOOD!
  35. May 26, 2014
    10
    This is a great game; reminded me of many of the tactics games that I used to love on play station and pc. If you like these types of games, this one is as good as any. The artwork graphics is amazing and the storyline is solid
  36. Jan 21, 2014
    9
    Its 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.
    - Story.
    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.
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  37. Jun 21, 2014
    10
    This 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 :-)
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  38. Feb 22, 2014
    9
    If 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.
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  39. Oct 15, 2014
    9
    Good story. Interesting combat. Great art. Fairly short. There isn't that much more to say about this game. It entertained me fully and at the end I wanted more. This is definitely worth a pass.
  40. Sep 10, 2014
    9
    honestly this is one of the best stories I've had the pleasure of interacting with
    game play might need a little more balancing but the story is beautiful
    its one of those games you are going to remember
  41. Jan 22, 2014
    9
    This 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
  42. Sep 21, 2014
    10
    Probably the best game of last 10 years. Great story, great tactic, original combat system. However young gamers and casuals may have some problems using brain during this game.
  43. Feb 11, 2014
    9
    A 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
  44. Feb 6, 2014
    9
    The 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.
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  45. Mar 24, 2014
    9
    A charming and thoughtful little game. Emphasis on story, and decision-making although I found the combat quite enjoyable too. Not quite like anything I have played before, and a definite recommend.
  46. Feb 20, 2014
    9
    The 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.
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  47. Jan 25, 2014
    9
    Beautiful journey into Nordic world in a game of quest/rpg/tactics fused together on a whole new level of quality, never experienced before. Simple, yet so powerful - the way the proper PC game is supposed to be. More, please.
  48. Feb 6, 2014
    9
    This game is amazing. Compelling story-line, difficult choices with tangible consequences, interest and tactical combat, outstanding music. The music might actually be the best part of this game. It just takes all the other elements, which are great in their own right, and ties them together in a powerful way.

    With all that being said I hope to see some enchantments as more episodes
    come out (I think this is an episode based game? if not then it certainly ends abruptly). The leveling system is good but perhaps a little basic. It stood out to me as a feature that could easily be improved.

    TLDR: I made a metacritic account to rate this game because i was pretty much blown away by how entertaining it was.
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  49. Mar 5, 2014
    9
    This is quite simply the most beautiful game I have ever played... Visually sublime and hauntingly scored. Now about 40% of the way through the story, the biggest problem I have with the game is the fact that it will end! A 9/10 because nothing is perfect.
  50. Jul 21, 2014
    9
    The Banner Saga entführt euch in eine wunderbare Mythenwelt, die sich sehr an nordischen Sagen orientiert. Ihr bestimmt das Schicksal einer Karawane, führt Schlachten mit euren Hedlen im Rundenmodus und versucht zu erreichen, dass möglichst viele eurer Begleiter überleben. Das Spiel stellt euch vor manch schwierige Entscheidung, und deren Konsequenzen sind nicht immer sofort absehbar. So können von euch gut gemeinte Entscheidungen doch zu einer anderen Katastrophe führen. Diese Entscheidungen, die das Spiel so prägen, machen es auch nach mehrmaligem Durchspielen nicht langweilig. Die Grafik ist comichaft, aber zugleich sehr ernst gestalten und erleichtet einem das Versinken in diese traumhafte Fantasywelt. Expand
  51. Aug 24, 2014
    10
    The Banner Saga is one of those games that will stick with you for a lifetime. The setting of the game, combined with unique turn based combat is simply amazing. Growing up and playing games like FF tactics, Tactics Ogre: let us cling together, and advanced wars I can safely say this game is a MUST buy if you like any of the games I listed. This games shines the most on the hardest difficulties, the decisions you make WILL impact the rest of your play through. The combat is very challenging even when you find your favorite group of members to use one wrong move can and will cost you the fight. Decision making is extremely important, it can cost certain characters their lives and this means you may have spent a lot of time upgrading them only to see them fall permanently. With all of the mainstream games out there that aren't delivering The Banner Saga shines its brightest. I have played many games and paid the 59.99 only to put 8-12 hours in but I have over 80 in the banner saga! There are always different ways to play though the game. If you are on the fence at all about this game do yourself a favor and buy it, I guarantee you won't be disappointed, the developers are engaged in what the community has to say and between their team of 3 members they take active feedback and actually care about what their fans want! Expand
  52. Aug 25, 2014
    9
    Signed up specifically to write a review for this game. This is a kickstarter game and is a very good game, one of the best I have played in recent years. The story is great and the combat is fun. There can be many things added to this game to make it even better, but the game was great and I am not sure how it is rated under an 8 from anyone that is objective in their reviews. Looking forward to banner saga 2! Expand
  53. Sep 21, 2014
    9
    Owning over 200 games in all genres I don't get to play through a lot of them, if at all.
    When I gave this a try it took me about an hour to get into it and it didn't let go of me untill the end credits.
    Wonderfully original, beautifully realised and truely inspired!! There are a few things that could be fixed in, I hope, a sequel. I don't know what the use is of keeping your fighters
    and caravan alive cause I finished with just my heroes and I didn't see any consequences for that. Only early on I needed them for a few army fights. Expand
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 74 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 74
  2. Negative: 0 out of 74
  1. May 11, 2014
    85
    Banner Saga is a fine - but towards the end a bit repetitive - turn-based viking adventure. [Feb 2014]
  2. Mar 12, 2014
    80
    It's an outstanding start for a trilogy, and one that we can't wait to see to its end. [Issue#145, p.116]
  3. Mar 9, 2014
    80
    A fantastic combination of fantasy storytelling and RPG tactics. One hell of a debut from Stoic. [Apr 2014, p.62]