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: Very Positive (3,845 reviews)
Release Date: Jan 14, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"A wonderfully realised Viking adventure with in-depth tactical combat. Roto-scope style animation leads to a beautiful world. Ends a bit abruptly though"
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (9)

October 15

Reddit AMA

Howdy Folks!

We're hosting a Reddit AMA all day today - and we;d love for you to stop by and ask your questions. We'll do our best to answer all of them that we can.

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2jbcdk/we_are_stoic_indie_game_developers_creating_the/

Thanks all!

1 comments Read more

October 2

The Banner Saga oniOS and Linux Update

Howdy Folks!

Today we're officially avaiable on iOS via the app store if you any of you folks have been waiting on that.

We also have an update for you folks wanting the Linux port:

Just to give you an update we are still working on the linux port and it’s progressing. We are dealing with a few crashes and remaining issues, then we need to add in sound plus address some general performance issues – but the takeaway is that it’s still being worked on and that we’re getting there. We don’t have a date yet as we want to ensure everything is wrapped up and working before any sort release.

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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

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
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 6 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: MAC OSX 10.7.5
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: MAC OSX 10.7.5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 6 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
306 of 410 people (75%) found this review helpful
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
It really pains me to do this because there are so many reasons to like this game.

The problem is that The Banner Saga simply doesn't deliver what it promises.

At the very beginning we are informed that at our decisions affect the game: THEY DON'T. Despite the fact that they've created this vast and gorgeous world, steeped in lore and history, you can't even choose where to go. You're firmly 'on-the-rails' for the entire game. Occasionally, you get text based encounters where you get to make a decision, but having played Banner Saga a couple of times, I can tell you that most of these change nothing. Sometimes one character or another dies, but it's trivial since they aren't really necessary anyway.

At the very beginning we are treated to a beautiful animated cut-scene complete with voice acted dialogue, so you'd figure those would come up at key points in the game at least, right? THEY DON'T. Not even at the end.

As the story develops, more and more layers are revealed: The gods are dead; the sun has stopped in the sky; there's a prophecy; there's tension and intrigue between characters and races, etc, etc. NONE OF IT GOES ANYWHERE. In a nut shell, the story is: survive until you get to the end boss - who has practically nothing to do with anything.

The artwork is gorgeous, the concept (Viking Oregon Trail + Turn Based Strategy + Some RPG elements) is simple but it works. But instead of using that simplicity to really open up the world, we're instead treated to a vast tableaux of untapped potential.

Maybe they're planning a sequel - and heck, I've put this many hours in already, I might even pick it up - but honestly, if a game leaves you feeling, "What, that's it?" It failed to deliver.
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58 of 70 people (83%) found this review helpful
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
I have mixed opinions about The Banner Saga, but I'm still very happy to have played it. Most of the time, when I find games to be surprisingly brief, it's generally to their benefit. However, this is one title where I felt like it ended before it could really shine. I'm appreciative that it didn't drag itself out, but at the same time it's always a bit jarring when the end credits sneak up on you.

The Banner saga is some weird mesh of grid based strategy rpg (Fire Emblem, Tactics Ogre, FFT/A) and...the Oregon trail. And Vikings (or something resembling Vikings). However, only the first part of that hybrid combination does the game feel polished, gameplay wise. The game's most notable feature when it comes to the primary battle engagements is the Armor/Strength duality, as well as Willpower and Exertion mechanics. In order to deal a lot of damage to most enemies, especially Dredge, you first have to spend time working down their armor instead of trying to outright lower their health to zero. This is only a small wrinkle to the normal rpg standby, but it is implemented well enough to have two interesting results. One, it creates some very real consequential moments where you've got a unit able to do decent armor or strength damage and you can't be certain whether you should really strip the armor down further or if you should take a chunk out of the enemy health so that they might be finished off sooner. Secondly, it creates much needed class specialization where certain units are much more adept at stripping armor while others are better set finishing weakened foes. The game then allows you to use some basic accessory-equipment to either further specialize (giving an armor-break boosting equipment to someone already well equiped to break armor) or to make certain units more versatile. One thing that I suppose I wasn't used to is that the class-roles are specified and listed on the heroes pages, but they still don't seem as iron-clad or strict as those in games such as the Japanese srpgs I listed earlier (where the class given to a unit is much more defining). I couldn't tell you which units were which class off of the top of my head, only what each given unit was good at performing in battle. I suppose it feels a bit more organic this way.

