The Banner Saga 2 - Review

Author: Claudio Chianese
Date: 2020-07-30 17:25:48
When I got it into my head to learn how to play poker, the manuals I read often insisted that poker was an "incomplete information" game, and that the good player had to reduce this incompleteness. We are playing "incomplete information" when, very trivially, we only have partial information on the state of the game: during a hold'em game some cards are face down, while in chess all the pieces are always visible.

As a strategy player, I could say that my favorite pastime is to fight with uncertainty, consulting graphs, tables, numbers: giving chance a specific place in my plans, in the manner of Napoleon. Here, The Banner Saga 2, like its predecessor, seems designed to make people like me turn the boxes. Not to be clear, due to its gameplay: at the base, The Banner Saga 2 is a fairly linear and perfectly understandable turn-based tactician. If it were only that, however, it would not really have a soul.

Because Banner Saga tells a story above all, a saga, and it is a story shaped by our decisions. Help a group of fugitives in need or continue the journey? Repair a ship or abandon it? All decisions that we are called to make, practically, blindly. More than incomplete information, information is absent here. A choice made, in all probability, to make the narration as fluid as possible.

The Banner Saga is a Viking story that could easily come from the Edda or the Beowulf, it is a story of the "Ragnarok": the end of the world is approaching and a caravan of unfortunate seeks salvation. Refugees are humans and horned giants known as Varl. Chasing them are the Dredge, stone beings apparently doomed to extermination.

Supplies are scarce, risk everywhere: a great story of travel and survival, in short, as McCarthy's Road could be or even the Odyssey. I would like to talk about it widely, but it is difficult to do it without spoiling at least the first The Banner Saga, which some of you probably have not played (and the spoilers would be unforgivable, since they would spoil the choices). Stoic games are intended as chapters of a trilogy: it is, in fact, possible (but not necessary) to import the final rescue of the predecessor in The Banner Saga 2, keeping intact choices and consequences. Let's just say that the game begins in the aftermath of a great sacrifice, faced to defeat the most formidable of enemies: a victory, but not definitive, because the sun continues to remain motionless in the sky and the Dredges continue to attack, countless.