Live through an epic role-playing Viking saga where your strategic choices directly affect your personal journey. Make allies as you travel with your caravan across this stunning yet harsh landscape. Carefully choose those who will help fight a new threat that jeopardizes an entire civilization.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (7,384 reviews) - 90% of the 7,384 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 14, 2014

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Recent updates View all (18)

April 18

Banner Saga 2 April 19th

Hello All!

Proud to have Banner Saga 2 launching at 10am PST on April 19th! That means you have less than 24 hours to grab the game for a 10% discount.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/281640/

It's been over 2 years of work, but we're excited to get all of you back in our world and hear what you think of where the story goes! Thank you all for the wonderful support, comments, and mentions. You all rock!

-Stoic

2 comments Read more

April 12

Minor TBS Update

Hello All

Apologies on the delay with this info but we recently had a small update for Banner Saga.

  • Fixed recurring issue that sometimes caused the 'Continue' button to be unresponsive after a battle
  • Added new heraldry crests
  • Fixed some minor memory leaks

Nothing too crazy, but we found some memory things in TBS2 that we could easily bring back to TBS1 so we thought we should.

4 comments Read more

Reviews

“Game of Thrones Meets Vikings Meets Disney. The Banner Saga is blindingly lovely and arguably just as intriguing to play. Built atop a world that all but demands the attention of travel documentaries, it's epic in the literal sense of the word.”
100% – US Gamer

“With a refreshingly unique aesthetic, well-written story, and challenging gameplay, The Banner Saga is an excellent adventure well worth your time.”
90% – Games Radar

“The Banner Saga deserves commendation for the strength of its art and music experience alone, which shatters conventions.”
86% – IGN

Coming to SteamOS/Linux

The Banner Saga will be available on SteamOS and Linux in March 2015.

Digital Deluxe Edition

The Deluxe Edition – Combines The Banner Saga with the official soundtrack which includes 29 tracks by Grammy nominated, and two time BAFTA Award winning, composer Austin Wintory, performed by the Dallas Winds orchestra plus a powerhouse trio of acclaimed YouTube sensations: vocalists Peter Hollens and Malukah and violinist Taylor Davis.

About This Game

Live through an epic role-playing Viking saga where your strategic choices directly affect your personal journey. Make allies as you travel with your caravan across this stunning yet harsh landscape. Carefully choose those who will help fight a new threat that jeopardizes an entire civilization. Every decision you make in travel, conversation and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds. Not everyone will survive, but they will be remembered.

Key Features

  • Player choice that drives your own narrative – every decision you make in travel, conversation and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds.
  • Over 25 playable characters from 2 different races, human and varl, the horned giants – embark on your epic journey with a variety of characters from 7 different classes, each with unique abilities and upgrade options to fit your play style.
  • Strategic combat with consequences - victory or defeat and even the permanent loss of a character depends on which characters you choose to take into battle and what decisions you make afterwards.
  • The journey is as important as battle – your role in building and managing your caravan as you travel the vast frozen landscape is critical to not only your own survival but the survival of an entire civilization.
  • An epic Viking saga brought to life in 2D glory – beautifully hand drawn combat sequences and animations, accompanied by an evocative score from Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory, will immerse you into a fantasy realm inspired by Norse mythology.
  • Multiplayer Combat Enhanced – sharpen your combat skills in the free multiplayer game “Factions”. Compete against other players with many of the character classes you see in The Banner Saga.

The Banner Saga is the first part of a planned trilogy. If you complete this game, your unique progress and storyline will carry over to the next part of the story.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: MAC OSX 10.7.5
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: MAC OSX 10.7.5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • Memory: 4 MB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
66 of 76 people (87%) found this review helpful
12.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
Two thumbs up for this game. Had it in my Steam library for quite some time, and I really don't know why I haven't given it a chance before.

All in all, its an RPG game with turn based combat. Characters in the game are superb, choices you need to make along the way influence the story greatly.

After this game, I thought to myself: "Is it really possible to make such a good game on Kikcstarter?" I had my doubts before, but now, I'll gladly admit I was wrong.

Buy the game, support the developers, and enjoy the tale about Vikings and their folklore.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
167 of 232 people (72%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
34.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 12
Fantastically well done story and presentation, but one of the most AWFUL gameplay designs imagineable.

