The Gods are dead, the sun has frozen and the foul scourge of the Dredge are trying to wipe out any trace of human life on earth. Well, that’s only if me and my army of men, giants and crazy fire-witches have anything to say about it.
This Banner Saga has been available for a while now on PC, but it’s just made the leap over to consoles with this version for the PlayStation 4. As a console kind of guy, I missed this one when it was first released but thankfully we get, at least for what I can tell, a near identical port that sacrifices none of the visual or technical qualities from the PC. Again, I’ve never played the original, so take that as you will.
For starters, I’ll say that it’s difficult to compare The Banner Saga to a lot of other video games as stylistically it borrows more from table-top role-playing games. There is a large emphasis on story and micro management of your resources between battles. Aside from the combat, you have a hand in determining the actions of a travelling caravan of fighters and settlers, who accompany your heroes on their journey. The mechanics of handling your caravan aren’t overly in-depth, merely consisting of rationing supplies to survive each day of travel and making decisions to keep up moral.
It plays secondary to the combat, but compliments it by adding moments of reprieve where you can relax and soak it in the gorgeous visuals and finely written dialogue. Speaking of the visuals, they are one of the game’s real highlights. Like a minimalist Disney in some ways but also retaining an air of Nordic renaissance. It gives The Banner Saga a very novel feel, like a fantasy novel come to life, with every new location having tons of hidden details that you may not notice on a first glance.