Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic 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. Jan 25, 2016
    85
    The console version of The Banner Saga is exactly the same as the one arrived on PC two years ago. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners will be surely glad to have the chance to play this game.
  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 12, 2016
    85
    The Banner Saga has so much charisma that it still feels special these days. It's challenging, even rough, but the experience is unique and worth your time.
  5. 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.
  6. 85
    A riotous, non-linear RPG with great turn-based battles and a delectable 1980’s style cartoon veneer, The Banner Saga is the first truly essential strategy title on PS4.
  7. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Mar 7, 2016
    80
    Newly fashioned turn-by-turn combat elements, meaningful narrative choices and glorious bears make this Scandi strategy title an exciting breath of fresh air. [March 2016, p.94]
  8. Feb 26, 2016
    80
    The Banner Saga can be unforgiving at times but it is worth all the effort.
  9. Feb 8, 2016
    80
    The Banner Saga's strong narrative, exquisite visual design and distinctive thematic approach to RPGs coupled with its insistence on making every decision and conversation have an impact on player experience make it a must-buy for Strategy-RPG fans.
  10. Feb 2, 2016
    80
    A port that does the original release justice, The Banner Saga is just as much of a wonderful experience on PS4 as it was on PC.
  11. 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.
  12. Jan 25, 2016
    80
    Overall, The Banner Saga is a welcome addition to the burgeoning PlayStation Network library.
  13. 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.
  14. Jan 18, 2016
    80
    The Banner Saga is for those who love having control of their narrative, weighing the risks and rewards, and seeing the outcomes.
  15. 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.
  16. Jan 14, 2016
    80
    It might lack the polish, budget and variety found in BioWare’s big budget work, but this group of highly motivated ex-BioWare developers have created something special all the same, something built out of passion and a will to do something new.
  17. Jan 12, 2016
    80
    It makes one or two minor stumbles along the way, but The Banner Saga continues to stand tall two years after its original release. Empowered a truly jaw-dropping art direction and the masterful audio work of composer Austin Wintory, Stoic’s plans to expand the franchise are certainly justifiable.
  18. Jan 12, 2016
    80
    Get used to the clumsy controls and The Banner Saga is a great role-playing ride right the way through to its conclusion.
  19. Feb 4, 2016
    70
    Despite spending most of my play time watching characters talk or travel from one side of the screen to the other, The Banner Saga includes an enthralling narrative and makes use of some inventive combat mechanics.
  20. Jan 13, 2016
    70
    I certainly found more here to enjoy than I expected, and at times it's riveting stuff, but my interest frequently dwindled as turn-based fatigue rose.
  21. 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.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 102 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 102
  2. Negative: 11 out of 102
  1. Jan 17, 2016
    7
    The Banner Saga has an amazing art style that reminded me of a classic disney-esque or 80's cartoon type style. The game is drawn beautifully.The Banner Saga has an amazing art style that reminded me of a classic disney-esque or 80's cartoon type style. The game is drawn beautifully. Dialogue is well done, and having choices is always a plus. XCOM-style strategy/tile turn-based combat is one of my favorite types of combat so that being in this game was a blast. The only knock on the combat is it didn't feature much in the way of obstacles like XCOM, it was always just an open square where you had to just place your guys in the right places and hope you didn't get surrounded. This also made retreat almost useless, so really all you could do is line them up and smash each other until you won or lost. Great story though, and a truly solid game overall. I would recommend The Banner Saga to anyone interested in Norse mythology/history, or to anyone who is a fan of turn-based RPGs or strategy type games.

    7.8/10
    Full Review »
  2. 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.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 3, 2019
    8
    The Banner Saga is remarkable example of humble game that knows its limits and thus provide a consistent gameplay that shines at everyThe Banner Saga is remarkable example of humble game that knows its limits and thus provide a consistent gameplay that shines at every presented aspect. Is this a BioWare experience or something else but Stoic Studio managed to create THE only game that worths more than Kickstarter crowd has invested in it.

    TBS tells us the first part of trilogy about ‘End Times’. Set in fantasy Norse world, we follow the journey of two characters as they travel across the continent. On the west, Varl Vognir and his troupe escort human prince to the capital to make an alliance between races. The Varl are horned battle-hardened giants that are slowly dying out. On the west, huntsman Rook leading his villagers away from the horde of dredge, another race, that for unknown reason commenced a large-scaled assault on varl and humans.
    All and all story of the Banner Saga is gorgeous and elegant. It does not try to be pretentious and yet it build a fabulous realistic epic full of mystery and lore. But this is subjective. What is objective is that TBS knows the measure. It does not flood you with oceans of text pouring from any edifice. Dialogues are short and meaningful merging perfectly with ongoing events.
    The visuals are adding up to this effect. Well, sure, it is a mostly text-based game: you will be watching the caravan movement from portrait view and reading event texts and dialogues, sometimes accompanied with closeup view. But the drawing is beautiful and stylish. At certain degree it delivers more pleasure than another 3D world with its limitations. What does NOT deliver me any pleasure is the lack of voice acting. At first, the silence of closeup dialogues was even getting on my nerves, somehow.

    Gameplay is split between caravan-story mode and tactical turn-based combat. Caravan mode is a survival text-adventure with emphasis on choices-consequences. The player is watching the caravan movement and observe the state of three parameters: morale, population, and supplies. Each day the caravan consumes supplies. If supplies run out people will start to die. Morale decreases with time and improves on resting (if people not starving). It affects events and willpower in combat. To tell the truth, population does not affect gameplay much. You can let your clansmen die and it won’t hinder your walkthrough. But nevertheless I label the caravan management good because it entertaining purely by itself. It fits with into the story so nicely that you just starting to care about these non-existing countrymen as the game progresses.
    But the gem of the caravan mode is events. Regularly you, as leader, will have to deal with numerous kinds of situation that occur during travels. The treasure wagon is falling down a cliff and your faithful bodyguard is the only force pulling it back. Let go? Help him? Believe in him? Think of other solution? Let me tell you: the choices are very ambiguous. In fact, sometimes they are so ambiguous that outcomes may look artificial, and thus - frustrating. But still, TBS choice and consequence event system is the best implementation out there, far superior than, say, precursor the Walking Dead. It is because it is realistic and genuine. It rewards prudent actions with goodness and shortsighted - with meaningness.
    The foundation of combat is armor-strength(health) system. You can hit strength but damage number will be reduced by armor value. One interesting detail that strength servers both as attack value and health value. Experience is called renown and goes into leveling up, which gives points for distribution. Renown is earned via combat and events. It also serves as currency to buy supplies and artifacts. Ah! Who are heroes? Heroes are various companions who can join you as playable NPCs. Each hero has unique active ability and class, which provides a common passive ability and define a general role.
    The system was outlined. Is it good? Yes. The “strength is both attack and health” adds incredible depth to the combat. The fight are well designed. There are (almost) no cheesy tactics. There are many heroes so there are many team setups. Some of them are completely opposite in playstyle, none of them are OP. There are no useless skills. The AI has incredibly good implementation of “general” actions. It all (especially first clause) results in fun, enjoyable and challenging combat. But there are downsides too. Firstly, AI does not take into computation skill effects and items at all. It can be exploited heavily. Secondly, there are very few types of enemies. Thirdly: round-robin. Specifically in TBS it turn the end of the battles into total mess.

    The Banner Saga is fresh experience, made with care and passion. It based upon existing devices but, at the same, time remains independent and proud. But the most remarkable achievement of Stoic Studio is ability to cross off: they don’t tell you nothing about nothing, they only tell you the truth.

    8/10
    Full Review »