I feel like the willpower-exertion mechanics are the most important (and unique) mechanics of the battles. Exertion allows you to add damage points to your strength hits, break down armor faster, and move further than normal. Morale allows you to add willpower to units as you need it, and replenishes as you defeat enemies. Since exertion determines how much willpower you can add to any action, it was the first thing I upgraded on any unit promotion.

The battle animations and sound work is expecially great, and I generally love the look of this game. The battle environments are a bit bland but that's not a real dealbreaker. One thing that I never did gel with was the out-of-battle dialogues, usually set as continously reversing camera shots of the front facing portraits of the various characters. The continuously changing perspective and lack of multiple emotive artworks for each character really made clicking through these dialogues to be a chore at times, and it was sometimes more difficult than it needed to be to determine who was entering and leaving the scene, and even who is all present at any given time.

The in-between battle treks with the caravan were not super enjoyable. I was given a unit count of clansmen, fighters, and varl but I didn't really know what this represented and only tried to keep the numbers high because that's what you're expected to do, right? A handful of times the game would tell me that the enemy force was so large and my force was compartively large but I couldn't really tell what numbers the game was crunching underneath. While other moments of open-ended choice and consecquence within these sections was enjoyable (do you help the random caravan you come accross, do you punish the drunk, do you demand goods from the traders if your supplies are low, etc), the various off-screen battle tactician moments (do you charge in, do you pull back, you have x forces against their y forces) seemed to be more random and less consequential. In the last two chapters of the game, I had made a dumb mistake and lost most of my unit count but it didn't seem to matter at all.

That said, in general I enjoyed the challenge of the game. I played through on Normal mode, and I even lost two battles (one of which I am sure you are supposed to lose :p ) but the game ended up allowing the journey to progress with those loses, which makes the prospect of a replay to see if I could either avoid or overcome though encounters to be somewhat appealing. The last battle of the game took a few tries, but at the same time, I didn't realize it was the last battle. It didn't really seem appropriately grandiose when considering some of the things introduced before that point that I thought I would be tackling. I'm unsure how much the ending can change depending on your choices, so I might have to do some reading.

I just wish the game was a little longer. Some of the units in the game I felt like only saw 3-4 battles, and with the number of units you get in total (quite a few) and the frequency in which the become available and unavailable, and the low-map limit of who all you can bring into any given battle, I just felt like there were a few things I was unable to ever get to try. While I had some units level up many times, but the end of the game I had some units only often enough to have promoted once. But again, I suppose that allows for some variety in re-plays.

Great art, but I wish there was more to the dialogue sections, retweaked caravan between battle-mechanics, some larger more interesting maps would be neat, and more chances to be able to bring units into battle which a lower frequency of units becoming unavailable. Though not to any extreme extent, having some limitations on those sorts of things is a great way to force yourself to try out different strategies rather than just bringing your strongest units every time.

Lastly, the overarching story and narrative were interesting enough, but sometimes it felt messy and cluttered. You find yourself moving from one outpost to the next, each with exotics names, and never in one place for too long. Yes, there's a fairly nice in game map that helps to try to put things into place mentally, but when the purpose of most encampments is to simply upgrade your units and merch and be on your way, there wasn't a lot of incentive to really keep track of much. A large part of the game boils down to someone declaring that you need to leave place x and head to place y for reason z, and that's really all of the motivation I needed or wanted.
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38 of 42 people (90%) found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 9
A nice game, really loved it.

+ Great athmosphere.
+ Beautiful.
+ Interesting fights.
+ Every choice has consequences... Often huge, life-and-death consequences.

But:

- You don't really care about most characters.
- There is a big gap in difficulty between all previous fights and the final boss. Needing an archer with a specific set up for that fight only makes that harder.
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117 of 173 people (68%) found this review helpful
20.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
This game causes mixed feelings. The concept had really great potential but it wasn't fulfilled. Some (+)s and (-)s

(+) Art. It seems to me that graphics and music were on the minds of developers from the very beginning and they focused solely on it. Great, fantastic art. Impeccable style. Totally enjoyed it.
(+) Caravan management and interactive stories. These determine the result of everything: what characters you'll get, which ones will survive and which will die, how much resourses you'll get etc. That's one of the best parts of the game.
(+) Strong authentic atmosphere.
(+) Excellent initial concept.

