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Death, Despair And Lovely Cutscenes: The Banner Saga 2

I’ve spent so long frolicking in the intangible tangerine skies of VR-land lately that it’s genuinely bewildering to look at a traditional game again. It’s so… flat. So… image-y. And also so sharp and fluid and won’t make my eyeballs pulsate and flail as if dancing helplessly to some unseen disco beat from hell. Confusing matters worse is that gorgeous strategy/roleplaying/survival opus The Banner Saga – and its upcoming sequel Banner Saga 2 [official site] – continues to look like a game that is simultaneously from the past and the future.

The crisp, animated fantasy cartoon look always put me in mind of the rotoscoped Lord of the Rings, while the fidelity of its art and animation seems to go to places that no other game has. The sequel’s due out in a week and a half, and given that we’ve been using year-old footage for quite some time, this seems like the appropriate moment to drop a launch trailer. Warning: depicts mild use of alcohol.

Yup, that’s the Banner Saga alright. Death, despair, desolation and uncommonly lovely cutscenes. Seems like they’ve dialled stuff up just a notch in the epic stakes, but other than that it would seem to be primarily business as usual. I suppose what I want most from it is a slightly different flow, as the samey combat killed my enthusiasm before I could finish the original, but when Pip chatted to devs Stoic last year it sounds like they’re addressing that.

“The combat boards are all going to be hand touched. They’re going to be scripted to really follow the narrative so it’s never going to be this situation where I’m just on a blank board with random spawners.”

There’s also going to be a new faction in the mix, the Centaur-esque Horseborn, to liven things up. Looking forwards to it, basically – and because it’s 2D rather than 3D I should be able to play it on an enormous virtual cinema screen without issue.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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