The Banner Saga

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The Banner Saga: Factions is the premiere role-playing strategy game on PC and Mac. It brings the feeling of beloved tactical games to a high-definition era with gorgeous hand-animated artwork and a degree of depth unprecedented in the realm of free games. Fight, learn, and lead your clan of vikings to glory!

Total Rating: 9.50
Reviews: 2

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Post Date: 20:47 08-05-2015
Rating: 10
Author: axwellshm
Comment: Really cool game. Kinda reminds me on Neverwinter. I also really like the graphics, the gameplay, really good game. 10/10

Post Date: 16:07 19-04-2014
Rating: 9
Author: Thedarkboy
Comment: The Viking-influenced tale from Bioware-drop outs made a Kickstarter-success and is finally here. The Banner Saga is powerful, courageous and almost masterful. The sun has stopped, the gods are dead and Stoic has made a minor masterpiece. There is something special about The Banner Saga that makes me approach it with reverence, as if I know this is a tale that is valuable. My feeling proved correct.

I wander into a world that is buckling under its heavy Viking-legacy, and I really never stop walking. In the horizon I see fjords, infinitely long mountain ranges and fishing villages, all in the cold light from the quiet sun. I pass through communities with names like Grofheim and Skogr. I meet men and women who answer to the name Eirik and Yrsa. The names roll firmly in my mouth.

But The Banner Saga is more than the Viking influences. Stoic, the three-Bioware defectors, has created a world of their own with its unique conditions. Here are god created giants with their mighty horns. And there are demon like creatures who for countless years ago, set the world on fire. There are many indications that they will do it again. What makes the premise extra tickling, beyond the cartoon style graphics from Disney’s 1950s, is how we are never written on the nose. We are expected to know the world from the beginning. It makes perhaps the introduction slightly complicated, but in the long run the credibility wins on it.

With the flag flying and widespread across my more or less voluminous company I walk across the snowy expanses, day in and day out. In The Banner Saga, I am almost always on the move, often on the run, even more often with the odds against me. The food dwindle in ominous pace, the mood drops and I do what little I can to pour courage into my warriors: camp as often as I can, let a fun healthy man tell exciting stories and announce an archery contest.

Stoics story has two sides. Firstly, we have the wandering perspective, the hand-painted two-dimensional hardship that transports us through the raw story. And then we have the tactical, turn-based battles. They are ingenious and simple at the same time, just like the heat of the battle should be at its best.

The two most important parameters are the armor and strength which all the characters have different amounts of. The strength is, as the name shows, how vigorously you swing your weapon and fires arrowheads, but also your health points. The double meaning results in you becoming weaker the more health you lose, but with much armor the enemy will, on the other hand, get less devastating hits or misses the target completely.

Every fight is like a game of chess refined. Every move you do matters and it requires training and more training for successfully placing your characters in the right place at the right time. Giants require much space but have the potential to bring in powerful hits on multiple opponents. On the other hand, the vulnerable archers are indispensable when it comes to lowering enemies who lost their armor. Things become even more complicated - and titillating - as each character has a unique special ability. Hunter Rook, for example, highlights an enemy that makes him and the friends who are within range can get the ax and arrows away in a single round. His daughter Alette can shoot poisonous arrows right through the monsters that are presented on line. As deadly as beautiful.

However, I miss a richer flora of battles. Many tend to be quite similar; there are no dramatic elevation changes and rarely any surprising moments. It takes on the other hand the story again by a wide margin. Like The Walking Dead, your choices influence the history’s rampage. In some cases, they can be the difference between life and death, which makes me again and again end up in long discussions with myself.

Along the endless walk, you are often forced to take a stand. A cart with food plunges into a valley. Is it worth your time to try to get it up? A group of armed men I run into plead for some resources. Can you trust them? Can you even recruit them? I chose the latter. A few hours later, the men were lost - with a significant portion of my food storage.

Occasionally, however, I miss some life in the imagery. The style invites to dramatic scenes but usually the characters are straight up and down. However, developments are explained instead in text form. But to the game’s defense, it has a well written and fantastic script. The story seduces and hits me with turning points that gets the icy slopes seem like sheer roller coasters. Stoic themselves have said that they are aiming for the Game of Thrones audience. That they succeed with. Betrayal, blood, drama and anxiety intermingled all over The Banner Saga's dead sunshine.

And you know what the best is? This is the first part of an epic trilogy. The sun may have stopped but the trek has just begun.

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