Banner Saga 2 (XBONE)

Following on from the first release at the beginning of the year, Stoic and Versus Evil bring a second instalment of the Banner Saga series. Banner Saga 2 carries on the story of Rook and his daughter Allette after the battle of the Bellower.

In a rich and beautifully illustrated Viking world it is hard not to feel a bit swept away as our hero and heroine must take on yet another challenge. Banner Saga 2 provides a rich story experience much like its predecessor, with strategy and asset management at its core.

Where Banner Saga left us mourning the loss of one of our beloved characters, the sequel pulls us back in and proffers up what may be the most difficult choice for its established fans. But already I’m bordering on spoilers, so I’ll digress.

Whatever you choose at the beginning of the game, you will be given a strong and well established story from the first game. As will be familiar to many already, turn based battles with dialogue options in silent cut-scenes are used to tell the story behind the war that rages.

As before you will have to manage many factors all at once: supplies, morale, allocation of Hero promotions, warriors for battle vs hunter/gatherers of supplies, time spent making forward progress vs time spent resting for your men’s morale, and much more.

There is a lot to learn upfront in tutorial for those new to the game, but with a bit of practice the controls become second nature. The difficulty and success of the game is then left in the hands of well-made strategic choices both in battle and out.

The difficulty curve is gradual- as you become more accustomed to the game and how to play, Banner Saga 2 will push the difficulty upwards to challenge you and make you think. But never does this difficulty become too excessive or unplayable.

Tutorials are clear and concise, mostly offered upfront. The world around you is shown on a map and each location is shown relevant to your position in the world. Information is given on each town and no clear path is given to you, which leaves you with a sense of choice as to where you might decide is the best path to take- be it by water or by land. Inevitably this leaves the game an opening too in throwing curve balls in your direction, blocking routes that once seemed ideal and challenging you to take a less relaxing route.

The nature of the game does not necessarily leave you with a feeling of great replayability, however some choices made along the way could be altered which would change the outcome. A more experienced player may also find great delight in playing through the game purely to improve their own strategies, but this is likely to be only the diehard fans of the series.

Banner Saga 2 is currently available with XBox Games with Gold for the month of July. If you played Banner Saga and loved it, this is the perfect continuation to the story and will provide you with more hours of the same compelling and challenging gameplay. If you are yet to jump into the Banner Saga series (as I was) you will be left at no loss by picking up Banner Saga 2. Recaps ae offered to bring you up to speed on what has already taken place before setting you off on your adventure into this wild and picturesque world.

Remutha, or Rem, has been writing for 8 years. Combining this with a love of video games Rem has been writing game reviews for 2 years.

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