(-) Weak repetitive battles and gameplay in general. Too few different types of enemies. Few classes of characters. And there are hundreds of battles when you have to fight the same enemies with the same characters. Boring to death. It seems that developers devoted themselves to making graphics so much that they forgot about gameplay till the last night before the release and barely managed to finish it hurriedly. But often gameplay = fun.
(-) Story. It was intended really epic. I mean REALLY big and epic like in Game of Thrones or something. But they didn't have enough resourses, so in the end it finishes abruptly, it is relatively weak, it's not supported by great gameplay, it is disappoining. If they'd taken something of a less scale the game would have been much better I guess.

My overall imression is negative which is sadly, because this game could have been truly terrific.
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62 of 84 people (74%) found this review helpful
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
After my Assassin's Creed binge last week, I took a bit of a break to wind down a tad. I started playing Banner Saga a few days ago however - I wasn't sure what to expect from it, the screenshots looked more like a point and click adventure, a genre which I normally don't enjoy as much - thankfully I was wrong.

The Banner Saga is heavy role playing game where you face numerous scenarios throughout the story, each decision you make will impact the outcome and general feel of the game.

The story goes extremely deep into Viking saga and history, which if you are interested in that sort of thing, this will already be a winner for you. The devs have done a very good job at making you feel you are part of the caravan and are right there in the midst of it all.

The game does start out quite slow, but as you get past the first chapter, it picks up pace and you keep wanting more.

The actual game play is a turn-based strategy basis. Again strategy is not normally one of my favorite genres but The Banner Saga does a very good job at introducing all the elements and features of the game at a slow but reasonable pace for you to get used to them. By the end of the game you'll be able to blast through your turns without thinking at all, very simple (which is a good thing in my eyes).

Graphic wise, the 2D art is beautiful. It looks as if every scene has been hand drawn. Length of the game is just right - a full playthrough for me took about seven and a half hours, and this was with picking up quite a few achievements along the way.

I highly recommend The Banner Sage as it will be a welcome addition to your library if you give it a chance.

More reviews at - http://completingthebacklog.blogspot.co.uk/
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39 of 48 people (81%) found this review helpful
23.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
I certainly enjoyed this game. It has a unique feel even if everything is stolen from Norse mythology. The story was captivating, so much to the point that I yelled in fury when I happened to loose a member of my party. Combat is perhaps less than groundbreaking with originality but it was certainly solid and very rewarding when it came to leveling up characters.

I got a couple of the giants mixed up for a while, but aside from that, most characters have a unique backstory that fleshes out as things progress. It is certainly worth it to read into everybody's capabilities, for the most subtle traits they posses play out very importantly once you realixe their potential. Every battle should be played with the intent of keeping as many of your fighters intact, lest you be forced to send in your benchwarmers in for the next fight.

The artwork was impressive, captivating, and downright epic, however.......... the first cutscenes really got me stoaked for kickass cartoon "Heavy Metal-esq" laden story line. The artwork let my hopes fall gracefully rather than total disapointment.

Despite the fact that I have 1 and a half playthroughs under my belt I do not see an increible amount of playability, although it seems as though a few play throughs could be rewarding due to the amount of different options/results offered throughout the game.

Now, here's where I'm not totally sure how I feel about the game: Choices. Some choices totally blindside you with how determental/beneficail they can be. They game has a habit of throwing scores of petty situtions in your face just so that you'll be unaware of the severity of a certain choice and suffer because you did not treat it with appropiate reverment. I mentioned earlier that I have one and a half playthroughs; this is because I utter screwed myself in the first game so I went back to ammend my "mistakes". If you've ever layed D&D, this game has the feel of a ruthless yet rewarding DM that often sets you up to hang yourself with your own noose once you get things going.

