Metascore
80

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

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 433 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
    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: 73 out of 114
  2. Negative: 21 out of 114
  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) Expand
  2. 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
  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. Feb 1, 2014
    8
    This 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
  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, 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
  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 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. Feb 21, 2014
    0
    The 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. Expand

See all 114 User Reviews