Top Critic Average
If anything, the game's limitations—the wooden conversations, the nonsensical and uneven means of resource management, the repetitive combat, the lack of real agency in determining your fate, the possibility of game-ending failure—become more glaring as it goes on, but unaccountably, they all add up to a coherent whole.
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.
Normally if a story started in the middle I’d be confused, and if it ended with a lot of loose ends I’d be mad. The first entry in The Banner Saga did just that but I wasn’t mad. Instead, I was invested and intrigued. I felt a fraction of what each character was feeling, and then some. And most importantly: I sympathized.
The Banner Saga is one of the most original games you'll play this year. That such a small team has managed to create a story that will be unique to every player is astonishing, and that the story actually makes you care even more so. Buy this game.
Filled with strategic gameplay and impactful decisions, The Banner Saga is a gorgeously epic Norse-inspired adventure whose only real fault is that there isn't more of it. I can't wait for part two.
The Banner Saga, while not absolutely perfect, ticks many boxes of what makes an RPG great. The story is deep and emotional, and the combat, marching and decision-making all have their own systems in place that work well by themselves and perfectly with each other. A game that will stay with you long after you finish.
This game is undoubtedly a dream on the Switch. Perfect for the console's mobile nature, there's just something soothing about watching your caravan trundle along when you're on a commute of your own.
The negatives aren't that big of a negative for me, however, I do love role-playing games where you actually control your character and can move freely around the map. This game is one of the best tactics rpgs I have played in my life. I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to try it out whether you get it for Switch or not.
Distinctive writing, nuanced combat and impossibly beautiful art headline The Banner Saga. Strong workmanship went into the character builds. The rethought turn-based tactics are unique and sensible. And I just couldn't slow down the insistent narrative of this brave world and the bold new legend it's sewing together.
The Banner Saga comes to Nintendo Switch via a fantastic and faithful port, its dire tale of survival and strategy completely intact. It plays well, it looks fantastic, and every battle and dialogue choice is here for the taking.
A piece of art that asks the player to buy in to it's massive cast of characters and fall in love with The Banner Saga's involving story. Finding the perfect route will have players replaying The Banner Saga an endless number of times.
The Banner Saga isn't what you'd strictly call "fun." Instead it's interesting and challenging, more like a chess match than death match. But there's an incredible satisfaction when you take on a gang of armored monsters that by all rights should trample you, yet you're able to hamstring their health then line them up for execution. It's also comforting to know that although you can't outfight a towering Varl, perhaps you can out think him.
If you've got a hankering for strategic role-playing and an epic narrative with plenty of player choice, The Banner Saga should become one of your priorities on PS4. The combat, while a little uneven difficulty-wise across the game's campaign, nevertheless manages to hit the sweet spot between simple accessibility and strategic depth. You'd also be hard-pressed to find an indie with as much artistic inspiration: gorgeous character art, painterly backgrounds and an exceptional put to rest the misguided notion that indies can't turn out aesthetic appeal on a limited budget. Sure, it's not always perfect — the game's lack of guidance, difficulty spikes and voice acting may occasionally leave you feeling a little lost and alone — but perhaps that's just in keeping with the unforgiving Norse world that inspired it.
Ultimately, the steep learning curve and focus on statistics management which could be considered a hindrance is vastly outshined by The Banner Saga's absolutely memorizing production value.
The Banner Saga is an absolutely gorgeous, engrossing RPG that features well-balanced and pleasingly tactical turn-based combat. It's a linear journey, but one that's definitely worth taking.
The Banner Saga is a challenging game that is as frustrating as it is rewarding. It has its flaws, but is overall a compelling, fantastically written and beautiful game that makes you care deeply about the actions you take, whilst reminding you powerfully of the thanklessness of leadership in a difficult and dangerous world. Depending on your decisions, the game takes around 7-15 hours to complete, and yet whilst the entire narrative may not be that long, it sucks you into its fantastical Norse would and leaves you wanting more by the end. Stoic has projected a trilogy of Banner Saga titles; if the sequels live up to this first episode, the series will no doubt have a dedicated and very well-deserved following able to more than live up to its Kickstarter campaign.
A riotous, non-linear RPG with great turn-based battles and a delectable 1980's style cartoon veneer, The Banner Saga is the first truly essential strategy title on PS4.
The Banner Saga is a great game as long as the player is willing to accept its theme and its overall tone, while also harboring at least a little bit of love for the turn-based battle system.
Regardless of some of our complaints, we invested many hours into this game, enjoying every bit of its refreshingly simple gameplay. We also couldn't tear ourselves away from the breathtaking background drawings and impressive character art that portray a new and mysteriously beautiful world that awaits to be discoverd.
Now available on the Nintendo Switch, The Banner Saga is the first part of a trilogy that lays the foundation for a great story, a complex turn-based tactical-RPG and a wealth of content. It's an excellent pick for fans of the genre who are not afraid of the slow pace of the game.