All in all, I loved playing this game, yet I do not see myself playing it in the immediate future.
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26 of 29 people (90%) found this review helpful
15.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 2
Most games these days are designed to be won; The Banner Saga is meant to be survived. Anything more would be a mockery of the Viking apocalypse suffered by its characters. The atmosphere of Stoic Studios' first title is very evocative of desolation and despair. With the gods dead and the sun stalled in the sky, humans and giants work together to eke out a shattered existence. The arrival of an ancient enemy throws the tenuous balance into question and sends desperate warrior caravans across the hostile landscape. The displaced and hopeful follow in their wake, scraping together what lives they can. The leaders of these caravans are forced to make difficult decisions, by which their followers live and die. The point of view shifts several times throughout The Banner Saga, demonstrating the dire straits in which both humans and giants find themselves. However, in spite of the multiple views, so much about what's really happening remains unknown. Each caravan meets many people, most of whom have an angle for survival. Figuring out who can be trusted is one of the great challenges of the game, and also one of its greatest pleasures. Despite the pervasive apocalypse, not all is lost. Stoic has done admirably at focusing on the personal stories at the epic's core. The key characters' motivations are well-explained, and their mysteries reveal themselves at an appropriate pace. Everything looks and sounds amazing. Character designs are rich and colorful, and their animation is like something from out of a lost 80s classic. The visuals scale impressively, handling great crumbling monuments and fierce monsters as well as delicate human gestures.Combat has many quirks that may seem counter-intuitive to SRPG players. However, learning the ins and outs of the system can be an enjoyable puzzle. Battle takes place on a flat grid. Up to six plot-relevant allies, drawn from a frequently shifting pool, face off against a potentially frightening number of enemies. Battle proceeds in alternative rounds, with one member of the enemy force getting a turn for every allied turn. Many battles begin with a large-scale conflict, which pits the caravan's rank-and-file soldiers against enemy hordes. The formation options in this system don't feel as strongly tied as they could be to the skirmishes that follow. The sole currency for preparing for battle is renown. When all is lost, only a man's observed actions are important. Renown is used on stat-boosting treasure, character advancement, and purchasing supplies for the caravan. Playing The Banner Saga as a standard game of optimization and the greatest possible success may lead to disappointment. Trusting the crazy-eyed wanderer who smells of stale mead could be the best decision you make all week, or it could lead to a knife in your back.Some choices are mechanically better than others, causing the more damaging answers to become less interesting during multiple replays. Stoic Studios have set themselves up with a difficult act to follow. The Banner Saga is a rare game that forces its player to think and feel, often in delightful opposition. Its subsystems combine to support the narrative of desperate heroism, hard choices, and survival.
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23 of 25 people (92%) found this review helpful
18.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 9
I did like this game, it is basically like Oregon Trail but instead of hunting mini-game there is a Tactics Turn Based Strategy mini-game. The characters are interesting, the plot is easy to follow and enjoyable. The music is unique, not my favorite personally but if you like old school chanting, this is definitely up your alley.

All that comes with some caveats though. Firstly the game ran potato quality on my computer, which is a little embarrassing, my computer is getting fairly old but the graphics were also at 64bit levels so I have no idea why the framerate was so bad. Secondly, this game will kick your ♥♥♥ a little bit because the difficulty does ramp up after about 10 hours but also because it feels like a long slog to try and get through. This problem is magnified by the end which is even more depressing. Thirdly, the combat because pretty stagnant pretty quickly without much difference in units and with you using the same strategies over and over. I'm still not sold on the armor/strength system but is was at least unique as far as I know and did make you think a little differently than most other Turn Based Strategy games. I won't lie to you though, I hated the turn order system they used which made me use strategies that would be stupid in any other TBS game.

That got pretty negative pretty quickly so let me re-iterate, this is a good game, but it could have greatly improved from just a bit more polish.
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19 of 21 people (90%) found this review helpful
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
While the combat felt a bit repetitive toward the end of the game, I did greatly enjoy the story and the characters in this game. The Oregon Trail-esque choices that truly could mean instant death for your favorite characters is present, and makes each choice truly feel important. This is like the recent The Walking Dead game, except when you go back to play/read what the other outcome would have been, you realize your choice actually did matter.

I'm not sure I would play through it again, but I absolutely recommend playing this game to completion at least once if you are a fan of RPGs, turn-based combat games, and/or isometric older games like Baldur's Gate or Fallout 1 or 2, mixed with some Oregon Trail.
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
12.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
I've been postponing to play The Banner Saga for a long time. When the game was released on iOS, I suddenly realized I didn't even start my pc game yet. That evening I sat down and played for several hours straight. Now, 18 hours along the way I just finished The Banner Saga on Normal difficulty for the very first time,

I'm not the type of gamer to play a game again in order to get all achievements, but I did check which ones I earned and which ones I did not get. As it turns out, there are many story branches based on the choices one makes. Characters can survive through out to story or die during battle.

