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Metascore
80

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

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 731 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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The Banner Saga - Rough Guide to Travel
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: 89 out of 159
  2. Negative: 28 out of 159
  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. 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 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 Expand
  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. Jul 30, 2017
    8
    I think that this is truly a unique game and I would recommend that if you are a fan of this type of genre then I think you should give thisI think that this is truly a unique game and I would recommend that if you are a fan of this type of genre then I think you should give this game a try. Expand
  5. Aug 25, 2014
    7
    Not really a Viking X-Com I was hoping for, but definitely interesting and unique piece well worth playing. The start is a bit slow, game isNot really a Viking X-Com I was hoping for, but definitely interesting and unique piece well worth playing. The start is a bit slow, game is doing quite a poor job in immersing you right away in it's story, throwing tons of viking names at you, not really knowing who you are or what's going on, but you slowly get a grip, learn the game mechanics, and by the time the story switches from the viking bunch to the eastern storyline with the dad and daughter, things get much better. Challenging turn-based tactical battles, beautiful visuals and amazing music. Very unique flavor is gathered in the sections of the game where your caravan is traveling the beautiful northern lands, visiting old god stones, where you have to make important decisions, quite a memorable adventure there. Despite it's slow start, quite short length overall and some of the budget shortcomings such as no voice-overs, I was pretty happy with The Banner Saga in the end. 7/10 Expand
  6. Mar 9, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I wanted to like this game. I should have liked this game. But it wasn't much fun.

    I like indies. I like vikings. I like turn-based tactical games. I like deep worlds. I like the art style. All the pieces were right, but they didn't come together into an enjoyable game experience.

    The story violated most of the basic rules of narrative structure. It jumped back and forth between two groups of characters without any sense of how they were connected. I didn't know which characters I was supposed to identify with or care about. Nobody had a character arc. Nobody was on a hero's journey. One character unavoidably lost an arm, while another died at the end. I didn't care. There's a villain to fight at the end, but we never saw much of him or learned much about him. The plot is full of loose threads and unexplained ****

    The devs spent a lot of time on the world map, which was full of elaborate history and descriptions. But the map was slow to load, and it had no impact whatsoever on the gameplay. The game runs on rails. The few times you get an illusion of choice on where to go, the map isn't available to help you decide.

    The Oregon-Trail aspect of the game is a trap for the unwary. You must choose between spending limited points on better stats for your fighters and food for your mass of followers. Metacritic reviewers report that feeding your followers has no impact on the game's outcome. You can apparently let your followers starve and finish the game just fine.

    This game's main strength is the turn-based tactics system, which is distinctive but not very deep. The combat is not tied to any underlying reality. It's not simulating anything. For example, you can attack someone's health, which reduces their ability to do damage and brings them closer to death. Or you can attack their armor, which means that subsequent attacks can do more damage to their health. I couldn't imagine how a warrior could swing a sword one way to break armor, then a different way to damage health. I got no immersion from the combat system. It was just a logic puzzle to be solved. And the final battle is stupidly difficult on normal. I didn't bother finishing it.

    The art is truly beautiful. Kudos to the artist. I didn't mind the many walking scenes that were designed to emphasize the smallness of the characters against the vastness of the wilderness. When the world began to literally fall apart, I felt the loss of beauty. If you don't slow down to enjoy the art, you're missing the best part of the game.
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  7. Aug 5, 2018
    0
    The game constantly stops on loading screens, making it borderline unplayable. Not much of a surprise considering the developer but stillThe game constantly stops on loading screens, making it borderline unplayable. Not much of a surprise considering the developer but still makes this game a complete waste of money.
    This game has the best story of any game I've played in a very long time. Just for that it's definitely worth it and the choices are well implemented. Making you think about every choice and hoping you didn't do the wrong thing. Of course there is the amazing looking Artwork, which definitely ups the games points.
    Sadly the gameplay is just boring. The tactical combat is about as simple as you can make it and unless you're playing at a high difficulty it's pretty easy. There is very little room for creativity on the side of the player, after a bit every fight is pretty much exactly the same unless it has some gimmick. Think the second South Park game.
    The world map is the most boring thing ever. You just watch your little caravan move and wait for some decision to interrupt the boredom.
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See all 159 User Reviews