The Banner Saga 3 - Analysis
The first of all is to warn that, obviously, if someone has not played the two previous installments, they will surely find the odd spoiler in this text. We are not going to gut the events of The Banner Saga 3, take it easy, but we must put ourselves in a position to better understand the closure.
Stoic has created a trilogy of games that works like the three typical acts of a traditional narrative . The beginning of our journey with Rook and Alette a handful of years ago works as the introduction; We discover the first bars of the dredge invasion, we begin to meet many of the characters that will accompany us to the end (if we are skilled) and we enter the exuberant world of Stoic.
The second installment works perfectly as a knot of the complete narrative arc that the three games represent. The great turn, that the dredges are not the enemies as such and that there is something called Darkness , is revealed to us during the second installment and we will also suffer a terrible loss within our peculiar procession. The Darkness, the new and true enemy of the world, will gain importance until it completely covers this peculiar epic twilight.
The Banner Saga 3, as one might expect, is the final closure of the saga. Everything we have seen and experienced so far begins to close. The paths come to an end and the characters suffer the consequences of their past acts. This is the biggest incentive and at the same time the biggest problem of this last installment.
The previous chapters of this installment, despite having a role in the overall saga, have their own internal narrative development. However, this does not stop happening in the closing written by Alex Thomas . The game is a constant race to close the fate of most of the characters and small open plot lines. Each decision we make seems to be the only opportunity to save (or not) one of our colleagues and the constant feeling of closure and danger is such that it ends up, on many occasions, achieving the opposite effect.
Much of the power of the narrative development of the previous installments was its careful mix between management, combat and dialogue. These three elements endowed his narrative design with greater intelligence by allowing constant decision-making but hidden under different layers of game design. However, in this third installment management practically disappears and we are in a constant combat intertwined with conversations that, for the most part, revolve around important decisions for our characters.
There is no respite, there is hardly any narrative relief and with more than two dozen characters divided into two groups, the fate of most of them ends up not mattering to us very little. Even in the moments of greatest tension for some of the most important characters everything seems to be too routine. We end up getting used to seeing that this or that character dies or abandons us for decisions that seemed more banal. The problem is that it is complex, and the game hardly succeeds in a couple of moments, further raising the point of dramatic tension in a constant climax like the one we are in.
Arberrag is the last city left standing resisting the Darkness. The immense blackness is devouring the entire landscape and turning its inhabitants into bloodthirsty mutated beings. The Dredge line up at the gates of the city, obeying the orders of their last leaders. However, we have learned that they are not the ultimate enemies and perhaps the battle at the gates of the city is nothing more than a waste of life and energy.
The entire The Banner Saga 3 unfolds through two parallel paths. On the one hand the defenders of Arberrag try to protect the refugees and resist the Darkness and on the other Iver, Juno and Eyvind in their desperate journey to try to stop the nothing that is devouring everything. This decision reinforces the feeling of constant danger and tension taken to the extreme that we have discussed. Both paths are a constant climax and both have several dozen characters available who have to close their story lines, however brief they may be.
On more than one occasion, the narrative ends up resorting to various situations that flirt with the Deus Ex Machina to close narrative alleys caused by these situations. Despite all this, Sotoic is still able to handle with ease the dialogues and texts of his game, which, however, are clouded by a translation full of small flaws such as always speaking in masculine, although the character with whom you have decided to continue according to which parts are feminine.
On the next page we talk more about his upgrade system, the combat and the closing of the saga.