After the delightful adventure that was the first Banner Saga, I was excited to dive into the sequel. Boy does this game improve over the first one, it doesn’t exactly change up the formula but it plays to its strengths. Continuing the narrative from the first game it helps to set up future events and keep you entertained while doing so. Without further ado, lets continue the adventure, in The Banner Saga 2.
The first thing you have to understand with TBS2 is that it feels very much like the middle of a trilogy. Feeling almost like The Two Towers or Empire Strikes Back, as you feel the events building up towards the final instalment. That’s not to say it becomes a bad game because of this, I mean Empire was my favourite Star Wars. You are able to continue on the narrative that you started in the first game and that helps to tie in this massive adventure across three games. The story however does drag a little in the start, finding trouble to cause tension the way the first game did. That however becomes a blur as you progress further into the delicate world crafted by Stoic Studio.
The Banner Saga 2 is still very much a game where you travel across the exciting landscapes while making some pretty important decisions. The focus of the series still remains to be a strong narrative with turn based combat in between. Having played this just after the first game, the combat feels just as clean and simple to pick up. You still progress by levelling up your characters through battle experience, which can be done in large numbers, making certain areas of the game feel a tad bit easy. Despite feeling too powerful in areas the core gameplay that we were introduced to before still has its positives. For example there is much more variety in battles to do with ally and enemy types.
My favourite part of the original was the deep narrative taking place. Taking a save over from that game into 2 enhances that experience perfectly and brings you an advantage in both experience and strength. With the game feeling very much like a sequel it’s fair to say if you didn’t like the first then you wont like this game either. But with such a charming art style and narrative what’s not to love about this adventure?
Speaking of the art style, it’s back and as gorgeous as ever. It’s become a very distinct style for the series and blends well with all the characters and landscapes you’ll see. You can expect very much so to see it return in the third instalment of the saga which I look forward to. Choices are still very important factor to take into account. As you travel across the wild-lands, you’ll make occasional stops and make some important decisions. They carry the same weight that they did in the first game, as what you decide could risk the life of someone you care about. You wont always know how a decision will change the overall outcome of the game ,so just like the first I encourage multiple playthroughs for a variety of stories and experiences.
Summarising the game we have a fun adventure that fulfils the goals to set continue the story while setting up the future. The game is a present packed into a tidier gift box than the first game came to us in. All of the mechanics and ways of the world has been improved on to give players a much more refined experience from start to finish, and it’s for that reason that makes your opinion of the first game carry on over to the second. If you only had minor issues with the first game and it put you off a bit, then it might be worth trying this to fix that hole in your heart. I personally enjoyed this title more than the first even if the end felt rushed. It gets me excited to finish the trilogy and tie up all loose ends with my favourite characters.
I score it a 8.5 out of 10
With the third game reaching its kickstarter goal not too long ago we can expect to finish the adventure December 2018, there’s no better time than now to get invested in this wonderfully crafted world.