The Banner Saga 2 (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Turn Based Tactical Role Playing Game
Developer: Stoic Studio
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platforms: PS4, Android, Xbox One, iOS, PC, Linux, Mac, Switch
Tested on: Switch

The Banner Saga 2 (Switch) – Review

Site Score
8.4
Good: Atmosphere, Visuals, Story
Bad: UI in handheld mode, Characters constantly maintain the same pose over and over again
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Versus Evil is working overtime to finish the third and final installment in the Banner Saga series, which will release on all major platforms in July. To make the game more accessible on the Switch, the developers decided to port the first two games to Nintendo’s new hybrid console and they did so in a very rapid pace. Only recently we retried our hands at the first game, and it is a bittersweet reunion with many characters from the first part now we already find ourselves at the doorstep of the second game. While we could easily tell you the same as in the review of the first part, we’ll try our best to voice our opinions without shedding too many tears.

Story

As we mentioned in the original review of The Banner Saga 2, you now have the option to import your save file of the first game, which will make sure your choices are remembered. If not, you’ll have to choose between Rook or Alette, meaning the other character has died. If you play with Rook, he will remain the leader of the caravan, if you opt for Alette, she will serve as the new leader of the caravan. This time the main objective of the game is to go to the human capital, Aberrang, with the remaining Varl of your caravan in tow. You’ll still have to be careful of the lurking dredge, and the monstrous Serpent that appeared in the first game, that was bound to consume the world. We can immediately tell you that many hard choices await in this second game of the series.

Graphics

Even though this game is the second one of the series, the developers pretty much stuck to the graphical style of the first game, with the motto: ‘why change anything if it already looks good’. You’ll be treated to beautiful combat animations, picturesque backdrops and many interesting looking characters. The important conversations are presented by cutscenes, which are all with still images with only small animated portions, such as a banner moving with the wind, making the cutscenes come to life, being more than still images. Other than that, you can expect more of the same as the first game, with all characters always assuming the same position in the conversations.

Sound

Again not much has changed in the sound department, which is certainly a sign that you’ll be presented with a qualitative soundtrack, decenlyt voiced intermezzos, of which there are too few, and proper SFX accompanying you from start to finish. The music changes its pacing often enough to remain interesting, intensifying whatever is going on onscreen.

Gameplay

The Banner Saga 2 is, just like its predecessor, a strategic RPG with many choices that affect the flow of the story. While you’ll be fighting a lot in this title, you will notice that the flow of the game changes depending on the choices you make, allowing you to pass up on a battle, or join the fray more than once, simply because you want to reach a certain objective. Other than that, you’ll also have to manage the survival of those who join your traveling company, and this isn’t always as easy as one might think either.

If you have played the first game, which we advise before digging into the storyline of this one, you’ll notice that the combat has not changed either. The system with armor and strength is still used in this title, the first stat countering the strength of the attacking characters and the latter serving as attacking power and HP. You’ll soon find out that whittling away the armor of enemies can mean you do a lot more damage if you have a lot of strength remaining and this will also reduce the damage said enemy does to you. If their strength goes down, it means they are getting weaker, thus dish out less damage, but this means they can also do the same with your troops. Willpower is still available in this game, allowing you to do one or two more damage points, as long as your characters has enough will available. Veterans of the first game will immediately feel at home when playing this one.

Renown is still used as the main currency of the game, meaning you’ll have to choose between using the scarce currency as a means to get extra supplies, to buy items for your warriors or allow them to be promoted to become stronger. You can gain renown by killing enemies or by opting for a certain choice which improves morale, so if you choose to avoid certain combat sequences, it can mean you’ll have even less resources to work with but on the other hand, making the right choice can also mean you get resources. That’s what we love about this series, because your choices truly impact the way the game flows, which is an admirable feature in a game such as this. You can opt to flee from battles, but this might get you in trouble at a later date, even though an extra battle can mean that your allies become wounded and are still weakened for the battle after your current one, etc.

Touchscreen support was also added to this second game of the series, which is certainly a fun gimmick when playing in the handheld mode, but we reckon most people will stick to the normal way of playing the game.

Conclusion

The Banner Saga 2 is part of Versus Evil’s showpiece, as this series started out in the indie scene, but has now exploded in becoming a ridiculously popular franchise. We were certainly happy to relive the scenes from the second game, be it in handheld mode or on our TV, with touchscreen support, many choices to make, hardships to overcome, and above all, a beautiful graphical style to enjoy. If you never played the series, or would love to, it might be fun to play the trilogy on your Switch.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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The Banner Saga 2 (Switch) – Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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