You can nitpick The Banner Saga to death, but despite its flaws the game is a joy to play. People who are looking for a fantasy world with weight and depth will fall in love with Stoic's tale of man and varl pushed to the brink. This studios first attempt at a full single player campaign has demonstrated their skill, leaving me hoping there is more in store.
The Banner Saga is a dark and onerous experience, but it's one that draws you in. I'll be waiting with bated breath to see which way this winding path darts next. Something tells me we're not out of the woods just yet.
It makes one or two minor stumbles along the way, but The Banner Saga continues to stand tall two years after its original release. Empowered a truly jaw-dropping art direction and the masterful audio work of composer Austin Wintory, Stoic's plans to expand the franchise are certainly justifiable.
As an audio-visual experience, The Banner Saga is hard to beat. Tough choices and an elegant combat system help make the game fun and engaging right up to the end. With a few tweaks to the resource management system and some real soul-searching on enemy variety, Stoic could have a really terrific game on their hands. They're not there yet, but they're on the right track.
The designer Sid Meier famously said that a game is a series of interesting choices. It's a maxim fully embraced by The Banner Saga, which stitches those choices into its very fabric to form a tapestry that is wholly your own.
Get used to the clumsy controls and The Banner Saga is a great role-playing ride right the way through to its conclusion. Meaningful player choice and engaging storytelling are broken up perfectly by bouts of enjoyable strategic combat, which creates a wonderfully paced experience that's very hard to put down. This is a banner that we want to see soaring well into the future.
The renown mechanic was a huge misstep and the Dredge become a bit dull after 15 hours of slaughtering them, but Stoic has still managed to weave a compelling tapestry of epic conflicts with emotionally engaging characters. When I found myself with a dagger in my back courtesy of characters I trusted, I was enraged. When I saw my warriors survive against the impossible odds, I was elated. It's a rollercoaster of agonising decisions and hard-won battles, and as filled with sadness as it is, I was just as sad to step off the ride.
The Banner Saga has flaws, but that does not stop it from being a worthwhile epic that gets so much right that its issues with railroading and combat variety are minor obstacles in the path of this dark, compelling giant of an RPG.
If you happen to love Norse mythology or epic fantasy stories full of consequence and deft storytelling, then look no further than The Banner Saga. This is a beautifully crafted game that uses its intriguing cast, gripping tale and absolutely stunning artwork and soundtrack to transport you to a world filled with plenty of danger and surprises. The turn-based strategic battles might not be equally as thrilling to everyone who plays this, and the interface in this part of the game can be a bit clunky at times, but this doesn't detract too much from the collective offering.
If it were titled The Banner Saga: Chapter 1, then there'd be no argument worth mentioning in relation to its length or aspirational goals, and at this stage I can only assume that there is a new Banner Saga game, or Chapter 2, in the works. If there isn't then the choice of buying and playing this great game would become as futile as the ones made within the game itself -- namely, a lot of people will get hurt.
The Banner Saga's strong narrative, exquisite visual design and distinctive thematic approach to RPGs coupled with its insistence on making every decision and conversation have an impact on player experience make it a must-buy for Strategy-RPG fans.
[D]espite all its strengths, it somehow falls slightly short in simply being fun to play. Due to the bleak landscapes, the depressing situations your characters find themselves in and the challenging tactical combat, this is a game for those who will find the challenge rewarding rather than those looking for lighter entertainment.
It has been a few years in the making, but the Xbox version of 'The Banner Saga' is a wonderful experience. I sincerely hope that Stoic releases the sequel on this platform as well, because they have a good thing going here and the more people who experience it, the better.
The game runs about 4-5 hours long depending on which difficulty you play and how long you take to make choices. Overall, if you are into tactical RPGs and like the whole viking aesthetic, you should enjoy this game quite a bit.
If you read my preview of the game late last year, there were a few things that didn't click with me about The Banner Saga. Yet playing through the full game, I wasn't noticing those issues as much. They're still there, but I was able to look past them. You can see the BioWare design influences heavily, and it's nice to see the focus shift to the overall story of the world and grand conflict, rather than individual personal stories. It creates a vast story that will change every time you play it, and your choices are surely going to play a part in the next two installments. But, yes, if the story and art style doesn't interest you, then the combat will absolutely draw you in.
Stoic had me hooked within the first five minutes through the visual and sound design alone. The hand-drawn art style is reminiscent of animated feature films, and in conjunction with a soundtrack composed by Austin Wintory (of Journey fame), The Banner Saga presents a melancholic, unforgettable atmosphere which will grip you immediately. It's a shame more couldn't have been done to give the battles more complexity, but the choices you're forced to make throughout the adventure, and the sheer beauty of the world, more than make up for a lack of strategic depth. In fact, I could've played The Banner Saga on aesthetic direction and risk management alone—both are that engaging.
Imagine Game of Thrones crossed with a dark, brutal, bleak Disney production that Disney would never dare to make, and you're pretty close to The Banner Saga. Stoic have delivered a cracking tactical RPG centred around an impressively elegant combat system and a peripatetic adventure that never lets up with tough choices and decisions to be made, letting the burden of leadership weigh heavy on players' shoulders. Engrossing, challenging, and aesthetically striking, The Banner Saga is a crowdfunded triumph.
