The Banner Saga 2

The Banner Saga 2 is an actual testament to what a great game can achieve, regardless of its precedence.

By RON, Posted 15 May 2016

The wind whistles stories through the deep and unforgiving landscape conquered by the footsteps of thee Norsemen. Time passed sometimes at dreading speeds and, sometimes, it sets camp within people’s bodies and makes them feel every waking hour as if centuries pass through them. That’s how it felt waiting for the Banner Saga 2, the long-awaited sequel for Stoic’s acclaimed turn based tactical game set in the midst of a Viking Saga.

The Banner Saga 2,Review,PC,Steam,Screenshots,Characters

Two years later, it feels as if this new game was some sort of new chapter in a very slowly developing story which unfolds in front of us two years at a time. Truth be told, this game is mostly thought for people who have already endured the roughness of the first entry and have been on the verge waiting for the second. First of all, even though you’ve lost many, your decisions and actions taken in the first game are not into the pool of casualties; as a matter of fact, they shape the way this new story will be delivered. Steam allows you to import your save file from the original game, so your actions will echo through to the new one. This is a pleasant trait for the sequel and a far much better solution than the recap intro cutscene you get to watch instead, should you choose to do so, or should you lack previous saves.

Second of all, game mechanics, although enhanced slightly, remain pretty much the same in their essence, so you actually feel like revisiting the first game, with its engine and mechanics. Perhaps the greatest change is the one you can find writing-wise. The plot in the first Banner Saga had to be slow paced at first, because they were introducing characters, settings and the world of the game. Fortunately, starting in media res, The Banner Saga 2 gets you right into action and there are a lot of tensionate moments that will leave you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning. Now, your rag tag group of soldiers, hunters and farmers feels more like they are actually living some sort of exodus a la Battlestar Galactica, with all the emotional and psychological disasters it implies. It is a game of the will and strength of your characters against the atrocities of the world about to be consumed by the darkness, and the mourning and inevitable loss of the ones you fought alongside with.

The Banner Saga 2,Review,PC,Steam,Screenshots,Characters

For anyone who loved the first the Banner Saga, this second installment is a well-deserved treat, albeit with a disappointing final mission, which does pay off in terms of narrative and story arches, but feels somehow anticlimactic in terms of story. Being the second part in a trilogy, The Banner Saga 2 feels a bit like watching The Empire Strikes Back or Reading The Two Towers. You can actually see how every piece is being set in motion and taking its place towards the final position in order to play a significant part in the end game, which might leave you feeling a bit uneasy, because of all the loose ends it presents, but this is, if anything, an invitation to replay the game as much as possible while you’re waiting for the third, and last, instalment in this saga.

Depending on the decisions made on the previous game, which, by the way, you can also decide again at the beginning of this instalment –the big final decision at least- you’ll begin as either Rook or Alette, his daughter. Also, it is worth mentioning that the decisions taken previously entail intense consequences, and definitively take their toll on the psyche of Rook, to say the least, who can be regarded as a very unstable person, and even lead to unique events and disastrous consequences in terms of narrative depending on what you chose in the previous game. Alette, on the other hand, rises as a great character, her arch feels integrated in an organic matter within the story, and her development as an interesting strong female lead is a well-received trait in this game, in which, by the theme and setting, one would think women would take second stage; however –and thankfully-, Stoic made an excellent job when it comes to character development.

The Banner Saga 2,Review,PC,Steam,Screenshots,Characters

With the beautiful aesthetics that made this game so appealing, as well as the music some people actually listen to outside of game due to its epicenes and delight, The Banner Saga 2 is an actual testament to what a great game can achieve, regardless of its precedence. If the game mechanics are well crafted and, on top of that, the game feels extraordinarily well written, actions actually do matter, decisions carry on and the graphics and music are amazing, then you’re in for an actual treat. So put on that that horned helmet, lace your cloak around your body and make your way to the icy landscapes of the northern lands.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Versus Evil
Developer(s): Stoic Studio
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Role-Playing
Release Date: 2016-04-19

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