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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The Banner Saga - Massive Review Roundup #3

Default The Banner Saga - Massive Review Roundup #3

January 20th, 2014, 04:43
Well it's time for another massive review roundup for The Banner Saga. As usual below is just the link, and score awarded from each review in no particular order.

1. The Verge - No Score
2. Select Button - 7/10
3. NY Times - No Score
4. Giant Bomb - 4/5
5. The Guardian - 4/5
6. US Gamer - 5/5
7. Game Revolution - 3/5
8. Cinemablend - 4/5
9. Game Grin - 9/10
More information.
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January 20th, 2014, 04:43
Also finished the game at Saturday and can not recommend it to everyone.

The combat has very interesting mechanics. Each character stat made lots of sense and it's not like "he is a mage, I will increase mana". Also the mechanic that after each individual party member an enemy moves is very interesting. That way you might want to hurt an enemy very bad, but not kill him, so that this place in the line is not taken by a stronger hitting enemy. Lots of thinking, very cool system.
But while the combat itself is great it's not really embedded well.

The Dialogues:
The dialogues are designed to have voice acting. Like in a scene of a movie the picture of the scene changes at every sentence. You don't always see the guy talking, instead he is displayed in the bottom left. In a movie you can stick to a name, but in this game you need to remember lots of interchangable names and especially in the beginning it gets unnecessary hard to do so. You don't even really get WHO you are in the very beginning.

Partyswitching:
Once you got all the names mentioned before and learnt the skills of your members - you switch the group and start all over again…who am I, what am I dealing with? What can these guys in my group do?

Decisionmaking:
There are lots of decisions to make in the game. But the consequences are hardly apparent. This leads to group members dieing or leaving the party from one moment to the next. As you need to spend "Money" to train a character and you only have very limited resources you never know who you can or need to train. Your best group member may leave you every moment.

Music:
The Music preview they showed was misleading. The music is good for the most part, but sometimes it isn't. The sound levels of the tracks are very different and it's not possible to adjust the sound levels in the game. Some of the combat music tracks are annoying. Some of the tracks they advertised with are like 30 seconds tracks which repeat 3 times when running across a location, also gets annoying.


Imho the game wasted a lot of potential. They would have been off much better if they dropped one of the two groups (preferably the giant group as the story seemed chaotic) and the party switching and made a much more steady and immersive group instead. That way combat and the game itself would have felt much more rewarding.
But well…maybe they'll do so for the next Game they make.

If I had to give the game one of these 1-10 scores where 5 is already a rather bad game it would probably score a 7.
Also it is very short with it's 15h playtime. At least for what RPG and tactics players are used to get. While 23€ isn't really expensive, chances are high, that people won't like the game. Probably safest for most is to wait till the next sale, especially with M&M and Blackguards around the corner.
Personally got it for 10$ in Kickstarter, which was a really good investment for me.

My in depth Video Review (in German) will be available here in about 1 hour after this posting.
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January 20th, 2014, 05:51
The game has a rating of 82 on Metacritic, and most reviews are positive. So I can safely say congratulations Stoic, and I look forward to the next chapters,

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Last edited by Couchpotato; January 20th, 2014 at 23:26.
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January 20th, 2014, 08:31
I just finished it and enjoyed it. The wheels figuratively fell off my caravan toward the end, and I spent the last leg spending all my renown on supplies, instead of leveling my guys, which left me with a bad and wounded lineup when the final fight came around. After 6 or so attempts on normal difficulty, which I used for the entire game up to that point, I had to turn it down to easy, which made the final fight too easy.

I thought the length was fine. Frankly, I was getting tired of fighting The Knights of Ni. It seems these former BioWare devs just couldn't let go of the legacy of The Blight from Dragon Age. Always fighting the same guys in largely the same way is probably my biggest criticism of the game.

I liked the story just fine and liked bouncing between characters in different story arcs that occasionally came together. I thought all of the polish stuff was fine. Only crashed twice and only had one annoying visual bug that didn't last that long.

Sure, there's room for improvement, and I look forward to what I imagine will be an even better second chapter. Congrats, Stoic, on a damned good first showing.
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January 20th, 2014, 09:20
Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
I thought the length was fine. Frankly, I was getting tired of fighting The Knights of Ni. It seems these former BioWare devs just couldn't let go of the legacy of The Blight from Dragon Age.
Exactly what I thought. I'm so sick of the tried and true "ancient evil"-storyline.
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January 20th, 2014, 09:50
Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
I thought the length was fine. Frankly, I was getting tired of fighting The Knights of Ni.
I agree, I didn't like when I first heard game is only 10-15 hours long but more than that and game combat would become boring.

Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
Only crashed twice and only had one annoying visual bug that didn't last that long.
I didn't encounter a single bug which is unusual for ks game or rpgs in general.Cleanest ks game so far.

Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
Sure, there's room for improvement, and I look forward to what I imagine will be an even better second chapter. Congrats, Stoic, on a damned good first showing.
Also agree.Good debut, writing is good but combat need improvement especially variety of arenas and enemies.I would give it 7.5 or 8 out of 10.
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January 20th, 2014, 11:27
The game crashed twice for me, but that was it. For me that's not a big issue though.

What did bother me was that the dialogue screens were static. It was so beautifully drawn it would have been nice to see their lips move or see them do anything but just remain static…

Also one scene :
Spoiler


It feels like as "first-time" developers they wasted quite a bit of that 700k they got.

Logic Artists - with Expedtions - made a much better overall game imo, than Stoic did with a much bigger budget.
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January 20th, 2014, 11:44
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
It feels like as "first-time" developers they wasted quite a bit of that 700k they got.

Logic Artists - with Expedtions - made a much better overall game imo, than Stoic did with a much bigger budget.
I don't know about that. I could never never get into Expeditions, on paper it sounded great but it felt really clunky and uninspiring when playing it. Maybe I should give it another shot…
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January 20th, 2014, 13:59
Things I find better in expeditions :
Dialogue, quests, exploration.
Combat is the only better thing in the banner saga in my opinion.

And they both suffer from a lack of enemy types.

The banner saga is so linear they could have made the dialogue more interesting i think…
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January 20th, 2014, 14:08
Game was good, length was fine, the party switching not so much. All in all I'm quite happy with the game.
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January 20th, 2014, 14:22
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Things I find better in expeditions :
Dialogue, quests, exploration.
Combat is the only better thing in the banner saga in my opinion.
I find combat in Expeditions better than Banner saga, but Banner saga has better story and bit better writing and more interesting setting imo(both game good writing and unique setting which is big plus for me).

I agree that Expeditions is better in most fronts, but Banner saga did grow on me, maybe because I didn't have big expectations(unlike Expeditions which I backed on ks).
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January 20th, 2014, 16:23
I'd also recommend Expeditions Conquistador over Banner Saga.
While the combat mechanics of Banner Saga were very interesting and also the setting itself felt better (though both are a matter of taste), Expeditions Conquistador does a much better job on decisionmaking and it's consequences and generating an attachment to the group even though I could never remember all the spanish names my group members had.
The biggest weakness of Expeditions in comparison is the difficulty and AI.
Played both games on hardest and Expeditions was extremely easy except of two fights or so because the AI just was too stupid to use any situation for it's advantage. The banner saga on hard is….hard
But the Banner Saga has also the mechanics of uncontrolled upward and downward spiraling:
If you do great in combat you get lots of renown, you can buy more food, promote more people. Also you will probably get more kills as you can do the follow up fights in big battles which gives you even more renown and additional kills and items.
But if you do bad in combat you get less renown, less kills, can buy less food, promote less units and will probably do an even worse job in the next fight.
Due to the fluctuation of group members it's easy to get thrown into the downward spiral once they throw out your member you invested most heavily in.
In Expeditions Conquistador it was much easier to judge. Don't invest to heaily into native indians as they might leave you at some point and you are good.
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January 20th, 2014, 16:52
Idiot developers used a small font size. Is there an option to increase the fonts? Doubtfully… their bad.
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January 20th, 2014, 17:08
Well, you can decrease the resolution of your desktop. Banner Saga always runs in maximized windowed mode so it will take over your desktops resolution which will result in bigger fonts I guess.
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January 20th, 2014, 21:54
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Well, you can decrease the resolution of your desktop. Banner Saga always runs in maximized windowed mode so it will take over your desktops resolution which will result in bigger fonts I guess
Small tetxt is also a problem for me. Didn't even know The Banner Saga had it. The quote above likely will help. My desktop is at 1900x1080, but I have large fonts turned on in Windows 7 (control panel -> hardware -> display, I think the menus go). Text is quite large in the game.
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January 24th, 2014, 11:56
Here's our review: http://www.worldsfactory.net/2014/01…ings-got-style (80/100)

Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of WorldsFactory.net, a brand new Home Entertainment publication.
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