Tuesday 6 September 2016

The Banner Saga I & II

An interactive piece of art.

There's a lot of walking in this game.

The world is ending, but goddamn it's still pretty. Truth be told I was gifted Banner Saga II first, played a bit and was so enthralled by the art style, music composition, and detail to the map and characters that I bought the first one to play through it properly. I'm glad I did too, because you get to build more of an attachment to each character in the story, who also double as your units in the tactical battle sections.

While this is no XCOM, there are still basic strategy options in play here mainly due to the shared stat of Strength, which is the damage you do and how much you can take before getting KO'ed. Since your squad will do less damage as they take more damage, ensuring that getting "first strike" is pretty important which often leads to battles where you just sit put and wait till the enemy is in range of a full charge. I like that.

These units can be levelled up by spending renown (which I should mention you can also gain via the training tent in II), which happens to be the same currency to buy food to keep your small army of followers happy and alive. Since characters can unexpectedly die, leave or turn against you this can be frustrating for some players who dislike "blind choices". Not for me though, I love the decision making section (and the "stuff happens, deal with it" part that comes after) - considering it to be the main part of the game.

Everyone obeys the squares!

The negatives for me is that both games are on the short-ish side (an understandable side effect of having the branching effect) and that they end somewhat abruptly with you wanting more! Guess that's not such a bad thing. I give these sagas three banners out of five, and am looking forward to the next one!

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