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76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 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 - In Memoriam Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jan 12, 2016
    90
    One of the best turn-based strategy games of recent times, which comes to consoles as an almost perfect adaptation.
  2. Jan 18, 2016
    80
    As a package, The Banner Saga is addictive, attractive, compelling, enjoyable, and truly challenging on the higher difficulty level.
  3. Jan 25, 2016
    80
    A rough, heavy, but beautiful story, with deep characters, a wonderful handmade graphics and an original lore. But it's not a game for everyone, with it's slow pace and tons of texts to read.
  4. Jan 17, 2016
    76
    An ambitious and fascinating game, The Banner Saga sports memorable characters and great visuals but turned out to be too unbalanced towards the dialogues and management components, to the detriment of the turn-based battles.
  5. Jan 25, 2016
    75
    The Banner Saga is a good game when it comes to it’s unique combat, art style, and atmospheric score but the awkward transition of the menus to console and the presentation of its plot hold it back from being great.
  6. Jan 19, 2016
    70
    It’s a wasted opportunity and that’s what disappoints me the most. Luckily, the story redeems the overall experience.
  7. Mar 27, 2016
    70
    Despite these drawbacks, The Banner Saga is still a solid tactical RPG with a charming art style and a story that, while initially daunting, eventually becomes manageable and memorable.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Feb 7, 2019
    10
    Banner Saga is a truly immersive game based on norse mythology. I was looking for mostly a challenging turn-based strategy game and this gameBanner Saga is a truly immersive game based on norse mythology. I was looking for mostly a challenging turn-based strategy game and this game definitely returns the favor (especially on hard - intended mode). I was surprised that by the end of the game, I knew all the characters very well due to the engrossing story and was immediately looking forward to the sequel and how the saga continues. Expand
  2. Dec 12, 2018
    10
    Banner saga renews the turn-based strategy games with new mechanics and ideas. In addition, it has one of the most incredible andBanner saga renews the turn-based strategy games with new mechanics and ideas. In addition, it has one of the most incredible and thought-provoking stories ever written for a game. Expand
  3. Aug 7, 2016
    9
    Banner Saga is proof that there are great ideas on Kickstarter and they will be completed. Financially backed by hundreds of people makingBanner Saga is proof that there are great ideas on Kickstarter and they will be completed. Financially backed by hundreds of people making donations, Banner Saga was developed by Stoic. Stoic is a 3 person team and the game was published by Versus Evil, another very small company, led by a former Bethesda employee.

    The game is heavily Viking themed. There are two parts to the game play. First is the side scrolling storytelling and decision making part. Second is a turn based, top down, board game-esque, Dungeons and Dragons style combat. You play from the points of view of a handful of heroes who are trying to get to safety as the world around them comes to an end. In this game you have to make what seem like very easy decisions up to world changing decisions. An example of this is choosing to turn away or embrace a group of thieves who want to join your caravan. The world is ending, you’re horribly outnumbered and need anyone who’s willing to help. Unfortunately even during the worst of times, terrible people often don’t change who they are. The thieves may simply want to join you for an easy score.

    The antagonists in this game are a race of stone men called the Dredge. They suddenly begin a massive invasion that sweeps the entire continent into chaos. As the protagonist you’re trying to get your people to safety. Every encounter gets more desperate as you have fewer fighters and Dredge armies multiply. If their thick armor and massive numbers aren’t bad enough, they also have immortal champions that can single handedly win battles.

    As the protagonist you have two races on your team: humans and Varls. Varls are giants, endomorphic men with horns protruding from their foreheads. Varl are slow, plodding juggernauts of destruction. Humans are quick and nimble fighters who usually can’t handle attritional combat.

    As more Varl and human cities are sacked there are more refugees, more bandits, and less supplies. You are a human named Rook who is not only trying to save the remaining members of his villagers but trying to help everyone else fleeing the tide of darkness. As the leader you have to make difficult decisions that can drastically affect your caravan. Do you help the group of refugees on the side of the road? Maybe they’ll join and be loyal and contribute. Maybe they’ll just kill you in your sleep and run off with supplies.
    Unfortunately I can’t figure out the name of the studio’s proprietary engine. However according to an article from Develop-Online. They’re total bros by sharing their technology. (http://www.develop-online.net/interview/why-stoic-games-is-sharing-the-banner-saga-s-game-engine/0212308)

    For an indie game the mechanics are on point. The frame rate is great. There were no visual bugs that I saw. Unfortunately for the sound however there were some issues. For long stretches of the game I’d have no sound, either background music or sound effects.
    Luckily I didn’t much mind the loss of sound because the visuals were stunning. The characters and side scrolling backgrounds were hand drawn. They are so meticulously drawn, so many details added to even the backgrounds. The emotions and mental states are delivered so well on the protagonists.

    The first few chapters of the story start off a bit slow. You’re introduced to the mechanics and to a lot of characters. With so many characters and jumping around you don’t form any attachments until roughly the 5th or 6th chapter. However once those attachments are attached they’re deep and only get deeper. As the game progresses you feel the stress of leadership weigh more heavily on your shoulders. You’re trying to get your people safe and everything in the world seems to be falling apart. At times every decision you make seems to be the wrong one. You keep a brave front when talking to your caravan but deep down doubt has set in and you start to think no one will make it. Eventually you may become hardened and intent on self-preservation, stealing and murdering from all others you run across, just so your caravan can survive one more day. People will die, others will abandon or even betray you and the caravan.

