Generally favorable reviews - based on 74 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 450 Ratings

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  • Summary: Live through an epic role-playing Viking saga where your strategic choices directly affect your personal journey. Make allies as you travel with your caravan across this stunning yet harsh landscape. Carefully choose those who will help fight a new threat that jeopardizes an entire civilization.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 74
  2. Negative: 0 out of 74
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    The Banner Saga is blindingly lovely and arguably just as intriguing to play. Built atop a world that all but demands the attention of travel documentaries, it's epic in the literal sense of the word.
  2. Jan 14, 2014
    The cast is plausible and the art is nothing short of exceptional, and everything is molded in a coherent, fascinating experience. A great result from Stoic that puts some brilliant out-of-the-box thinking and sheer creativity to good use.
  3. Jan 22, 2014
    A great tactical RPG coming from a forgotten era of videogaming, with a brilliant art style and a melancholic story.
  4. Jan 20, 2014
    Banner Saga is a fascinating trip to Norse mythology. Half leg deep in snow, you will enjoy your wars, dilemmas and also emotions, all in its graceful audiovisuals. Several of its flaws and ambiguities are not worth mentioning. You should not miss this visual novel.
  5. Feb 12, 2014
    There are definitely some mechanics to be fixed, namely the monotony of the combat, but I enjoyed my time in this bleak world thoroughly.
  6. Feb 5, 2014
    With an inspiring art direction, a relentless but interesting game design and a good combat system, The Banner Saga only suffers from a lack of variety in its fighting scenarios and its slow caravan sequences. This solid Kickstarter game shows its pedigree but some players might not get charmed by its particular setting.
  7. Feb 7, 2014
    Its stripped down battle system and low production values have a huge impact on the overall quality of Stoics game, a game that has a unique charm but cannot earn a place next to the best "tactics" games whether they are "indie/ kickstarter" projects or not.

See all 74 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 78 out of 121
  2. Negative: 22 out of 121
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    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) Expand
  2. Feb 19, 2014
    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) 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
  3. Jan 16, 2014
    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."
  4. Jun 28, 2014
    Good, 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.
  5. Feb 1, 2014
    The 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. Expand
  6. Jan 17, 2014
    I 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.
  7. Sep 6, 2014
    to much to read....... great fights but this reading...... has this game failed to me
    pls make somehting like that with voice acting or less story...

See all 121 User Reviews