I love the background of this game. Vikings are cool. By adding some kind of Super Viking (Varl) the studio has created a big divirsity in the characters one can use during the game. I will not spoil anything, but don't get too attached to your characters... they might die.

The combat is tactical. Take your time is make a move, look at the movement range of your enemies and make sure you double check for example the reach of your archers. It happened to me more than once that my archers was one block short to reach its target... That's just waste of a turn and might result in you losing the battle. During a battle characters can die. But you can't know in advance whether they are just "passed out" or they will be actually removed from the game and story.

Between the turn based battles there are lots of conversations in which you get to make choices. It's not always clear what the results of your choices will be. The most confusing thing in The Banner Saga is that you can be travelling without food and still thieves can steal food or Varls can drink beer because we passed some religious statue.

Overall The Banner Saga is one of the highlights in my recent gaming years. It left me wanting for more. I've got the same feeling I got when I played The Walking Dead by Telltale for the very first time. Game studio Stoic has developed a very nice and enjoyable game with a touching story. No tears, but in the end you can't help but wonder whether the ending is just the ending of the story or the result of your actions.

I've decided I'm not going to find out. This is it. My story is over and now I'm waiting for the second chapter.
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17 of 19 people (89%) found this review helpful
8.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
One of the best games I've played in a long time. Three reasons stand out:

First, the writing is superb. I recently finished Divinity: Original Sin, and have played all kinds of RPGs from the old Baldur's Gate titles to Morrowind to System Shock 2 and a lot in between. This game manages what few others do: create believable, interesting characters without walls of text. I like reading, but I don't like huge amounts of text that do little to further the story, character development or immersion. Even though I liked D:OS a lot, and the game had some great writing, a lot of the dialogue was just doing nothing to these ends. The density of little clues and nuances in the Banner Saga is astonishing, coupled with some humor and great attention to setting-appropriate terminology.

Second, this might be the first game ever that managed to make me feel pressed. Generally, games I've played fall in two categories when it comes to time-crucial missions: either they don't enforce it at all mechanically, meaning that while the princess is being eaten by the bad guy I still have all the time I need to loot chests, talk to strangers and tend to my weapons. Or they implement some kind of timer - an option I hate with a passion because it feels so out-of-setting and forced. In the Banner Saga the whole setting screams 'hurry up' - and you do, by weighing the alternatives and choosing how much time to allocate to them. At least to me, it never feels artificial, or unfair, or like a difficulty-thing, it's just part of the story.

Third, and fans of A Song of Ice and Fire will likely agree, the fact that beloved characters can die on a whim makes the whole cast and your decisions infinitely more interesting. I'm generally someone aiming for the best possible outcome in RPGs, including loading a save game when something turned out to be a bad decision. In the Banner Saga, for the first time ever perhaps, I did not feel annoyed by bad things happening to me. It's just 'damn... guess the next few hours just got a lot harder'.

All in all a very, very good game, including the ending. Fights can get a bit repetitive since you only have one special ability per character, and some of those are frankly useless, but that's a minor gripe since the system is still well executed and challenging while staying fair. Maybe we should combine D:OS's combat system with the story and writing of the Banner Saga to create the perfect RPG.
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17 of 19 people (89%) found this review helpful
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 5
I found myself connecting with the characters throughout the story. I just finished the first game in the trilogy and I am left wanting the next game now. I must know what happens. A good buy if you enjoy story book style gameplay with lots of feels.
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14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 3
The Banner Saga’s awe inspiring scope is both its biggest strength and weakness.

It paints a picture so lavish and compelling that its almost irritatingly compelling with each new thread it introduces, so rich that you want to spend time learning about every character and piece of lore but haven’t the time to do so. In a medium so oversaturated with derivative fantasy, the distinctiveness of the world Banner Saga creates pulled me in eagerly awaiting even the most trivial of pieces of exposition. It wrapped me up so tightly in its intrigue that even when its problems surfaced they could do little to take me out of the experience, the only real issue then being that said experience unfortunately only has enough time to tell part of its story.

The Banner Saga is quite simply the telling of the end of days. The Sun has stopped moving, the gods are dead, and the return of an enemy thought extent threaten to annihilate those few who still survive. It’s bleak and unrelenting in its showcasing of how dire a place the world has become, as you embark on a caravan fleeing to anywhere not already destroyed, many not living to see the journey’s end.

