The Banner Saga 3 Review – A True Hero Comes Reluctantly
The Banner Saga 3 looks to end an epic journey with an epic ending. Does the finale of the trilogy hold up, or will you be left wanting more? Check out our review and find out.
The Banner Saga 3 Review
I’ll start by saying that if you didn’t play the first two Banner Sagas, you are going to be lost in 3.
The Banner Saga picks up right after the last choice you made in The Banner Sage 2. The battle of Arberrang is still raging, and you are either defending the gate or attacking it. Regardless of your choice, everyone left alive will eventually enter Arberrang for the final siege. Inside the walls of Arberrang is a setting not much better than outside. Infighting, stealing, and betrayal are running rampant in the streets. Street fights and hard choices will have to be made before the Dredge even make an appearance.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Iver and the Ravens are trying to stop the spreading darkness. It is slow-going, because nearly everything in the darkness is trying to kill them. If you fail here, the rest of the world falls as well. The darkness is a gauntlet of battles and tough choices. Losing a team member out here can hurt and with the limited resources resting is rare. The last bit of hope rests on the shoulders of Iver and the Ravens.
Combat in The Banner Saga 3 remains mostly unchanged. You still place your six units on the field and go to battle in this strategy RPG. New units have been added, as well as new skills and a heroic title system for those who have reached above level 10. The most significant change is the wave battles. These fights reward you for having back up fights at a high level. When a new wave comes in, you can exchange fighters with allies you have on the bench. These units in at 100% hp and can prevent your core members from getting injured. You don’t have to fight the new waves of enemies, but you are rewarded with powerful items if you do and more experience if you do.
Unlike the previous two games, The Banner Saga 3 is a gauntlet. I’d say the first two games had a good mixture of story, downtime, and combat. This game is a ton of fighting and minimal downtime. There are story bits, don’t get me wrong, but the crux of this game is fighting. The group in the city has to move around the city and defend from invaders on the outside and betrayers from within. The group in the darkness has to push forward fast and crush anything they come across. The little downtime Iver and the Ravens have usually is interrupted with a fight because everything in the darkness wishes to kill you. Fighting smart is the only way to get through the game effectively.
About halfway through the story, Iver is put on a timer to get through the darkness. This time is determined by all of your previous choices with the leading group. Supplies, fighters, clansmen, and Varl all add up to give Iver more time because you can hold out in the city longer. There are other decisions from the previous games that also affect the timer. I genuinely think you can make it through the darkness in one timer if you played well enough and made the right choices. I ran out of time right before the end and had to defend the city once more, leaving fighters I had from the start of the game in terrible spots. You can buy more time with your main group in the town, but Iver and the Ravens have to make it through the darkness alone.
I did run into one glitch that forced me to close the game. There has been a patch since then to help with that. One other issue I ran into was how repetitive the battles felt in such quick succession. I understand the idea; it is meant to add pressure and make it feel tenser. Fighting the same enemies over and over so quickly does take its toll on a person though. This is a minor gripe in an otherwise great conclusion of the series.
The Banner Saga 3 puts a cap on a great trilogy with a fantastic ending. If you played the first two games, do yourself a favor and complete the saga.