Game Review | It’s Story Not Combat that keeps The Banner Saga 3 Fresh
Most game trilogies have a weak link, the low point in the trilogy. Not necessarily a bad game, but one that doesn’t hold up to the others. It’s rare that all three games are amazing. It’s even rarer that a franchise can continually improve with each installment without detracting from previous entries. However, Stoic has managed to pull that off with The Banner Saga 3.
The game takes the core features from the previous entries and give them a new tweak that makes them feel fresh, but still being familiar. Overall, it offers a pretty satisfying – and surprisingly bloody – ending to the trilogy’s story, without leaving fans feel as though they’ve seen it all before.
The Banner Saga 3 manages to neatly tie up all of the main plot threads; while some fans mightn’t be a little surprised with the finish, that doesn’t take away from the satisfaction of loose threads being wrapped up.
However, while it does manage to improve on its strengths, The Banner Saga 3 doesn’t seem to work on some of the franchises notable weaknesses. Combat can still come off as relatively stale, especially if you’re coming off a playthrough of either previous entry; instead it comes across as a rinse and repeat formula. There’s also the issue of how short the main story is – something which many have pointed out about the previous Banner Saga entries. This is clearly something that should have been lengthened at some point or another.
While the story may be short, that doesn’t mean that this tactical RPG doesn’t have some depth to it. Fans of the franchise will be just as hooked as they were in the first two titles, and will actually care about the games final outcome. However, there are a few places where the storyline can diverge, so there’s enough content to warrant a few playthroughs.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#70006C” class=”” size=”19"]”On top of this, fans will face consequences for their choices and actions almost immediately, leaving you questioning your decision making, and leaving you wanting more.”[/[/perfectpullquote]p>
Making a bad decision, because of ignoring advice or not completely understanding the situation, can have lasting consequences. These aren’t just typical minor decisions; they can, and often do, end up in life or death situations. However, given how each plays out, the outcome feels fair. Players aren’t unjustly punished, and the outcome doesn’t come too far out of left field.
Even though combat can get quite stale, there is one new feature here that makes it more unique than previous entries; enemies fighting in waves. Players can decide to delay victory in order to fight more and more waves of enemies in a single fight. Doing so, and winning, results in players winning better and better gear. However, that does come at a risk; heroes are at a greater risk of being injured, which brings in a nice risk/reward aspect.
That being said, though, it’s not enough of a new, unique feature in order to make combat more interesting beyond the first few fights. In the end, it only delays the story progression, especially if your heroes are suitably leveled up.
The Banner Saga 3 is a fitting end to the trilogy; it’s a suitably dark, yet fun, finish to a spectacular storyline that manages to keep players hooked from the start. While the combat may be bland, the story itself is enough to keep fans playing.