The tension of the narrative - the abundant despair and sacrifice every step of the way - rejects the overly cautious writing far too often substituted in for more disruptive outcomes, and makes the characters you travel with people you care and worry about. With how constant the possibility of death becomes, I was invested not only in each character’s narrative but also in fighting to keep them alive as best I could. The choices presented before you become agonizing decisions that often decides who lives and dies, leaving me paralyzed as I hoped I’d made the right call. It’s stressful, but crucial to the story Banner Saga wants to tell and the emotion it intends to make you feel, and it succeeds at this almost perfectly.

The lack of voice acting or animated cutscenes for most of the game definitely at times hinders the impact of events, but by the time these begin to arrive I was already so caught up in who my characters were that dialogue alone was enough to humanize them. The bigger “problem” is that Banner Saga’s narrative and world are on a scale far larger than a single game can contain, and as a result many of the story’s plotlines both overt and secondary are left dangling, with a statement that they will be expanded upon with the next two games in a planned trilogy, but for the time being left me frustrated that I was so quickly cut off. Of course I say this only because of how enthralling the narrative is already, but it was a tad disappointing to see so much setup but only partially executed, leaving me with more questions than answers and praying this adventure gets finished.

With how seamlessly the experience flows together, it might be easy to forget that under all the plot and jaw-dropping artwork exists a polished and inspired turn-based strategy game. The Banner Saga works as a game of small, important numbers and mechanical simplification so as to make every fight immediately understandable. There are very few numbers to be concerned about, and every one that is here matters and is imperative to make the absolute most of if you want your party to survive. Fights are designed not as giant encounters or grand boss fights, but small battles that often come down to the last fighter standing. This raw, streamlined approach was refreshing, not only in that it cut down on the number of throwaway encounters but also made me far more conscious of every tool at my disposal.

Party creation and leveling were more meaningful to me as each character played a distinct role in combat, and raising their skills was a rare and extremely important event. The low numbers tied to everything kept things from ever becoming overwhelming, and made positioning of fighters just as if not more important than the blunt force they could inflict. With each battle intimately tied to the narrative, I also became conscious of who it was I was sending into battle, a decision that could potentially result in them never coming back.

The areas where combat breaks slightly are mostly related to a handful of oversights as to what information you’re given. Though you might have been given hints via a preceding narrative bit, you’re never allowed to see who or what you’re fighting before the fight has already begun. This makes selecting the right fighters almost a game of luck or forcing you to develop a standardized strategy and only focus on characters that work within it (which of course is compromised if one of those characters dies or is injured). It prohibits experimentation and seems kind of silly, as surely you could see the battle you were going into before you walked into it. This extends even into letting you see character stats, level up, or change items on the party select screen, which can have a huge effect on your outcome if you haven’t recently looked at and adjusted these earlier.

What’s surprising though, is that The Banner Saga’s flaws for as irritating as they often are feel less like problems and more potential. There’s so much here that’s inspired, engaging, and full of promise that anything that doesn’t work perfectly doesn’t bring the game down but show areas where it could be made even more amazing. This doesn’t make it a flawless game, but it does make it one that’s worth playing despite any mistakes it makes. Developer Stoic’s ambition is intoxicating and left me not unsatisfied by what The Banner Saga isn’t, but excited to see just how much more it becomes.
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24 of 32 people (75%) found this review helpful
14.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 10
A story very well done with many incredible elements, and that will make you almost cry. Early in the game you will feel lost, but long of the journey, you will getting the hang of the game and understand the story.
-A mixture of Final Fantasy Tactics and some RPGs and games Point click, make this game one of the best of 2014.
Make decisions in the midst of war, will make you think twice, because a simple decision can make you lose the battle.
-Graphs beautiful ... Clean and simple but detailed.
-Excellent soundtrack, Songs that make you want to stop the battle and listen.
-But the weak point of the game, it would be his lack of command and compatibility with the X360 control.
-Some commands are complicated because the screen is static and you do not to move it to different angles ... it always keeps the same angle, amid battles it ultimately fail bad gameplay.
-Another thing that could be better is the personaliação of perssonagens, it could be more like FFT, which has several items, jobs, and powers / different attacks, which ends up leaving the game more envolvente.
-The lack of animations of the characters, are always with the same anemation, do you get angry, but this is a simple and silly thing for an amazing game.
=Recommend a few people, more for those who like challenges
Note 79/100
(sorry my bad english... I tried!)




