The Banner Saga (your experiance, spoilers and all)

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#1 Posted by Evil_Saluki (5217 posts) -

Interested on peoples experience with this game.

It's one of those love and hate things for me. It's a second play-through experience though learning on hindsight game for me. I wanted to slog it out on my first play-through, struggling through my mistakes, but the game didn't even give me some sort of closure ending. I got to some place in the corner of the map where we are suppose to build ships and hold out, but i had run out of fighters after the first choice turned out to be a dud as I needed supplies also, I got the supplies a the cost of fighters. Instead of any sort of game over, well done for trying or any chance of recovery, the game completely locked out on me, with no options of anything to select, just a pretty little picture of the town with the option to visit the marketplace and adjust my heroes, but no further continuation.

I was disappointed as I put all that time into something that felt like it hit a brick wall due to a game glitch,

So I had to start again, this time knowing NEVER to buy any equipment from the stores as the game will cheap shot you constantly on supply reductions, despite what logic you try and use when your given the option.

I played through despite my mistakes as I kept the main characters daughter happy, and battled hard myself to lead by example, spearheading, to save men and supplies, but it made no difference. I was constantly bullied by random encounter events of bandits stealing supplies or some drunk somehow eating 2 days worth of food for 700 people (how?) I felt the game was way over the top with these events. It narrows your play-style to "one true way" with only a little room for error. Very much like those Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks this reminded me of (especially Army of Darkness, look it up). I felt restricted on my 2nd play-through to leveling only a few characters and spending every other point of renown on supplies. That seems a bit dull to me as it takes away the progression of veteran fighters and the enjoyment of seeing your characters pull of heavier, more satisfying moves. Supplies and character level up should NOT have been linked, I think that was the games one and only mistake for me which is what led to all the problems I encountered on my first play session.

The fact I was willing to start the game again from the beginning means something in it's defense.

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#2 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

i'm in my first play through right now, so i'll probably be back in this thread more once i actually finish.

anyway, i'm liking it so far. i've been reading a bit about where other players are at my point in the story and i'm discovering that some of the characters that seemingly died without much recourse in my game are still kicking in other stories.

in the first mass effect, i never liked that scenario where 2 of your squadmates are in peril but you can only save one (you know what mission i'm talking about if you've played it). it's not so much because you can't "win" as it is that you can't win and the game treats you like you've made a bad decision even though it was impossible to save more people than you did. that actually makes it impossible to make a bad decision and therefore harder to feel guilt about that decision.

in the banner saga, it is possible to save a lot of the people that die. when they do die, i can actually say that i did make the wrong decision. i can take responsibility, so the banner saga earns it's tone more in that way.

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#3 Posted by Ish_basic (4955 posts) -

been wanting to try it. From what you're saying, it reminds me a bit of Warhammer back in the day where your army can literally stall out because of lack of funds/reinforcements. First time I played it, I got to the last battle but didn't have enough funds to field an army. This is, of course, much different from the majority of games out there that let you win just for showing up. I actually appreciated it in the end, because it meant making hard decisions and sacrifice, which, when you think about it, is exactly what you'd expect of a person leading a warband. I'm definitely more intrigued now (maybe not the reaction you'd expect, given your experience). But how is the story? Driving force or just something to rationalize the next gameplay segment?

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#4 Posted by Evil_Saluki (5217 posts) -

@Ish_basic: Yes it's very much like Warhammer if your talking about Shadow of the Horned rat. I think that's one of the closest games that comes to it.

My second play-through went a lot better. It turns out there are sometimes random encounters which you will get unique to each playthrough. I was being hit by a triple whammy of the worst timing of random encounters due to my situation on my first play. It was bad luck and no wonder I felt a bit of bad taste. Some people might be wondering what the hell I was going on about with regards to supplies being stolen but as I said, random encounters, it turns out I had a string of supply steal encounters lined up for me from the start, which didn't help when I didn't know how to manage resources as I didn't know how fast renown comes in.

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#5 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

i finished my play through.

my supply woes came from a bunch of different factors. i did end up getting nailed by various disaster scenarios, but i dealt with those pretty well. i knew beforehand what kind of game i was getting into, so i set aside a good amount of renown for emergencies in early parts of the game. my problem was that the early parts, when i thought i was being prudent in hard times, were actually times of relative wealth. i should i have spent more of my renown on rank ups and gear, but ended up losing it once that caravan split up. the character i actually spent the most on was one i ended up not really liking much in battle. for the other caravan, i probably avoided too many battles because i was short on supplies as those encounters would have yielded more supplies if i won. still, i did end up stumbling onto something right before the final city that saved my ass.

i laughed a bit at the steam achievement for managing to get egil through all the way to the end. in my game, he got his skull crushed by a club almost immediately.

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#6 Edited by Evil_Saluki (5217 posts) -

@LoG-Sacrament: Yeah I leveled up that Silver archer girl. Worst archer of them all! Useless main ability that's far, far too situational (Basically sets a trap on a tile) and difficult to use, especially since the enemy tends to field more range and battlegrounds don't often have bottlenecks, they just step around it. Compared to the other 2 girls she was total pants. They had killer abilities, or that FANTASTIC Siege archer with the hot coals and flaming arrows that wins games by itself! Also find Ivar when he only has one arm to not be much use, his battle ram ability is good in theory but in practice, you find yourself preferring to deal proper damage to a target or do a proper armor breaking attack then faffing about with such a weak ability that may knock off 3 armor from a target and 1 from what it gets knocked into, compared to outright murdering them or gimping their damage with a crippling blow.

One thing that did annoy me on the combat was when you end up with 2 enemies left fights can go very wrong. I remember a fight where I had 3 people one end of the map and 2 slingers left to take out at the bottom. Both slingers started throwing bombs, but my next turn was the giant out of the way of combat. So as he lumbers along and does nothing, they get another go, throw more bombs, do massive AOE damage, then my next character is someone else away from combat. By the time I get to move my characters closer to them, their STR stat is so low they no longer got the ability to deal with them.

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#8 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

@Evil_Saluki: i did type out a long post, but gamespot ate it. part you might find useful:

i like to get enemies down to about 2 strength and them leave be until the end of the fight. iver's shield bash (or i guess head bash after he loses his shield arm) is useful for doing this because you can push a strong enemy behind weaker ones or push away a weaker one to get at a stronger one. enemies with lower strength may try to pick away at your armor, but they waste their turns on strength attacks more often than you'd think. do this and you'll have a bunch of cripples at the end of fights instead of the 2 full strength enemies with lots of turns that you wind up with if you finish everyone off right away.