Story+Dialogue: 9/10
Presentation: 10/10
Gameplay: 5/10

The banner saga tells the epic tale of individuals fighting for survival in a dying world that dead Gods no longer watch over.

The story was great, interesting characters, dramatic plot twists, and serious consequences you wont see coming.

Your choices DO matter. And while watching the overworld slowly crumble under the pressure of enemies, there are many fun choices you'll make.

The story itself did have problems. The transitions between parties as well as the beginnng felt clunky, as if it was trying too hard to force too much information onto the users at once, especially in the beginning where you don't understand the concept of renown. Without giving away spoilers, some companions seemed to be set up to have arcs of conversations that never happened, as well as characters that were just thrown in with no personality at all.

To quote Narushima, whos review I found sad but true:

"Oh look at that, you just lost two of your best characters forever because you clicked the wrong choices in a conversation that seemed trivial. Have fun trying to play with those lvl 1 or 2 characters that you were never interested in in the first place and who will never be able to do the same job! :)"

"Oh no, you have no way of knowing how many days your journey will last, and therefore how much supplies you need, because you're never told, and half the time it's not even clear where you're going."

"What's that, you thought you could explore more than one reply option in that dialog, because that's how they pretty much all work? Nope, not this time, and now you're stuck with a dumb decision you would have never chosen. You're welcome!"

The above statements are witty insults to the story, but honestly I still managed to enjoy it.

The art and animations were fantastic. Exceptionally well done. Reminds me of old Disney animations.



But there are parts of this game that are simply awful.

You have the option of choosing your banner in the main menu, they created over 800 of them though you'll probably not bother skimming them once and just go with the default banner, its a cosmetic choice so I ave no clue why they'd invest so much of their time into that and not enough into the gameplay.

I LOVE srpgs (trpgs if you like) but I detested this game's awful mechanics.

I'm sure many srpg fans have played several other games of the genre: fire emblem, xcom, etc.

So let's talk about XCOM. In XCOM, you have a unit of soldiers you command, different classes, all of which use different strategies on the field. Because I can't see through fog, I can cautiously walk through from cover to cover keeping my squad sade and update my map as I go or rush. In the expansion, I now have the incentive to rush so I don't miss out on lootable meld. Two possible strategies for exploring and advancing through the level with rewarding outcomes.

XCOM has another strategy for combat: I move each of my units 1 time a turn and there are 3 enemies in front of me. I could attempt to have one of my soldiers walk behind enemy lines and flank the enemy, though if I brought him to cover its possible he'll be found out by another group of enemy soldiers, so I might want to risk just having him walk in front of them and attacking quickly and killing them before a counter attack (although this would put said solier at huge risk if i dont finish them off). I could also use one of my soldiers grenades, though he'd be out one for the whole mission, it'd destroy our enemies cover allowing us low risk execution. There are all kinds of tactical approaches I can use because this game has cover, height, destructible environments, each with different risks and rewards. That is EXACTLY the kind of thought process a srpg should have. Different strategies with different possible outcomes.


So does THIS game meet up to having all sorts of tactical strategies with different risks and outcomes? No. Absolutely not. Disgustingly bad.

There are three reasons.
-Chess style gameplay. You have a turn to move a unit based on initiative. Your opponent moves a unit. This does not change until there is 1 unit on either side. As a result 2 units will move as fast as the combined speed of 10 units.
-No cover, no terrain advantages, no heights, only minor cases of walls/objects you can't walkthrough.
-The literal worst part of this design choice that led to the biggest problem of this game: injured/weakened foes do signifigantly less damage than healthy ones.


If you read those three balance decisions, you can probably figure out the single strategy to use for virtually all battles.

MAIM, DON'T KILL.

Yes, that's right. You can essentially waste your opponents turn by savagely weakening his units, but absolutely never kill any unit until they've all been beaten. This way you mitigate the majority of damage your units take, waste your opponents turn, while retaining the benefits of your own turn. If a unit is weakened, you're best off using him as cannon fodder and letting him die asap so he's not a waste of turns.

This strategy... it would be one thing if it were only a cheap exploit, but its not. It's an ENFORCED strategy.

If you DON'T play by this strategy, the game punishes you, there is no superior strategy to this, and the game becomes difficult if you're trying to use any other strategy. With absolutely no cover or terrain advantages or heights it's just a math battle where u run your units over and see how much armor you'd be best off breaking before targeting the enemy hp without killing him. It's one of the single worst design ideas an srpg can have.