Uma história muito bem feita com muitos elementos incríveis, e que fara voce quase chorar. No começo do game voce vai se sentir perdido, mas ao decorrer da jornada, voce vai pegando o jeito do jogo e entendendo a historia.
-Uma mistura de Final Fantasy Tatics e alguns RPGS e jogos Point Clicks, fazem desse game, um dos melhores de 2014
-Tomar as decisões em meio a guerra, vai te fazer pensar duas vezes, pois uma simples decisão, pode fazer você perder a batalha.
-Graficos lindos e simples... Limpos mas detalhados.
-Excelente trilha sonora, Musicas que te fazem querer parar a batalha e ficar ouvindo.
-Mas o ponto fraco do jogo, seria sua falta de comandos e compatibilidade com controle do X360.
-Alguns comandos são complicados pois a tela é estatica e você não tem como move-la para diversos angulos... ela se mantem no mesmo angulo sempre, em meio as batalhas isso acaba prejudicando algumas coisas. outra coisa que poderia ser melhor, é a personaliação dos perssonagens, que poderia ser mais parecida com FFT, que tem varios itens, jobs, e poderes/ataques diferenciados, que acaba deixando o game mais envolvente.
-E a falta de animações dos personagens que sempre estão com a mesma animação, fazem voce ficar irritado, mas isso é uma coisa simples e boba, para um game incrivel.
=Recomendo a poucas pessoas, mais para aquelas que gostam de desafios


Nota 79/100
----PS:A linguagem em Portugues é horrivel, deve ser portugues de portugal, mas mesmo assim ajuda muito na historia.----
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15 of 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
I can honestly say that I enjoyed this game very much. Few turn based games have ever caught my attention but The Banner Saga managed to do so. The artwork and soundtrack are wonderful and the setting for the game is amazing and original.
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13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
15.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
The Banner Saga is a charming little tactical RPG with a good story and some interesting decisions. It's set in an idealized Viking-ish world, where humans and varl (read: giants) coexist, more or less, and occasionally unite to fight off the dredge - a race of poorly-motivated Bad Guys. The game excels at its aesthetic - the setting, the characters (though not the writing), and the art and music are all quite good. Those elements serve to create a feel for the game and, while I may be critical of some of the actual gameplay elements, it's important to note that those gameplay elements are ultimately servants of the general aesthetic the game is going for, and in that capacity, they serve it well. The game does a really good job of creating an interesting, well-put-together setting and aesthetic, and of arranging game components (of which there are a few) to support that goal. The game components are:

Combat. It takes place on orthogonal tiles where you control different characters (up to six) and try to beat up your opposition. Characters have strength, which counts as both hit points and damage dealt. When you get hurt, you also do less damage, as your strength goes down. Characters also have armour, which is directly subtracted from any damage taken. Armour can be difficult to remove and is often high enough that you have to spend a little time getting rid of the stuff before you can really lay into your opponent. Characters have a special ability, and they have some extra (limited) 'willpower' points they can add to specific actions to move faster and hit harder. Also, the combat has this weird thing where, as long as there's more than one person per side, each side alternates taking actions. So even if you have three people and the computer has nine (or vice versa), you still get to act as often as your opponent - with the result that if you have fewer people, they will get to act more often overall. Consequently, contrary to most games of its type, I felt the best strategy was to weaken without killing my opponents in order to make them useless, thereby wasting my opponent's turns. It seems better, in some respects, to have a few good characters than a bunch of crappy ones. The game makes when to kill vs. when to wound an interesting tactical decision.

The combat's good enough for what it is. Generally, I enjoyed it. I felt to really excel at it (rather than just win on normal), a player would have to math it out a little to be able to optimize special abilities (some of which are just crazy if used right) and to avoid damage at key moments. That's not me. I like to run intuitively on my tactical RPGs, so while I had no real problems, I also recognize I'm not playing the game on hard any time soon.

