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Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critic Reviews What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 119 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Banner Saga is a single player driven Viking saga in which a player’s choice in travel, conversation and combat determines the outcome of her own personal story as well as the survival of an entire civilization.

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The Banner Saga - Mobile Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Jan 11, 2016
    90
    An impressive RTS that offers a well written story, magnificent visuals and a stunning soundtrack that will stay with you long after playing.
  2. 85
    The combat, while a little uneven difficulty-wise across the game’s campaign, nevertheless manages to hit the sweet spot between simple accessibility and strategic depth.
  3. Jan 18, 2016
    85
    Despite its confusing beginning, we want to keep walking these northern lands like our heroes: suffering all kinds of hardships, but with a light heart.
  4. Jan 15, 2016
    80
    Two years after its’ premiere The Banner Saga still is a creative example for a well conceived mix of art design, storytelling and turn-based tactics well worth an award – this is chess with drama, battles and consequences. But technical problems and the occasional bug make sure show that the console version is not as polished as the PC brother – too bad.
  5. Jan 27, 2016
    80
    The strategy battles are addictive and feature many different units with unique abilities. If you are a patient person that likes this type of lore and gameplay style, The Banner Saga delivers on what it set out to accomplish.
  6. Jan 22, 2016
    80
    Stoic’s tactical RPG The Banner Saga makes its way to consoles, and still manages to deliver a fantastic, captivating story alongside a fun and challenging battle system.
  7. Jan 12, 2016
    70
    Some of the most difficult decision-making in gaming, both tactically and morally, but occasional rough edges betray the game’s small budget and short development time.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Jul 27, 2020
    10
    Aquí está un juego de estrategia que no es muy complejo tiene excelente historia, música y gameplay.
  2. May 26, 2016
    10
    I remember the feeble whispers travel through the vast quiet, creating a tender melody in their wake. I remember the ravenous night basking inI remember the feeble whispers travel through the vast quiet, creating a tender melody in their wake. I remember the ravenous night basking in aged candles’ shimmers as I walked to the wing chairs in front of the fireplace. I remember the person next me wearing an earnest expression as I silently sat down. After a few moments had past, he turned and asked me if I would like to hear about legends of yore. I tacitly nodded in agreement and he went on to speak of humble men who traveled and fought across the lands to protect those dear to them, of heroes who sacrificed sweat and blood to stand against peril, of harsh choices to be made and crippling losses to endure, of faint hope and the distant promise of salvation.
    His voice, somber and heartfelt, as if he was recalling from memory. I remember hearing the sound of the burning timbers, watching the sparks engage in an intricate dance, and falling into reverie.
    This was my journey with the Banner Saga; a grand epic of all that is human, a masterful representation of our struggles with the world and our own emotions, a true testament that video games can accomplish more than any other medium. It is worthy of the greatest praise and approbation for achieving such feats. I expectantly await as the rest of this spectacular odyssey unfolds.
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  3. Jan 25, 2016
    9
    I absolutely love this game... I'll go so far as to say its one of my all time favorites. I've played through this game a few times now andI absolutely love this game... I'll go so far as to say its one of my all time favorites. I've played through this game a few times now and replaying a game is something I never do (except Tomb Raider, man I love that game), and to be honest that actually says a lot about this game. The tactical combat is addicting and story tears me every time. Plus, if lore is your thing then there's plenty of it. The thing however that I love the most is the Viking theme that is very central to this game.

    In my opinion this game is a perfect 10 but the reason I'm giving it a 9 is because this PS4 port sucks, not that it's bad or anything but this game is meant to be played on a PC. It's a tactical game and playing it with a controller doesn't feel right. Just go play this on a PC... even the **** PC's can run this.
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  4. Mar 8, 2016
    8
    Here's everything you need to know:

    This is a strategy game in the same genre as Fire Emblem or XCOM. You manage a squad of members as you
    Here's everything you need to know:

    This is a strategy game in the same genre as Fire Emblem or XCOM. You manage a squad of members as you trek away from impending doom as a result of the sun suddenly stopping in the sky.

    You fight battles with up to 6 members at a time as you try to balance good leadership decisions with maintaining food for the caravan and what to do with the strays and thieves you discover en-route.

    The only perma-death you encounter is solely reliant on the text choices you make (they cannot die in battle), which would make the combat feel empty if it wasn't for the ranking system. You need to reach kill milestones in order to allow your characters to level up, and each person can hold one item. The strategy and the depth that occurs just from those two elements becomes complex if you're a person looking to maximize efficiency and spend an extra handful of hours to plan out how to best utilize your characters.

    While there is no perma-death, if a teammate dies in combat they will have a health penalty if they are not fully healed before the next battle. The rate of the healing process is defined by the difficulty level you choose.

    I have two complaints: the game is short and there are too few battles. There are 7 chapters, but the first two are basically tutorials that mix explaining lore with explaining the game mechanics, and also briefly covers the consequences of your choices. Chapters 3-5 is the bulk of the game, and 6-7 involves the building up of the climax. Personally I found the ending to be too open-ended. But it didn't feel unsatisfactory due to a lack of plot, it just feels like the story was built to handle more information. It's presumably the end of the world, and the game leaves you and your caravan at its most vulnerable state. The dreariness has a feel of "there's something coming," and that atmosphere still lingers after credits. I was ready to take on more.

