The Banner Saga Review
The Banner Saga follows the journey of two groups of people who are trying to escape an army of darkness. Is this a quest worth taking, or should you just wait out the storm? Check out this honest The Banner Saga review here!
The Banner Saga Review
The Banner Saga has you playing as two main characters; Hakon, the Varl’s next in line to be king and Rook, a huntsman trying to lead his village and his daughter to safety. The Varl are a race of Humanoids with horns and they grow to about 10 feet tall. The Humans and Varl are currently allies and part of Hakon’s mission is to get the Human Prince to his current king. Vognir and his crew get their first taste of the Dredge about 4 battles into the game. Rook and his group run into them as soon as you start using them. The Dredge start as the great big evil of the game. Like a plague, they engulf all they come across and are constantly trying to kill you and everyone else. Skeletons with black armor and a taste for blood, they will be on your heels for the entirety of the game.
While you will be playing as Hakon at first, most of the game follows Rook and his mission. While Hakon wants to fight the Dredge and escort the Prince, Rook simply wants to protect his daughter and escape the Dredge. Escape the Dredge is only one thing you need to worry about on this journey. You will have to supply your mean and clansmen and also pick where to make camp and when to rest. Resting in some sports means the Dredge will keep up and you might run out of food quicker, resulting in lowered morale and dead fighters. The path is also littered with choices that can help you out survive, or attempt to destroy you.
The game is littered with choices and consequences for the choices. There is often a good choice, a couple of okay choices and many bad choices. The game uses an auto save system, which attempts to make your choices permanent. Thankfully, you can reload a save and not lose too much progress if you make a bad choice. Sometimes you make a choice and it doesn’t affect you for an hour or two. I think that is one of the greatest things about the game, the amount of choices that can help you later, or screw you later. Some choices don’t even play any part in this game and are expected to have an effect in The Banner Saga 2. Some choices also take some of your favorite characters away by killing them off. You might think someone is safe, only to have them be killed during a choice sequence later.
Along with a lot of choices in the game, you will also have a lot of battles. The battle system is very similar to a Fire Emblem. Your characters take turns moving and attacks on the battle map. They can only move so far and attack at certain ranges. Every character has a special ability also, some are more useful than others. These battles start off easy but quickly escalate into intense matches of chess. Winning a battle will get you Renown, the games currency for everything. You use Renown to buy supplies, items and level up your characters. The max level is 5 and it will likely take you all game to get a full team of level 5 fighters. If a player fall in combat they will be out for a battle or two depending on the difficulty.
The fighting system add something a bit new. You have both an Armor and HP bar that can take damage. Basically, the higher your armor the less damage you take. If you have 5 armor and the character does 5 damage then he will do only do one, if he did 10 damage then he would do 5. This means you will have to make the choice of attacking the Armor bar or the HP bar. Some enemies will force you to bring down their Armor bars so you can do some damage to them. It’s a good system, makes it so you can’t just steam roll everything.
The game runs about 4-5 hours long depending on which difficulty you play and how long you take to make choices. Overall, if you are into tactical RPGs and like the whole viking aesthetic, you should enjoy this game quite a bit.