Aaah this mess and what a mess it is.
Back when The Banner Saga: Factions launched there was so much talk. Talk about ripping off the kickstarter backers (which they weren't ripped off they just never bothered to read), talk about the lawsuit for use of the word 'saga', talk about how the game was so perfectly balanced that it risked becoming stale.
Now no one talks about The Banner Saga: Factions anymore.
Looks like that last one came true.
First of all this is a mini-game, a subgame if you will. The point of this game is solely to PvP so do not confuse it with the main product and likewise this review is for this game not the main game itself.
TBS:F is like a game of chess...With only 4 pieces. But wait, each of those pieces come in 3(4) flavours so their is variety!
Except not really. Confused? We gotta go deeper Leo!
You have your typical 3 classes, you know Tank, damage dealer, how does it go again? shield smasher? Yeah thats it. Whats a healer?
Now without sounding like an instruction manual every unit has 2 bars, a health bar and an armor bar. armor reduces damage but the lowest amount you can do is 1hp. Be warned however that losing your armor is a big deal and a low armor or armorless unit will be cut down in short order! This makes games very methodical. Do you snipe hits for 1 damage each trying to score an early kill, or do you whittle down armor and then deal devastating damage to quickly mop up and win? Afterall their are no healers so every match is a war of attrition!
It works out really well and I can't do it justice with words alone, it is a simple idea that could have gone really badly but here it is balanced perfectly
Of course not all things are created equally in any video game and this one is no different so what sounds like an awesome and rivetting gameplay experience ends as a battle of patience as a losing player with 1 archer can still run away and then pick your remaining units off and trust me, they will. So every team has archers because being dumb doesn't pay off on the battlefield and most matches become mirror matches. Remember when I compared this game to chess? Imagine introducing a new piece into a game of chess. Imagine the sheer balance upset and new tactics that would bring to the table?! This game suffers that exact same issue because the balance is so fine, it is too fine and very easy to upset that balance.
So what happened?
It stagnated, what did you expect? A competitive game needs a lot to keep the crowds coming back. Look at DOTA, new champions every month is it? Streetfighter, new iterations just about every 2 years. This game? Not a damn thing since release.
The music is fine as are the sound effects and honestly who even gives a ♥♥♥♥? The music has to be great for people to sit up and take notice and here it is just above average. But the art, this game is graphically a piece of art. Playing this game is like visiting an art gallery it just looks so good!
But you play a game to be entertained (usually) and this game is fleeting fun. Their is fun to be had don't get me wrong but when you decide to shake it up a bit and really get into the game you will realize their isn't much more to it to explore, what you see is what you get. So I can't recommend this game.