- Summary: Bold leadership decisions, wise use of resources, and skillful battle tactics are vital to ensure your Viking clans make it through alive. If played, your choices will carry over from the first game, or you can start fresh with new preset characters.
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Banner Saga 2 - Launch Trailer
Aug 31, 2016Follow up and continuation of the story from the first Banner Saga more of the same with a little more polish to the gameplay and graphicsFollow up and continuation of the story from the first Banner Saga more of the same with a little more polish to the gameplay and graphics story remains compelling and interesting and certainly has me looking forward to the 3rd entry in the trilogy… Expand
Jul 12, 2016An excellent follow up to the genre-splicing first game. Banner Saga 2 continues the trend for split narratives/protagonists, plenty ofAn excellent follow up to the genre-splicing first game. Banner Saga 2 continues the trend for split narratives/protagonists, plenty of heart-breaking 'lesser of two evil' choices to make, and great tactical battles. The ending felt a little rushed and clumsy, but oh boy does it set things up for the 3rd.… Expand
Feb 7, 2019The Banner Saga splendor remains unabated in the second part of the story. Elegant narrative, harsh event driven caravan travel and entracingThe Banner Saga splendor remains unabated in the second part of the story. Elegant narrative, harsh event driven caravan travel and entracing tactical combat: all remains unchanged. Same goes for minor setbacks too, unfortunately.
The Banner Saga picks up the tale directly where the predecessor left it so don’t even try to play TBS2 before the first one: it is a pure interconnected story, intended as one but separated due to production necessities. As before, we have two POV character leading poor folk from encroaching armies of dredge and ‘darkness’. One hero is imported from previous game and so is well-known to the player. The other is new: leader of mercenary band “Ravens”, merciless but dutiful varl Bolveric. He and his band will be the primary source of new faces, all with some quirks, of course, but it is what makes the story interesting. Bolveric himself delivers a refreshing contrast: his outlook on ongoing chaos and the world is differs from average hero.
But these are tiny changes in picture that is very well known from previous installment. But do not take it as downside. No no no no. TBS2 masterfully expand the lore and concepts started in TBS1. The visuals are as beautiful as before, the world is charming and impending as before. And each new piece to the mosaic of Saga is original: no trace of exhaustion, repetition or grayness. They don’t forget about past heroes too: there are plenty of character who could have died in the previous game but they are still here, with you, and they talk! They have content like any other hero. It’s a very nice touch.
The gameplay remains the same. There are literally no drastic alterations here. Some quality but, mostly, quantity. This is a tactical game based on classes and skills so they added new classes, skills and enemies. All skills and classes are usable and not game breaking. Yet, funnily, the amount of heroes is so huge now that you will probably stick to employ only third of them and, probably, ones from the previous game. Ah! One incredibly pleasing note: the game imports all of your heroes and items like they were at the end of TBS1, which is not only advantage gameplay-wise but also strengthen the perception of TBS as whole ceaseless piece.
Some people claim that TBS2 can become trivial at certain conditions but I disagree (or I’m a noob). TBS2 has the perfect difficulty throughout all the campaign. It is not annoying punisher but not a brainless ‘attack randomly, you will win anyway’ either. The armor-strength system remains balanced and smart as before. Yet there are some dead ends. Stoic Studio didn’t broaden the characters stats but added talent system which is lackluster. Talents are passive abilities you can improve upon maxing corresponding stat. For example, upon maxing strength you can choose between crit chance or chance to avoid attack. The key word here is ‘chance’. Completely randomless system of TBS was intentionally tainted. And the most terrible side of it is that talents are extremely weak. When in the first game every level up was bringing joy and tangible improvements, in TBS2 you will quickly encounter the situation where leveling would give you close to naught. Disappointing.
Other disappointment is that AI was not fixed at all. It still does not take into computation skills and artefacts. And, sorry, but it is very poignant. Like when you fight hard and suddenly realize that some stupid machine plays better than you… until it moves six squares with bleeding unit with six hp… And this is the only real con of the TBS2. My other criticism is more like cavils to impeccable game. But lack of improvements on AI front is a real problem.
Caravan management is… the same. Yes, no surprises here. Ah, wait. Now clansmen can gather food by themselves. In fact, it almost eliminates food management. I don’t know why they eased our lives so much, TBS1 seemed perfectly balanced to me. The meaning behind fighter and varl numbers is even greater mystery than before because the count of text battles was greatly reduced for unknown reason.
And, finally, events. They are as ingenious as always. Still the game taunt us with suspicious strangers, hidden paths, daring shortcuts, lesser evil decisions and still it surprises with outcomes. No amount of wisdom will save you from at least few setbacks but at the same time don’t be afraid to act: kindness is repaid with kindness! Yet I must admit: I am starting to observe the tendency of Stoic Studio to penalize players. They put more bad choices than good ones. But they don’t make them look very clever. At times choice-outcome pairs look completely random and not logical at all.
The end is near and I weep: The Banner Saga is heartfelt adventure of immaculate quality. I subtract one point from TBS2 rating due to lack objective improvements but joy of playing it is vast if not vaster. Let’s see what’s The Banner Saga 3 will bring us.