The Banner Saga PC

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80

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

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 672 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.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 74
  2. Negative: 0 out of 74
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    100
    The Banner Saga is blindingly lovely and arguably just as intriguing to play. Built atop a world that all but demands the attention of travel documentaries, it's epic in the literal sense of the word.
  2. Jan 14, 2014
    90
    The cast is plausible and the art is nothing short of exceptional, and everything is molded in a coherent, fascinating experience. A great result from Stoic that puts some brilliant out-of-the-box thinking and sheer creativity to good use.
  3. Jan 22, 2014
    87
    A great tactical RPG coming from a forgotten era of videogaming, with a brilliant art style and a melancholic story.
  4. Jan 20, 2014
    80
    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
    80
    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
    78
    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
    50
    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: 82 out of 151
  2. Negative: 28 out of 151
  1. Jan 14, 2014
    10
    The Banner Saga is such an incredible tactic game. It´s by far the best game i have backed on Kickstarter. It a must have if you like tacticThe Banner Saga is such an incredible tactic game. It´s by far the best game i have backed on Kickstarter. It a must have if you like tactic combat game. And it´s a real choose - consequence game (not like TWD) Expand
  2. 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 managementThis 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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  3. 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 BannerThis 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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  4. Dec 20, 2015
    8
    For much of this game I wanted to give it a 9. I was hooked in a way that it rare for me. I was in awe of what this game forced me to do butFor much of this game I wanted to give it a 9. I was hooked in a way that it rare for me. I was in awe of what this game forced me to do but towards the end I took a step back and realized many of it's flaws.

    What is this game?: Imagine Oregon Trail and tactical rpg battles with a backdrop of norse inspired mythology that transpires like a text based adventure. You are the leader of a caravan of men and varl (giants with horns) and you are on the run. You need to manage supplies, leveling up your characters, and like a telltale game you make decisions that can large effects on your caravan and the characters. The decisions are not black and white. Stopping to drink can boost morale but eat up supplies. Helping a stranger can backfire or he/she can become a valuable part of your group.

    Pros:
    -You feel the weight of your decisions. Characters you don't expect to be able to die can die. I found myself wondering about the choices I made and how they led to the death of one of my favorite characters.
    -And the game does a good job at discouraging you from simply reloading after anything negative happens. There are no manual saves only auto-saves and if you want to reload the game forces you to replay the battle before your decision.

    So/sos:
    -The combat system has revolves around strength and armor. Strength is not only attack damage but also health. Armor is what you imagine armor to be and you can either do strength damage or armor damage. The unique tactical aspects come from deciding whether to whittle down armor so the the enemy can go down easier or attack for strength damage so his attacks hurt you less. At least in theory this true. Practically it is almost always preferable to do armor breaking damage and then strength damage.
    -Every character has a special ability however only a handful are actually useful.
    -Renown (your currency) is accrued through battle and good decisions. You can use it to either buy food for the caravan or level up a character. However if that character that you leveled up dies you don't get a reimbursement of renown. This could be viewed negatively or simply as keeping up with games feel of attrition.

    Cons:
    -No negative effects to letting your caravan starve.
    -Bland writing that feels anachronistic even though it's not an historical time.
    -Ending falls emotionally flat. Catharsis please!

    Overall:
    -I am psyched for the next installment in the trilogy. I have faith that this may be the mass effect 1 to the next games mass effect 2. Elements are here for a great success and I am excited to see if they improve.
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  5. Jan 22, 2014
    7
    First off, I'll say I mostly enjoyed this game and played it through while putting it down very infrequently. The music is excellent, theFirst 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.
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  6. Mar 13, 2014
    5
    The 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 concernedThe 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
  7. Sep 6, 2014
    0
    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 151 User Reviews