Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Banner Saga - Review

The Banner Saga is a turn based strategy game with RPG elements. The game has a very nice cel shaded look and the classical soundtrack is amazing. The game takes a non-linear approach to storytelling - you play different characters at different times. It also takes a new spin on turn based strategy. You have up to 6 characters on the field at one time and you take it in turns to move your characters as in a chess game. This really deepens the strategy. It means you have to think and plan your moves carefully in advance.

The storyline is great, the characters are real and they are well developed with flaws and everything. It takes place in a Viking inspired world in a mediaeval fantasy setting. You may be thinking ‘sigh, another one of these,’ but this game is not what you expect. It is very different from the usual fantasy game. The story follows two groups travelling through the winter on foot. One group is human and the other Varl - a race created relatively recently by a now deceased God. A third race called the Dredge are the enemy. This game has a mythology all its own. I can’t say any more without ruining it. Unfortunately, the story is a little short. It is possible to finish it in a matter of hours. It is almost a hybrid computer game-comic book.

Now, I bought this game a couple of months ago, but it would not work on my computer after I downloaded it. It is a new computer with a great graphics card and freshly installed. Then I tried it on my laptop and it kept crashing randomly every time I entered a loading screen. I tried playing it all week on my laptop and eventually gave up out of frustration. When I went back to my PC it suddenly worked again - I don’t know if they patched it or what. So, if you don’t have money to burn don’t buy this game as it might not work.

If you ignore the bad points or have a spare $15 you are willing to lose buy it and play it. I do not regret playing this game. Lots of other people feel the same way as The Banner Saga gets 80/100 on metacritic. I am really conflicted about recommending this game and I really shouldn’t be. If the developers had just taken a little bit extra time and done more testing I would not hesitate to the recommend it.

3 out of 5

The Banner Saga is on sale on Steam Right now.

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