The first The Banner Saga game was funded on Kickstarter back in 2013. It was hugely successful on the platform, and it finally managed to be released on the PS4 last year. The money from the sales of the game funded the sequel, and then the developer went back to Kickstarter to fund the third part of the series. If you enjoy 2D tactical strategy RPGs with rich stories, then you are going to love The Banner Saga games! Want to know more? The read our The Banner Saga Complete Pack review!
The story goes like this: the Gods are dead, and the peaceful alliance between the humans and the Varl is uneasy at best. Both races have to work together to face off against a race that will stop at nothing and kill anyone foolish enough to stand in its way. That race is known as The Dredge, an evil murderous race. This is how the first The Banner Saga game begins.
As for the second one, it is a direct sequel and a continuation of the story from the first game in the series. I’d definitely suggest you first play the first release in the series before you jump into the sequel so that you can understand the large story arc. Sure, The Banner Saga 2 offers a summary of the story so that you can easily catch up in a few minutes, but it’s not really the same as you will miss out on the possible choices you make in the first game not to mention the ending which carries over into the second game.
The story in both games is absolutely top notch and very well written. The developers have clearly poured their heart and soul into both games! How you chose to interact with other characters in the games and the very tough decisions you have to make are part of what make the story so good. You are going to make decisions that could cost the lives of many or save a few. You are going to feel the weight of leadership and all of its responsibilities.
As for the game itself, you play on a grid on a turn-based system. You are the blue team you’re your enemy commands the red team. There are 18 classes to choose from, with each class having different advantages and disadvantages. Some are long range attackers, while others use brute force. I recommend experimenting with each class to see what works best for you, as everybody has different playing styles. This is going to be extremely important as the difficulty ramps up as you progress and some battles are going to be really tough, so the best party set up with the best skills available will help you in the long run. You need to plan your class placements to be able to have a chance of victory. Putting your more vulnerable classes ahead of the pack is the best way to have everything collapse under you.
You will be able to level up your characters in both games, and with every victory, you will earn renown, which is the in-game currency. You can use renown to buy supplies as well as to use points for your armor and weapons, upgrading your stats to become stronger. Willpower is where you certainly want to spend your points as doing so will reduce the difficulty of battles since it will lower your enemies’ health or armor, and this could certainly give you the edge.
Be careful not to overspend your renown on leveling up since you need to resupply your wagons so that your crew does not starve during the very long journey. You will be given options to drink or eat as you go as well as how much you will drink and eat. Be wary of the choices you make as every choice shapes the story and its eventual conclusion. Try and make the wisest choices that you can while thinking of the greater good, and you will be on the best possible path.
The hand-painted style graphics are very pleasant to look at, especially during cutscenes, and the animations are an absolute work of art. Unfortunately, voice acting is only used sparingly, but when it is showcased, it certainly elevates the game. I can understand how full voice acting is not an option as it would have been very expensive to record the thousands of lines of dialogue.
And if you’re up for a challenge, be sure to check out the new Survival Mode! This mode will test your skills over 40 epic battles where you can choose six different classes to take with you on the battlefield. Pick six of your favorites from both games and use your renown to improve their armor and weapons, and unlock new heroes to replace those who die so that you can carry on. How long do you think you can last? The ultimate aim of the Survival Mode is exactly like its name suggests: survive for as many battles as you possibly can. When your heroes fall in battle death is permanent, and they are lost forever. The good thing is you can give your fallen heroes a proper Viking funeral to earn renown so that you can purchase new heroes to carry on the fight in their place.
You must fight all 40 battles back to back to back which ramps up the difficulty considerably. Are you good enough to fight your way to the top spot on the leaderboards? I would highly recommend that you play both games before you give this game a try, so that you can be ready to take on the challenges at hand.
I have to give it to Stoic since they really know how to make a good game! I had a blast playing both games in The Banner Saga Complete Pack, as well as the challenge from Survival mode. After all this The Banner Saga I look forward to checking out what the team has to offer for The Banner Saga 3!
This The Banner Saga Complete Pack review is based on a PS4 copy provided by Versus Evil.