The Let's Play Archive

The Banner Saga Trilogy

by FairGame

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Original Thread: Viking Oregon Trail Tactics: Let's Play The Entire Banner Saga



The Banner Saga Is a trilogy of viking-themed fantasy tactical RPGs developed by Stoic Studios. Stoic itself has no small number of Bioware (Mass Effect, KotOR, etc.) castaways. I know at least one of them has/had an account on here, so I'm hoping they pop in here and there to offer commentary.

The first game was released in 2014 after an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. The second was not Kickstartered and came out a couple years later. And the finale, The Banner Saga 3, came out at the end of July--another Kickstarter.

I've played the trilogy to completion. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and I love it.

The best parts of The Banner Saga are the artwork, story, characters, and music. It looks like an old Disney movie with hand-drawn art. The world is well-crafted, and while it's fantasy vikingland the internal rules of the setting make sense. Stick that great artwork with some awesome humor, memorable and sympathetic characters, and a great soundtrack, and you have yourself the makings of a classic.

Manage to do all of that and have savefiles that import from BS1-->BS2-->BS3 with choices and consequences that actually matter, and it's even more impressive.

It's a really beautiful game. With one significant flaw:

The combat kind of sucks.

If you're pickier than I am, "kind of" can justifiably be expressed as "really". Final Fantasy Tactics, this ain't. We'll get into how combat works once the LP starts, but it's...not particularly intuitive, and while the later games in the series make it a bit better, it's tough to polish such a flawed system. It's unquestionably the worst part of the series, the only blemish on what's otherwise a masterpiece.

For me, it's not enough to make the series anything less than spectacular. But I know for others, the combat was such a turn-off that they just couldn't finish.

Thus, I'm hoping that this LP gives everyone the best parts of the series without having to directly deal with the combat.

This'll be a screenshot LP. I might link to videos here and there from someone else's, if I can find key moments on YouTube or something. But for the most part, you should get to see the beautiful artwork of this game and not watch videos where most of the time would be spent in not-all-that-interesting combat.

Will update at least 2 times per week. Perhaps more once my obligations as The Other Commish of the Baseball Mogul Super League thread come to a close this season (about 3 weeks from now).

We're going to play the entire series.

Some ground rules:
1.) NO SPOILERS. None. No hints at what'll come. Keep your mouth shut if you already know.
2.) There's already been an LP of The Banner Saga (just the first game) on here years ago; it's actually how I discovered the series. I will be making the opposite decision from what that LP did in the two most important moments.
3.) We can put other decisions to a vote. If it's something where a decision is only flavor text, I'll go ahead and move things forward myself, though. Not everything is gonna be voted on, in other words.
4.) We'll be playing the Saga on hard. I want to unlock a few achievements while I'm at it, and it's one of the few ways to keep combat interesting for me. (By The Banner Saga 2 and 3 I'm expecting to've broken the difficulty over my knee regardless).
5.) No going back and changing things. If we don't like the outcome of a voted-on decision, too bad. We keep going and live with the consequences. If I manage to fuck up combat badly enough that someone dies or people start to starve because I need to rest from injuries, also too bad. The only time I'll go back and replay something is if I get a hard game over as an outcome (there are VERY few must-win battles in this game; the final boss is the only one I'm remotely worried about falling against because it's extreme bullshit and I hate it.)
6.) Artwork, commentary, whatever else is always welcome--provided it's after a decision point. I'm fine if someone wants to come in and say "had we taken this other decision, here's what would've happened!" I'm not[ fine if someone comes by and says "here's what the 3 decisions we're voting on lead to."
7.) To a limited extent, we can vote on what party members we use in battle. I say "to a limited extent" because given that I'm playing the campaign on Hard, and that the final boss is EXTREME bullshit, there are certain characters I'll insist on keeping around as they're key to my strategy. So, try not to get them killed please!

I don't know The Banner Saga 2 and 3 nearly as well as 1. I'm fully expecting some out-of-combat deaths as a result.

Table of Contents

Saga 1
P-1: Prologue
Chapter 1: Only the Sun Has Stopped
1-1: A Giant Problem
Chapter 2: Cut with Keen-Edged Sword
2-1: We're From a Small Town in the Middle of the Woods
2-2: I Have to Axe You a Question
2-3: The Road Not Taken
Chapter 3: Little Did They Sleep
3-1: You're the Worst Goddamned Warleader
3-2: You're Still the Worst Goddamned Warleader
Chapter 4: Lest They Not Come Home
4-1: The Long Road to Einartoft
4-2 (and also early chapter 5): Lending a Helping Hand
Chapter 5: Weary the Weight of the Sun
5-1: Umbrage: -1 ARM, +5 STR
Chapter 6: Of Our Bones, the Hills
6-1: Yngvar
6-2: Sigrholm
Chapter 7: The Slayer and the Slain
7-1: To the End
7-2: The Slayer and the Slain

Saga 2
Chapter 8: From Their Homes, All Must Flee
8-1: I'm on a Boat
8-2: You Can't Use Overwatch on Geography
Chapter 9: Cast the Bone Into the Air
9-1: Quoth the Raven, "Shut Up."
Chapter 10: To Speak in All Tongues
10-1: Alette Took a Really Long Time to Decide, OK?
10-2: Myths Become Real
10-3: Lundar
Chapter 11: Where a Foe May Lurk
11-1: Black Blood of the Earth, Part 1
11-2: Black Blood of the Earth, Part 2
Chapter 12: The Destined Day Shall Come
12-1: Our Steps to the Night
Chapter 13: The Fetters Shall Burst
13-1: Prelude to a Bloodbath
13-2: The Death March
Chapter 14: Brothers Fight and Kinship Stain
14-1: King of the Ashes
Chapter 15: In Fear Quake All
15-1: In Fear Quake All

Saga 3
Chapter 16: The True Hero Comes Reluctantly
16-1: The True Hero Comes Reluctantly
16-2: An Unstable Peace
Chapter 17: Raising High Their Shining Light
17-1: Into Darkness
Chapter 18: Alas, the Sea is Still Deep and Wide
18-1: Ruin Beyond the Wall
18-2: The Center Cannot Hold
18-3: The Contest
Chapter 19: The Hounds Are a-Hungered
19-1: Destroyer
19-2: The Unkindness of Ravens
Chapter 20: We Live as We Will Live
20-1: The Dredge
20-2: The Skogr Banner
Chapter 21: With a Mighty Grief that was Ours and Theirs
21-1: The Inner Earth
21-2: End of the Line
21-3: Juno and Eyvind
21-4: The Last Stand of Arberrang
Chapter 22: Only We Few Remember It Now
22-1: The End
22-2: Fate, Chosen

Alternate Endings
Coda 1: The Alfrun Ending
Coda 2: The Stupid Ending
Coda 3: The Destruction Ending
Coda 4: The Eyvind Ending
Survival Mode
Survival Mode, Part I
Survival Mode, Part II
Coda 5: Ekkill and Onef
Coda 6: Siding with Rugga
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