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The Banner Saga

Stylish RPG-lite, The Banner Saga takes its turn very well.

Anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely love RPGs. Final Fantasy, Star Ocean, Persona, Tales of… the list just continues and continues. The Banner Saga is an RPG that many of you have probably heard of already – its initial release coming 2 years ago on PC – and it was about time that The Banner Saga got some next-gen love, with it now finally getting a release on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The Banner Saga is a rather ‘lite’ RPG; it won’t take you weeks upon weeks of playtime to complete. However, the time you do spent on it will be just as enjoyable than any other RPG can offer you. This begins with the story, which is an interesting one because of the system it utilizes; instead of having one main character that you take control of, The Banner Saga gives the prospective of many different characters within the game.

It was a system that I really enjoyed, as the story was given extra depth due to the fact I could understand and get to know the characters more and more throughout the game. To sum the actual story up briefly, the game revolves around humans and Giants, known as Varl, where they must come together in order to stop the powerful force of Dredge, whilst also dealing with the frozen Sun and end of the world scenario.

 

What stood out for me in The Banner Saga was the visuals and sound, where both are nothing short of amazing, especially the latter. If you follow your games, you may have come across Austin Wintory before in brilliant titles such as Flow and Journey. Remember each of their fantastic soundtracks? Well, Austin has done it once again with The Banner Saga. The soundtrack is worth the purchase alone, with each note perfectly compliment the game and its tone. The Art Style present is also something to really admire, with everything having that polished look to it.

What stood out for me in The Banner Saga was the visuals and sound, where both are nothing short of amazing, especially the latter

Of course, the nitty gritty of it all is how it stands up gameplay wise. Really well is my answer, thanks to the tactical gameplay style that it delivers, where it often feels like you are playing a game of chess! It really feels like an RPG that has gone back to its old-school, turn based roots and for me, that is exactly what made me fall in love with the RPG genre in the first place. As you start the battle, you can move each of your characters in to a different square on the grid. Humans take up one square, whilst Varl take up four squares. However, there is a willpower stat attached to each character which restricts how much you can move each character, so beware to use it all up. Your enemies will have two main stats to them, a strength and armor stat. Is is equally important that you pay attention and destroy both stats evenly, as failing to do so may leave your attacks useless due to the opponents Armour.

The battles will get harder and harder as the game goes by, with a few rather annoying difficulty spikes presenting themselves along the way. However, as long as you have your tactical head on, battles can become very enjoyable and very tactical. As well as being tactical, The Banner Saga also lets you experience the story the way you want to. This is due to the amount of choices you get thrown at you in any given notice. These choices not only effect what happens at that point, but it can also effect the entire story down the line, which really made me feel like it was ‘my’ journey.

If you have a spare 10 hours or so, you won’t go wrong by picking up The Banner Saga. A old-fashioned RPG, it offers everything you could want from such a game. The great news is that The Banner Saga 2 and 3 are also planned, so I would definitely recommend you get an early start in the series. This is an RPG that you will not regret spending your money on, I promise you that!

9

A great old-fashioned RPG that goes back to the genre's roots.