The award-winning adventure continues in Banner Saga 2! This epic, story-based, role-playing game continues its emotional journey across a breaking world. Bold leadership decisions, wise use of resources, and skillful battle tactics are vital to ensure your viking clans make it through alive.
We follow the story of a human protagonist who leads a caravan of survivors from different races to a promised kingdom to escape a terrifying darkness that even fabled monsters fear. The choice of the protagonist is up to you if it will be the stern father or stalwart daughter as you make decisions to weigh the needs of cruel reality and the heart. This world has other marvels of whom are with you on the journey as foe or friend such as the Varl; horned giants molded by gods with long life spans and cultural pragmatism, horse-born; a centaur-like race who live in isolation in mountainous regions and Dredge enigmatic monstrosities who defy several laws of nature itself. Magic may still twist the very balance of nature itself but the gods have long left or died thus leaving the world in its most dire predicaments yet. Events will unfold to showcase the best and worst of humanity when push comes to shove during the apocalypse now it falls on your hands. The game is now available on Steam with a price of 20$
It is a turn-based strategy that brings a tactical challenge in hand-animated battle sequences through a tile-based movement system. Before you enter the battlefield you are given a selection of heroes to be chosen then line them up in turn order of your preference for easier tactical synchronization. There is no limit for a time frame for choosing your next move but the game may freeze after leaving it alone for 30 minutes. There are multiple classes that will grant a varied composition to different offensive and defensive approach to combat, the campaign will test you and will require either a balance between winning and surviving a conflict. Renown will be your currency and strangely your level up points, that alone is going to make your head scratch and produce lingering thoughts like will it be worth spending on? Gaining renown will be given for defeating an enemy, winning a fight, complete a training session and a few campaign decisions.
In-game battle has a few aspects that the world revolves around like every other turn-based strategy game. First off is the tile movement in which a character depending on the race and class will be limited on how far they can run by highlighting the available tile limit. Second is the attack option which is divided to either break the armor (Blue) of the opponent or damage their health (Red), also a reminder strength/damage is at the same parameters as the current health. Third is Willpower which will extend the range of movement or effectiveness of an attack/ability. Abilities are dependent on the hero’s class on how it will affect the battlefield and will drain willpower with each use.
Aspects on the Battlefield
The War Horn is a wonderful mechanic that rewards players for taking down foes with 1 willpower point, located top middle during a battle. It really helps when you’re in a bind or just really anxious to strike down heavy damage.
Hazards on the map like fiery and slag grounds make tiles harmful to both hero and foe. Barricades will force enemies to route their units and may cause them to get their units flanked or pinned if they chose to pursue, by the way, these barricades can be destroyed but it will waste their turn. Cracks,pits or cave walls will act just like barricades but with no way around them.
Campaign Decisions &Survival
As a leader,you will have to acknowledge the needs of many versus the needs of one. In most cases you just have to remember the number of clansmen, fighters and Varl located on the top middle portion of the screen. Each decision will also affect morale.
Morale is the state of the company portrayed by a face on the top middle UI and will grant bonuses to willpower, the current mood will also affect the actions and loyalty of the caravan.
Survival aspect in the game is frustrating and challenging but in a commendable pacing that only requires players to allocate the right amount of resources. Designating whether or not your caravan gets a full stomach and a smile on the side compared to Leveling up your character for new abilities, stronger stats and shopping for powerful artifacts. In your caravan there will be three groups, First is the Clansmen who can randomly gather food/forage for you and Fighters with Varls are your fighting force. Camping will let you train for new tactics and train clansmen to soldiers. Rest to heal your heroes and improve morale, market in some places of the map will provide options to buy equippable items and food, story related talk to NPC and an option to get back on the road.
This game will not require 500 fighters since this game isn’t about sending poor souls into a clash of armies rather it depends mostly on heroic assaults and probably decisions that will sacrifice about 150 fighters max throughout the game.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
For a low budget game, the artwork is cool especially since the hand-drawn style molds well into the animations. The background and environment give impact to the whole end of the world . The Norse theme has made its own unique flavor of the heroic warriors, gigantic Varl, vile dredge menders and their strange magic.
Feels like I’m in an epic narrative from a documentary from Discovery channel about ancient warriors. The developers have good taste in music and have placed in the Gregorian chants to the best moments in the game .Since cutscenes rarely come in, I would rate the voice acting with good quality and well-placed delivery. In the game’s sound effects it has simple audio regarding footsteps, objects breaking, weapon strikes and magical/abilities that grant adequate delivery on game performance.
You will be forced to separate heroes from the campaign on a few circumstances so it will be wise not to purchase too many trinkets on a few characters.
You can backtrack a decision of combat or campaign by reloading the file from the previous save and still gain additional renown or items from that previous adventure. Trying it multiple times will corrupt your save file and replaced it with the most recent one before it.
I have never played the first one but it welcomes me with open arms then hurled me into an amazing adventure. What makes this game compelling even to new players is the feeling in an original story that has interesting characters to care, use or hate. The other amazing part of the game is managing your resources and time to prepare for anything ahead. The Norse lore is quite fascinating and is well integrated to the livelihood/power/pride of the people living in it. Each chapter gives a challenge to the player and helps them explore new ways to enjoy a fight.
Now for the cons I mainly have gripes on a few issues like the training portions in which they have glitches of disregarding objectives or War Horn is not responding, even in normal mode you may gain 7 waves of skulking minions, some choices for outside assistance like side archers are not helpful and some of the conversation choices are just going to piss people off(applicable on both genders). The Banner Saga 2 as a whole is a great strategic game, cool Nordic lore and compelling combat with interesting mechanics that aren’t hard to learn or make new strategies of your own.
|+ Fun turn-based strategy||– Few glitches|
|+ Interesting characters||– Useless assets|
|+ Compelling story|
|+ Cool art and epic soundtrack|