โพสต์: 29 เมษายน
The Banner Saga is a Strategy RPG that excels in presentation and storytelling, but falls a tiny bit flat in combat.
The game is based heavily on Norse mythology, in a world where longships and horsetravel is gone, and the primary mode of transporation is ox pulled carts and long, long caravans on foots. The gods are dead and gone, and men and Varl (giants) seek to eke out an existence among the frozen north in the wake of wars against the Dredge, massive stone-golem-like creatures. You play as several of the caravans, trekking across the world as the Dredge begin to return.
The game primarily plays out betwene two phases: Overworld and combat. The worldworld phase is your caravan travelling across the world, conusming supplies, and interacting with random events that can be good or bad, picking up new members of your caravan, and sometimes party members. You must track your caravan's food supply and their morale, as low supplies causes your caravan to starve, nad low morale decreases your units' Willpower in combat, Renown is the currency for the game, and it's used to level up units, buy supplies, and buy items. The best way to get Renown is to fight. So you'll be doing a lot of fighting.
Combat is turn based S-RPG fare. You get many party members, and almost every party member is their own class with their own active ability. Passives tend to be shared among archetypes: Archers, Melee damage dealers, tanky characters, etc. Characters level up as they personally accrue kills, so if you want to level up a character, you need to ensure they ge tthe killing blow. This becomes an issue later as future characters join at levle 1, and can't handle the rigors of combat well enough, often, to be handed kills in combat that comes to the wire at times.
In combat, units have Armor, Strength, and Willpower, along with Exertion and Armor Break values. Strength doubles as your damage as well as your HP, so a weakened unit will do only very minor damage. Armor helps mitigate damage, and high armor can even give dodge-deflection chance to attacks. Willpower allows a unit to gain a 1 for 1 advantage on attacks, or moving, giving an etxra edge. Exertion determines how much willpower can be spent on an action, and Armor Break determines how much Armor a character can shatter. As a character attacks, they cna attack Armor or Health. Armor must be broken, otherwise only you rmost powerful character swill barely scratch foes. By breaking amror, you open them up to future, highher damage from all characters, and so you want to have at least a few charatcer swith powerful armor break stats, and then powerful Strength attacks to followup for the kill. Combat turns alternate betwene you and the enemy, regardless of numeric advantage, and so a smaller party will act individually more often than a larger one. Ths leads to a prevailing combat strategy: Break Armor -> Maim units to 1 HP so they can't hurt you and enemies have to "waste turns" with weake, useless units -> clean up. This flow meant much of the time, I wasn't using active abilities, sinc ejust smashing their armor and then Strength attacing wa smuch more effective. This, along with only a few enemy variations, meant combat became formulaic after being figured out.
The story and music, and artstyle is fantastic, with huge, spanning panoramas as you travel. The presentation is beautiful, and the game ends on a cliffhanger with a sequel not out yet, multiplayer arenas notwithstanding. My only other minor complaint is probably not a real complaint: There are dialog choices with will, very abruptly, end in character deaths. You are not refunded the Renown spent on levelling up the character. Other characters will only join for a very biref time and then depart, taking kills and renown with them. It can be frustrating to have a character all game, and then realize because of one dialog choice made over half the game ago, a character was doomed to death with no chance to save him. You could argue this means all choices have real consequences. I would argue it was more frustrating than pathos creating. If a Renown refund had occured, I wouldn't have minded.
Despite that, I would recommend the game, if you're OK with slightly repetitive combat. It's not FULLY replayable in that you'll see "new content", but you could make the choices you didn't before. Some of them result in characters leaving, joining, or otherwise interacting in ways they wouldn't have otherwise. It is possible to kill damn near everyone in your caravan by the end of the game. Impressive or depressing: Your call.