A Viking theme based game? I don’t recall encountering any decent title based on that theme in the past few years, so naturally my curiosity and expectations were piqued. I was pleasantly surprised with Banner Saga. What I got was a bleak but beautiful, unpredictable (characters you grow found of falling dead) game with a sense of foreboding that lingers throughout the entirety of it. Naturally, I have loved every second of it! And no, I am not a masochist.
Banner Saga has 2D graphics which quite poignantly convey the brutal times these warmongers used to live. The players will be subjected to situations where tough decisions have to be made. The choices made by the players will reverberate through the game, shaping events and the narrative. The single player campaign which is the core of the game comprises of turn based combat system. Players can build up a posse (Viking posse if you will) of characters with different powers. This posse will have the job of battling the Dredge. A race which wants to wipe humanity off the face of earth and led by an equally malevolent character called Bellower.
Banner Saga breaks the norm by omitting the archetypical elves, dwarves and other fantastical creatures from the roster of tactical role playing. Instead, we are treated to Disney like hand drawn graphics depicting the harsh Scandinavian landscape. The soundtrack, which often and usually plays second fiddle (pun intended) to the gameplay and graphics, gets a worthy mention here because it won the composer a Grammy nomination.
Overall, Banner Saga is an awesome addition to the tactical role playing genre.