As a package, The Banner Saga is addictive, attractive, compelling, enjoyable, and truly challenging on the higher difficulty level. Some will find fault with the price, given that the Xbox One version is £15.99 and the PC and iOS editions have been available for a third of that in their time, but we say that the price is fair for what you get here. It's been a long wait, but there's nothing like kicking back and overseeing your merry band of fantastically animated fighters trekking across a frozen wasteland on a big-screen TV, or hearing the roaring clank of metal on metal as you fire in a battle-winning series of attacks.
If your favorite aspects of Fire Emblem games were the story and you're antsy waiting for the series to arrive on Switch, sitting down with The Banner Saga might be a good way to sooth your tactical RPG desires.
Repetitive battles are The Banner Saga’s biggest issue, but they don’t stop the enjoyment from what is otherwise a fantastic experience. Strategy and fantasy enthusiasts should find a lot to enjoy here. Roll on part two!
The tale that this first chapter in The Banner Saga weaves will have you gripped from start to finish. The player is left to exist in a world that has been meticulously crafted, whether that be the breathtaking art direction, the riveting efforts at world-building or the gameplay mechanics that underpin the experience.
The Banner Saga expertly weaves a compelling story and a fun combat system into a memorable experience. The tactical battle system is engaging and the characters are interesting to interact with. Check this one out if you haven’t already!
The Banner Saga is a good game when it comes to it's unique combat, art style, and atmospheric score but the awkward transition of the menus to console and the presentation of its plot hold it back from being great.
If you don't mind a tough experience and a little frustration The Banner Saga is well worth picking up as it's a unique experience, and both story and animation justify a purchase. However the game's flaws mean it may annoy more than delight, and while decently sized at around 15 hours play time I can't honestly say I'd play it again just to make the right choices. Beautiful, well written, but aggravating. That's The Banner Saga in a nutshell.
Some of the most difficult decision-making in gaming, both tactically and morally, but occasional rough edges betray the game's small budget and short development time.
The desolate landscapes, the constant fear of death, the beautiful artwork, it's all top notch stuff. I'm just not sure the core mechanics that make up the bulk of actual gameplay are strong enough.
The Banner Saga paints a bleak world with its dialogue, artwork and soundtrack, one that engages the player with every tough choice that it presents. With each decision, the player helps to write their own story of survival against the odds, although the overarching storyline can at times pale in comparison to the struggles of the caravan. Thankfully, it also presents a tough tactical RPG that rewards the use of careful strategy and punishes those who rush in without a plan. Those with a penchant for a tightly woven narrative and tactical thinking will enjoy the deep layers that The Banner Saga provides.
The Banner Saga is a unique tactical game that stands out among its peers thanks to its art style and visuals, as well as to its very challenging combat system. Were this game longer and with a more elaborate plot, it could very well be one of the finest in the Nintendo Switch catalogue.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
With beautiful hand-drawn animation and combat, The Banner Saga is a welcome relief to a gaming environment that is full of fast-paced and realistic scenarios. Making decisions and not knowing what the consequences of your decision keeps you on your guard through out the game. Given the slow pace of turn-based combat, I wish the game included a save function in the middle of combat. I also had a problem figuring out when the game last saved, but who needs saving when you are immersed in this epic story of hope and survival.
The Banner Saga's first chapter opens a window to the potential this series has, but now Stoic need to work on solving the issues for the sequel so that this series can become a truly great strategy RPG.
The Banner Saga, for all its visual elegance, stumbles onto the PS4 with a very spare, workmanlike port that falls short not through any single big problem, but from the accretion of smaller issues. from the interface to the controls to the loading times. For all its faults The Banner Saga is clearly a labor of love.
The Banner Saga is a very good game with some obvious flaws. Some are due to budget, some are due to poor design. That doesn't stop the game from being fun, although it can make it occasionally frustrating. Still, it's worth playing and seeing and hearing.
Sure, sometimes the travel sequences can be boring and the combat isn't quite as fleshed-out as other games in the genre, but it still has that certain je ne sais quoi that makes you want to push on until you make it to the end
Despite spending most of my play time watching characters talk or travel from one side of the screen to the other, The Banner Saga includes an enthralling narrative and makes use of some inventive combat mechanics.
It grew on me, which I admit is both contradictory and paradoxical in a way, given that I have criticized the game for its redundant features, tediousness and lack of variety. The visuals are certainly compelling and the animation is the most captivating aspect of the game. In the end though, this says as much about the content as anything else. The presentation promises much and is highly polished but it lies at the surface, working to conceal the more problematic aspects of the actual game itself.
The moment when Banner Saga starts to make sense is basically the last minute of the game. It gathers its meandering thoughts into a forceful statement at last, but that message doesn't redeem all the wasted breath before it. The game winds up in a neat place, but it's a shame about the road you take to get there.
The battle system controls easily and is fairly easy to learn; those who see this game basically like chess will enjoy it. Those looking for a new RPG to get into, however, should look elsewhere.