    Depending on how you play, there is only about 10-20 battles in the entire game. I appreciate games like this that don't implement cheap ways of keeping gamers busy or lengthening the game with ridiculous mechanics, but I was hoping for a more fleshed out, in-depth game that naturally lasts longer than this game did.

    TLDR: Buy this game if you are itching for a re-playable and appealing RPG strategy game, as long as you can overlook its less-appealing attributes (very short, less combat than expected, loose plot dynamics). The charm alone is what convinced me to play, and for some that's all you need. But for most, be prepared to buy the sequel for closure.
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  5. Aug 31, 2016
    8
    Likeable characters and a great Nordic themed story and world and add in some very fine turn based combat that is challenging but not to theLikeable characters and a great Nordic themed story and world and add in some very fine turn based combat that is challenging but not to the point were it becomes frustrating, you feel like you have accomplished something during combat, also add to the management of supplies and upgrading your key party members and you have a very good game. Expand
  6. Aug 4, 2019
    7
    The game has a distinctive art style and is by far the strongest part about the game. The combat system is simple, but has a lot of depth toThe game has a distinctive art style and is by far the strongest part about the game. The combat system is simple, but has a lot of depth to it. You might be able to win the first few battles with much thought, but strategy becomes imperative very quickly, which is good for this style of game.

    The UI for ps4 is a little clunky though. You decide on the actions you want to take with the left analogue stick and pressing x, but this is an awkward system. There were times where I accidentally chose an action that I did not intend. I don't see why they couldn't use simple button prompts or the d-pad for choosing an action within a list of actions. Moving your units during the pre-battle placement is also more cumbersome than it should.

    There is also only one currency in the game that determines how much food and items you can buy and to upgrade your characters. However, this resource is quite scarce. This would be good to make the world seem harsh and the journey a struggle, but there is a lot of meaningful consequences for letting your people starve. They could make the punishment more harsh or create a more substantial benefit for keeping your people well fed to make this choice more compelling.
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  7. Dec 1, 2020
    4
    Price:
    First and foremost the 3 banner saga is but one game with around 20 hour playtime each, and with one story. Selling them separately is
    Price:
    First and foremost the 3 banner saga is but one game with around 20 hour playtime each, and with one story. Selling them separately is just money-grabbing consider the price of the 3 when you make your decision.

    Battles (Turn-based strategy):
    It has one interesting aspect: the strength is both your health and your damage stat so the current health of a character is equal to the damage it deals with an attack (against health). You also have armor, and the damage one character takes is lowered by the flat amount of armor it has. Means you always have to decide either to go for breaking armor (in order to be able to deal higher damages for health later) or try to damage their health while they have higher armor in order to lower their damage output sooner. Otherwise every character has only 1 ability at the first game and 2 from the second which is a bit underwhelming, and there is also very very (very) low variety in enemy and terrain-types. The difficulty level isn’t dull, but isn’t too challenging either (in the first game the first fight when I had to rethink one or two times was the last boss). All in all the Battles are fine and aren’t the weak part of the game.

    Decision-making:
    - It is real bad. Most of the time there isn’t any choice option that is close to what would you do in that situation. The decision-points feel far-fetched too often, the consequences are thoughtless and / or random, and worst of all: sometimes provably doesn’t matter. (when you have 6 choice in a dialogue, and eventually all get you the same results). In this regard nothing works like it should have. Eg. there are several decision points when you can recruit / allow people to join your caravan. If you do something unpopular or you run out of food then people start leaving. So the game expects you to feel like it somewhat good or ‘right’ to have a bigger caravan, but it gives you no actual benefits, on the contrary: you have to feed more people which isn’t easy. So the whole logic collapse. The game punishes you by taking away people from your caravan that has no benefits but eat a lot. (after 2 games they seem to have realised it too because at the third game these man are at least able to forage for food).

    *** spoiler ***
    Another taste of Banners Saga’s logic: There is a point where one of your man stabs you in the back and leave (with several of your soldiers) after a conversation. I reloaded several times to choose other dialog options but the results were the same. Then I looked thoroughly in the events leading to this (by replaying), and found nothing special really: He helped me against a guy that seemed crazy then join me. Some times before that there was some dialog when someone – out of the blue – said not to trust masked mans. Maybe that was the point when I should have been “””smart””” because the guy wears a common foot solder helmet that covers one third of his face? Or maybe the fact that his ability called “backstabbing”? The whole thing felt cheap, and I felt the same on several other occasions.
    ************

    Story:
    The main plot builds up some exciting threads, and made me curious but in the end left me disappointed. All in all the story is mediocre in my opinion.

    Atmosphere:
    At this point I feel particularly misled, because watching the intro of the game, it had a really cool atmosphere with several drawed-cartoonish cutscenes, and vivid music that I liked. But in reality, those are the only cutscenes in the game, and there aren’t even background music at most part, just the mind blowing, while your caravan traveling from A to B. No voice-acting either.
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See all 20 User Reviews