    I haven’t felt that sort of intensity since Mass Effect 3.

    Overall this is a fantastic game. One of the best I’ve played, ever. This is a game that brings in a big breath of fresh air that the game industry has been needing. I didn’t talk much about the Dredge because they are mysterious with and I don’t want to spoil anything.

    Scoring, this is definitely a Game of the Year candidate. If you don’t already own this game you are messing up.
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  4. Jul 10, 2016
    8
    the dialogue is very boring in the start, when you finish the tutorial and the story really kicks off tho it is super good. you play as twothe dialogue is very boring in the start, when you finish the tutorial and the story really kicks off tho it is super good. you play as two different groups of people and giants called varl. the groups are tasked with transporting different banners containing the saga of the people. the combat is fun but gets kinda repetitive after a while, but never stops being enjoyable. Expand
  5. Jul 23, 2018
    7
    The Banner Saga
    Really good if you like reading
    The Banner Saga is the first game in a trilogy of turn based role playing tactics game set
    The Banner Saga
    Really good if you like reading
    The Banner Saga is the first game in a trilogy of turn based role playing tactics game set all in the world of Vikings…
    Though I feel like there’s an even more prominent genre to throw this game into..
    And that a visual novel
    I was really looking forward to giving this series a shot and play through the trilogy, and while I see why so many people love this series...
    it’s just not very casual friendly and its really tough to get through this 8 hour campaign... not necessarily because the gameplay is hard…
    the gameplay is essentially party managements and turn based tactics.. As you play through the story you’ll get different groups of characters that belong to different classes all with their own special moves, and as you defeat enemies you’re bale to promote them and increase their stats… you’ll also get to know these characters during stops in villages as well as along your journey across the map…
    In game it’s all fairly simple, you take turns moving a certain space of tiles and attacking enemies within range, either weakening their defenses or going straight for their health...
    placement of your characters in battle is important as it is possible to lose party members... all of this is fine.. But eventually about half way through the game I was just over it...
    battles feel too Samey… and the story just wasn’t interesting enough to keep me going.. at first it is… it gave me a dungeons and dragons feel as I’m making choices and watching things unfold before me based on those choices, gaining supplies to feed my fighters, gaining items for my party to wear, watching my crew get annoying with other members and having to decide what to do with them to ensure moral stayed up…
    I felt immersed into the story… and then suddenly I’m with a new group of characters away from the group I was just getting to know and it broke the spell for me.. I stopped caring, I no longer cared about the consequences of my choices or what the interest of the characters in this game are…
    I just couldn’t follow along it was too much for me.. I just wanted to get to the end of this visual novel that felt like it was dragging on forever,
    there is good in the banner saga, I get that people love visual novels, but I just don’t... I want voice acting... if you want me to sit down and read for 10 hours your story better be captivating throughout... and it just wasn’t here for me…
    That being said im sure there are plenty out there that the idea of a visual novel meets turn based tactics rpg excited them…
    and for those people youre in for a great time… the banner saga is good at being just that…
    But its not for me..
    I give the banner Saga
    a 7/10
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  6. Jul 21, 2016
    7
    Overall, the game is fairly entertaining especially if you are a fan of turned-based combat.

    Pros: Combat is generally enjoyable; nothing
    Overall, the game is fairly entertaining especially if you are a fan of turned-based combat.

    Pros:
    Combat is generally enjoyable; nothing groundbreaking, but solid
    Graphics are good; well, good for a 2-D sidescroller.
    Story is pretty good and the usage of the 2 caravans that merge in the end was enjoyable.
    Soundtrack isn't bad, if a bit sparse.
    The healthbar reflecting both your health as well as your maximum damage is a refreshing concept.

    Cons:
    Most revolve around the designer's vision being bigger than their budget which caused me a few issues, namely,
    The mechanics surrounding morale and starvation, while great concepts for a sim-type game, were only here in spirit, as there were literally no consequences to ignoring both issues entirely. If they didn't have the budget to make that part of the game relevant in any way, they should have dropped the concept.

    Playable characters were added and removed at the whim of the devs. In a straight action game that might be acceptable, but in a game where you are leveling 1 character at the expense of another and with very limited resources to do so, to have that leveled character arbitrarily removed for no relevant story related reason is a ridiculous fail.

    The endgame which forces you to use 2 characters whom you may not have utilized/ leveled throughout the playthrough, again, another ridiculous fail. If they were going to force you to use 2 characters for the hardest fight in the game, for god's sake give some indication that those characters should be leveled prior to that fight!!!
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  7. Sep 13, 2016
    3
    You can put all of your resources into a character, and then with one bad decision, that character can die. That would be fine if there was aYou can put all of your resources into a character, and then with one bad decision, that character can die. That would be fine if there was a good way to save and restore your game, but there isn't. You can make a mistake so costly that it will force you to restart the whole game, only to make another bad decision five minutes past the original one.

    Also, the story is terrible. There is no character development, no reason to care about the outcome, no sense of urgency. So when a character dies, the only thing you think is "there goes all of my effort." There is no real emotional impact. That's unfortunately because most of the game is dialogue. It's just flat, boring dialogue with made up names.

    I hope you enjoy watching people walk. You spend a lot of time watching your troops walk to new places. There is no way to speed this up.

    I gave it three stars because the actual turn by turn strategy portion of it is really fun and interesting. It reminds me of a light version of Civilization.
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See all 8 User Reviews

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