Retrospective: The Banner Saga

The Banner Saga

Possibly one of the bleakest games I’ve ever played.  Half-starved survivors of an attack by what appear to be unassailable foes desperately trekking across the wilderness looking for hope anywhere, only to be met by more refugees, more enemies, and more conflict.

Strongly recommended.

Something that stood out for me with The Banner Saga was actually the story.  I found it grabbed me in a way that doesn’t often happen, and that I was actually caring about the fate of the characters.  I can’t say whether it was anything about the storytelling itself that caused this, or maybe how impactful the decisions the player makes can be on what happens, but either way I was engaged to an uncommon degree by this game.

The gameplay itself is mostly standard turn based tactical combat, plus some resource management while in the “travelling” segments of the game.  There is very little random that happens, with most of the outcomes in combat determined by small, easily digestible numbers with deterministic results. This may or may not appeal to you, depending on how you feel about relying on strategy/tactics versus luck.  Personally I quite enjoyed it once I figured out the general flow of combat.

It’s also very Viking, if that’s your thing.

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