Poor Man’s Gamer Presents: Strategy is Key Pt. 1, The Banner Saga

When I was a kid I got into chess for a little while, I was never any good at it, but whenever I got a chance to I would play it just for the fun of it.  As I got older I fell out of this phase, but deep down it instilled a love of strategy in me.  Strategy games can be ruthless in their difficulty and the learning curve required to play them, but there are countless games that go beyond this to achieve gaming that is not only fun but also addicting.  Over the next few weeks I will be exploring some of my favorite strategy games and sharing them with you.  To start off here’s a fairly new game.

A few weeks ago I finally got around to indulging myself in The Banner Saga, a turn-based strategy game set in a Norse fantasy world full of horned giants (Varl) and shadowy, armored creatures called Dredge.  In it you play through a set of different storylines as you investigate the never setting sun and the unexpected resurgence of the wicked Dredge.  The game takes place through two main parts: an action-filled fighting part and a party management part.  You change between them as the story progresses keeping your heroes properly outfitted for the ensuing battles.

The Banner Saga has a wonderful art style and story; both are prominent and unique in the current world of gaming.  The art style is in the form of 2D animations reminiscent of Don Bluth-era Disney (Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, and The Black Cauldron all fall into this era).  The story borrows lightly from Viking lore and takes place in a fictional land covered in snow.  The game’s story is deep and branching, engrossing from the beginning.  As you progress in the game you are given different choices that affect not only the story but also your party and your future potential.

As I said before this game is a turn-based strategy.  You take turns moving and attacking with a team that you develop throughout the story.  As you progress you face incredibly harder enemies and hordes as you risk your heroes to try and destroy the Dredge.  The game takes a few missions to get a good feel of the mechanics and a little while longer to understand how each character works best in conjunction with the others you happen to pick up.

Apart from the main story and playthrough, The Banner Saga also offers a free multiplayer mode called Banner Saga: Factions, which implements the games great strategy gameplay in a way that you can enjoy with others.

The Banner Saga puts together a fun and vibrant world full of exciting battle and gripping story.  The Banner Saga is a game that you should not pass up.  You can pick it up for $24.99.


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