It is the literal worst srpg I have ever played in terms of gameplay. The genre is sorely lacking in games and I had the best wishes for this one. I've heard they were planning to bring that same battle mechanic back in its sequel. I'd recommend passing on this one.
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45 of 54 people (83%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
21.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
8/10
"Great saga with mediocore turn-based combat."
TheBannerSaga is a solid gaming experience of a turn-based combat adventure/saga with some rpg&"roguelike" elements. You keep traveling through beautiful painted landscapes moving from village to battle² while "managing" your fellowship so they don't hunger & die - complicated by some decision making,

Pros:
+ geat art-style (graphics)
+ very good ost/sound
+ very good story
+ good gameplay
+ good atmosphere
+ good controls
+ you have to read
+ solid experience

Cons:
- feels shortened (in the middle)
- almost no spoken audio
- too few ambient sounds
- you must read (who minds)
- missing complexity (@combat) and depth (@characters)

Hopefully the saga continues with a bit more complexity and depth in total.
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35 of 43 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 26
The Banner Saga..

I've been trying to write this review for two days now. I played through the game twice. The first time I played was about a year ago. I'm trying to find some quick snippet I can use to surmise the game but nothing comes forth. So I guess I'll provide some exposition.

Its a turn based, tile based, highly narratively driven up to 5 person party adventure. You make decisions as the leader of a large group of traveling humans and a race-- Well, more of a species called the Varl; which more or less are giants.

You are constantly having to manage resources. Battles earn you renown, which is used as a currency and XP. Renown can buy you items for your characters to wear to increase stats, supplies for travel as well as allow ready candidates to level up. Resources are needed on the road for your traveling companions to survive. As well as keep morale up. Poor morale can effect the abilities of your fighters in the from of losing willpower.

On the road you will run into events that you will have to make decisions about. Including dealing with everything from fights in the caravan to deciding to trust outsiders or not. I never quite pinned down if they are all scripted or procedurally generated. Some but not all seem very timely.

COMBAT
The battle system takes a little time to get used to as its slightly obtuse at first. Each characters health is their strength, what this means is as someone gets hurt they progressively become weaker and their strength is directly blocked by the enemies armor. So you must choose to either attack their health or armor. There are some other variables such as willpower, which allow you to move farther or do extra damage in one turn. Killing enemies earn you a notch on the horn which equates to an extra willpower lying in wait when needed. Some other stats that effect the two main ones are exertion and armor break. Exertion limits how much willpower one can use even if they have more. Armor break allows one to do more damage to armor regardless of other variables. There are of course classes for all the characters which have specific abilities such and Tempest, a sort of whirlwind attack and others like Forge ahead that allow you to choose someone to move up in the turn order. If a character falls in battle they will become injured and need to rest, usually for multiple days. The character can still be used in other battles while injured at the cost of lowered stats typically.

The game does have multiple endings. I am interested to see what happens in the sequel regarding them. I will also say the game does sort of end abruptly. It does come to a climax but to be honest, a lot it seems a bit unresolved.

The game is also, from what I can tell, hand drawn. Characters have very fluid animations when attacking and the overall aesthetic is very pleasing.

THE GIST
This is maybe one of my favorite games in the last.. decade? One of the most gripping, memorable and emotional games I've played in my life. Definitely in the top 20 ever. Difficult decisions abound. Stuck in between a rock and a hard place? Can't move the rock? Don't have a drill? People are relying on you ya know. Better think about your actions.
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21 of 27 people (78%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
The Banner Saga is a strategy RPG with a viking fantasy setting developed by Stoic and published by Versus Evil.

Narrative:

The Good - The Banner Saga has an amazingly well detailed and rich universe. There is a whole map created for the game that gives an insane amount of lore about the world. The story itself is much better than most fantasy stories. Rather than going for the clichè "save the princess" or "find the sword", The Banner Saga instead is about the journey of clans across their continent in search of safety and it is very well done. The main characters are incredibly vibrant and interesting from the stoic (ha ha), grim, and stern Iver to the innocent and forgiving Alette. I became heavily invested with many of the characters and actually cared about what happened to most of them. The Banner Saga also has branching paths. I looked back over the course of my journey and wondered how I could have changed things. The dialogue is also quite heartfelt and believable so that certainly helps add to the immersion.

