The Banner Saga 2 PS4 Review

If you’re among those who haven’t played The Banner Saga yet, play it now. Period.

By RON, Posted 11 Jul 2016

The long-awaited sequel for Stoic’s acclaimed turn based tactical game set in the midst of a Viking Saga, The Banner Saga 2, has finally arrived on consoles. 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.

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The Banner Saga 2 shapes the way this new story will be delivered. Just like on PC, the PlayStation 4 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.

From the very beginning, The Banner Saga 2 lets you decide the start of its story depending on how you’ve finished the first Banner Saga game. You either play as Rook or Alette (Rook’s daughter) alongside with your most trusted companions Hakon and Iver. Egil, Eirik, Oddleif, Tryggvi, twin brothers Hogun and Mogun, Mogr, Fasolt, Yrsa and Prince Ludin are also part of the pack while they travel towards Arberrang, the human capital. 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.

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The game mechanics, although enhanced slightly, remain pretty much the same in their essence. The story of The Banner Saga 2 is the only change Stoic actually brings. The plots in the first game were slow paced, because the game was introducing the characters and the world of the game. This sequel gets you right into the action and will always keep you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning. The game strengthens the individualities of each character, and at the same time of the foes too. You’re constantly tested with the will and strength of your characters against a world about to be consumed by the darkness. Obviously, controls in PS4 during battles aren’t as user friendly as they are on PC. Even though it’s not a very big deal, but uses of pointer could’ve been an easier method than D Pad buttons. The pointer, which is controlled by the Left Joystick button, is only available when the caravan is on rest. Then again, it’s the very least to complain about the game, while everything else about the gameplay is literally faultless.

Gamers who had played the first Banner Saga, wished to see voice-over during conversations instead of texts. Perhaps this wasn’t in Stoic’s agenda to include in the sequel, and neither does it look to be in the next game. The game provides very little commentary, through Rook and Alette when they reach certain milestones, which only increases the hunger for the voice-over conversations. There’s no doubt that the background music throughout the game is exceptionally good, but still the lack of voice acting during conversations makes the gameplay feel partial. The sequel would no doubt be among the top indie games ever if it had overcome this. Perhaps this is just my personal opinion, while the game’s lack of voice acting might give a particular type of charm to others.

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Despite that, with the beautiful aesthetics that made this game so appealing, as well as the music that 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. On top of that, the game feels extraordinarily well written, actions actually do matter, decisions carry on and the graphics and music are amazing. The great thing about this game is that you can play it over and over again it won’t feel a bit boring. Battles are full of fun, and the way they are presented requires your modest scheming, and developing the characters is also fun. So, if you’re among those who haven’t played The Banner Saga yet, play it now. Period.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Versus Evil
Developer(s): Stoic
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Role-Playing
Release Date: 2016-07-01

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