Resource management and strategic decision making. You spend a lot of time watching your caravan move across frozen tundra being chased by the dredge, and running out of food. Running out of food is bad, as members of your caravan leave (or die off, I guess) and your moral drops, making tactical combat harder. Tactical combat gains you renown, which you can use to level up your characters to make them better fighters, or to buy food (or to buy artifacts, but that's the worst use of it, I think). Your caravan contains fighters, varl, and clansmen, and occasionally you'll use the fighters and varl to conduct a large-scale combat that is handled off-screen while you handle a typical tactical combat using your heroes. If people starve, you'll run out of fighters and varl, which I guess would be bad? I don't know. Never seen it happen. The whole large-scale 'strategic' game doesn't really seem to do much.

Interactive story events. You are given a situation, you make choices, and then things happen. It's not always clear why the things that happen happen, and sometimes those things are really bad, but not something you could've anticipated. I had to reload a couple times because I'd made a choice that saw me lose a few key heroes, and I didn't know that would happen. Good (/lucky) choices can gain you renown, same as in battle. Choices that gain renown are, I found, much easier to anticipate than other choices, and don't seem as arbitrary. It's better than it sounds - while the choices you make are annoyingly opaque, I think they're supposed to be so. Bad things are supposed to happen, and you're supposed to pick up the pieces. In all cases, that's much of the game - the characters you control are people who are watching things go south awfully quickly. Making choices where you don't know what's going to happen, and often what happens is bad, is pretty consistent with the game as a whole.

Generally, the game was quite good. It won't be for everyone. But I think those who appreciate it will really enjoy it.
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
36.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
This is hands down one of the best games I've ever played. Rich immersive art and music that resonates with Nordic bones. Epic story telling that thrusts you into situations with which you can't tell what is the most advantageous choice even a few times through. The battles feel dire from your first encounter. Every time an ally is downed it feels fatal and every victory is glorious. You must master stratagem, positioning and party composition in order to survive this journey.
I hope a sequel is coming with a Vs mode and more diverse enemies.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
Are you a happy individual that always sees the best in people? Play this game and prepare to have your soul shattered.

Fantastic narative with familiar combat mechanics that calls back to the old school RPG's of the late '90's. Great characters with strong development as the story progresses. This will often tug at the old heart strings as your choices will have an impact on the characters.
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16 of 20 people (80%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
One of the better Kickstarter games out there. I liked the setting. I liked the turn-based combat. I liked the minimalistic voice/animations. I liked the art style and 'deep' world. Everything seemed positive but I didn't feel like it was a completely positive experience.

I appreciate that the devs wanted us to view this world through different group's struggles, but I initially didn't even know whom to identify with and care about. We are thrown into the deep end and expected to make the right decisions (I say right because you can lose some of your main characters in the game, which in my opinion removes interesting stories/interactions down the line).

Worth buying on sale, but be warned that it's quite short (~7hrs).

Pros
- Your choices do affect the outcome! (#shotsfired #telltale)
- Great art style (especially visible during the numerous 'walking' segments). You get a real sense of the minuscule size your units occupy in this unforgiving world.
- Turn-based combat (though innovative, it isn't as deep as I was hoping. I ended up doing the same thing in every fight for most of the game).
- It may take time, but you do start to care for the main characters (Rook!)

Cons
- Story on Iver, the Bellower, the serpent and the Council is seriously lacking.
- Everything loads slowly (Map, Camp, Towns, Interactions).
- Map is an illusion (extremely detailed map, but most of it is pointless).
- No side-quests.
- Resource management actually doesn't matter much (I had my caravan starve many times due to random events, but still won every fight easily).
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12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 15
8.8/10

+ incredible presentation, graphics look handmade in pseudo-3d environment, the result is breath-taking
+ incredible soundtrack
+ gameplay wise it's a turn-based strategy game, fans of the genre will like the mechanics, although not as deep as in classics of the genre like homm. as far as difficulty is concerned it's on the easy side
+ heavily focused on story, a story about an alliance of giants and humans vs the dredge (with some twists). great atmosphere
+ seems your decisions influence the story, so the game has some replayability
+ game length seems fine (not a very long game though, but i prefer that since the quality of the game is very high)

- as i wrote game is easy for those familiar with the genre
- the game is story driven, which is great for me, but sometimes it's very heavy on text. also people and places have weird (or difficult if you prefer) names that make me loose immersion, because i just can't remember who is who (lol)
- map has no practical function, didn't help me at all

a high quality game, very fresh for the genre since it has a rich and very interesting story to tell, if this is an indie game it's definitely an example of how an indie game should be. waiting for more from this talented developers.
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