The Bad - Let's get the big one out of the way. The game does not pace itself well at points. There are points where it completely rushes through areas that could have been expanded on considerably. The ending is also one of the most rushed I've seen in quite awhile. The final moments are just sped through with absolutely no slowing down to emphasize the impact of the results. Also, many characters that seem like they could have been focused on more get little to no screen time and some that seem incredibly important just up and screw off. The game also doesn't wrap everything up and leaves some loose ends. The game has so much potential and would've hit every note if it had slowed down and taken awhile to let the story's outcomes settle in and open up more about characters and areas.

Score - 8/10

Graphics:

The Good - This game is gorgeous. Every area of the game is brimming with little details that make it just a little bit more immersive. The hand drawn art style is perfectly done and should be applauded. The game runs smoothly for most of the time and has a beautful color palette that fits very well. One of my favourite art styles.

The Bad - While travelling across the continent there is occasional hitching. Nothing horrible but certainly noticable.

Score - 9.5/10

Sound:

The Good - The music is beautiful. This game has one of the most fitting soundtracks I've heard in a long time. It's incredibly somber during heartfelt scenes and tense and fast-paced in battles. The voice acting is done extremely well and the sound effects are crisp and perfect.

The Bad - I feel like there could've been more narration and it would've added to the experience. There was barely any.

Score - 9/10

Gameplay:

The Good - The game follows some of the basic SRPG mechanics and discards others while adding in some new ones that I feel mostly benefit the game. To start, the rock-paper-scissors style combat that usually shows up has been completely removed and replaced with Willpower, Armor, and Strength. These three mechanics work VERY well together and help give the game its own gameplay style. Strength is your health, however it is also your damage so when your health goes down, so does your damage. This might seem frustrating but actually works quite well and results in a lot more thought being put into moves as placing your party in a vulnerable position may result in future losses. The Armor affects how much damage can be done to someone. High armor means it is very hard to get a meaningful hit in and so it also has to be taken into consideration adding even more complications. The game, however, never becomes overly complicated and manages to still be easy to understand, yet incredibly hard to master. As for Willpower, this is probably one of the best features. Willpower allows you to do more than you can normally do. It allows people to move further, hit harder, or use their special attacks. This is great as you can use it as a way to get out of a place you don't want to be in or take that last bit of health out of an enemy. The party management is also interesting. If a party falls in battle, rather than dying, they are injured and have a Strength penalty until they rest enough. This means you'll have to rest and waste supplies, causing your clan's morale to drop, causing a loss of Willpower in battle. It puts some extra pressure on during non-combat segments. Wars also happen throughout the game and allow for several different options for handling battles giving a sense of freedom. The difficulty is also perfect. The game never becomes too overwhelming, yet always offers a challenge. Tactical, patient players will be rewarded while people who rush to kill someone will usually be shut down. Finally, Renown. Renown is the in-game currency and is used to purchase supplies and combat items. Renown is also used to upgrade characters so it becomes quite a problem for youself when you don't have enough to both get a crucial upgrade for a charcter and that really enticing piece of equipment. Overall, the gameplay has some amazing mechanics at work and can certainly hold a candle to other SRPGs.

The Bad - First, the game does not explain the consequences of clan deaths at all and there doesn't seem to be any so that mechanic is dead in the water. As for combat, the game becomes repetitive sometimes. Not many different enemies are thrown at you and so it may become a bit tedious at points. The final battle was also obnoxious as my characters were randomly getting stunned at random times and there was nothing I could do about it, prolonging the battle and irritating me. There is also almost no customization for characters. There aren't many different ways to build characters and usually your party is already decided due to low character counts at points. You can't choose their weapon and upgrading usually is quite straight forward. On top of this, many of the special attacks were (in my opinion) very underwhelming and ignorable.

Score - 8/10

Longevity and Replayability:

The Good - My first playthrough lasted around 11-12 hours. I still feel like there is a lot I could've changed and seems like enough incentive to go back and try again. There are also a considerable number of acheivements if that's what you're in to.

The Bad - Again, the game rushes through its story quite a bit.

Score - 8.5/10

Final Score:

The Banner Saga is flawed. Greatly. But there is so much good here that I really do have to commend it for its efforts. It certainly isn't perfect, but it has enough good in it that I can recommend it at full price, easily. If you enjoy SRPGs, fantasy settings, or beautiful looking games, then look no further than the Banner Saga.

8.6/10 = Very Good
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