Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Banner Saga: Factions First Impression

I never heard of Banner Saga before but apparently it's a pretty big deal as it's made by ex-Bioware guys. The Banner Saga went on Kickstarter and got around 7x the funding that they set out to get. Now, while the guys at Stoic Studios are working on the Single Player campaign of Banner Saga they released the multiplayer part on Steam, for free.

The first thing you'll notice is that The Banner Saga looks amazing. It's aesthetically very pleasing and the classic cartoon animation looks really great. The in-game animations are also very fluid and the character pictures when you look at their stats are also animated beautifully. Suffice to say that they really work hard to bring you a great looking 2D game.

How about the gameplay though? well, I'm not much for PvP Tactical Turn Based Strategy game but I do like Turn Based Strategy games and this game definitely delivers a great TBS experience. You can choose which units to bring into battle and each unit will have their own different function in the battle.

Units have different abilities that you can use to your advantage but basically they're divided into four types: Archer, Raider, Warrior and Shieldbanger. Archers are your usual ranged attacker, Raiders are like your Melee DPS with low health, Warriors are your melee attacker that does area attacks and Shieldbangers are your tank.

Each type of unit have three different advancement to choose from and each of those will also have different abilities. They seem to plan on adding the advanced classes later on and it'll really add more to the game's depth(which currently is already pretty deep).

The combat system is simple enough to learn but offers a lot of depth and tactical options. You can choose between two kind of attacks: breaking your opponent's armor or wounding him. Breaking the armor will reduce their armor rating, making them easier to wound for the rest of the combat while wounding them will weaken their attack damage. Choosing the right kind of attacks will be a very important aspect of combat in The Banner Saga.

Each match will earn you renown and renown will be used to upgrade your units or hiring new units. You can buy renown boosters with real money but it isn't really necessary to be able to compete. The game's item store is pretty good with only Renown boosters and unit color variations for sale. None of those pay-to-win crap which is very good. You can even buy a lifetime renown boost for $25(or $20 for now), which is a pretty good deal if you're planning on playing this game a lot.

With it's beautiful graphic style, fluid animation and interesting combat mechanics, The Banner Saga: factions is a really solid game. It's in itself a great game and serves as a good "demo" for those who are waiting for the single player campaign. I highly recommend this game for those of you who are more tactically inclined. Even those who doesn't usually like these kind of games should also try it out if only as a game to have fun with your friends.

Check out The Banner Saga: Factions on Steam

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