Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

The Banner Saga 3 comes out on July 24th, and a month before that we got acquainted with its closed beta version. Now that the embargo is over, we hasten to share our impressions with you. And be warned: there may be spoilers!

No step back!

In The Banner Saga 3, the degree of tension, depression and darkness (and literally, but more on that later) has reached its limit. People, horned giants varls and horse-born who joined them (these are such local centaurs), who fled from the dredges chasing them and the advancing Darkness in the two previous series, reached the goal of their journey and found themselves pressed against the wall – face to face with the coming end of the world.

There is nowhere to go – you need to give battle and fight to the end. And we give this fight from the very first minutes. If the Sundras, huge, terrifying leaders of the drags, in the first part we met in the final, and in the second – in the middle, then in the third – already at the very beginning. It is clear that our heroes have grown stronger: regardless of whether you import saves from the second part or start a new game, all your fighters will automatically be brought up to at least the seventh level. Nevertheless, the very first battles here seem to be more difficult than some decisive battles in The Banner Saga 2, where, for example, a fight with one varl who loves to go berserk and cripple allies seemed so easy to me that after it there was bewilderment: is that all? ..

In the third part, in the battle with the same Sundr, you can try to seriously injure him with the help of cunning (and this will take time) without entering into a direct confrontation, but in this case you will be left without proud varls for some time – respectful a fair fight, the giants will leave the caravan.

Often you will have to fight without sleep and rest, not being able to heal the wounded – there is especially no time to set up camp. We are in a huge city under siege and move through it between key points where you need to deal with enemies or solve some other problem. Or answer a question like “Stop to help people get out of burning houses, or not waste time and rush to the gate that is about to break?”.

Banner Saga 3 game review

The scope here is felt from the first minutes.

Power corrupts and darkness corrupts

The situation is complicated by the fact that in my case – and here everything, apparently, depends on the decisions made earlier, which I transferred from the second part – the heroes were constantly attacked by supporters of one very unpleasant comrade, with whom the choice in the final of The Banner Saga 2 is connected Now he is playing a dirty political game.

Meanwhile, another group of characters, in which there is Juno, who is very important for the entire Valka saga (these are such local sorceresses), is in an even more… The darkness of the territory to its source to try to stop the coming of Ragnarok. Darkness, meanwhile, does not destroy, but distorts everything around, and only the dome of light, activated by the roll, protects the squad.

Here, in the middle of the Darkness, we meet rare survivors, and some of them join our ranks. Among the newcomers there is, for example, a representative of a new class of fighters – a witch. And, of course, we fight with special types of enemies – distorted, which are deformed versions of all the same bears, defenders with shields, archers and so on. Although, of course, they have other properties, and there are also enough completely new opponents. But the worst thing is to meet with distorted versions of those with whom you once lived and fought shoulder to shoulder for many years…

Banner Saga 3 game review

The Stoic artists naturally found a special aesthetic in the Darkness.

Success in 40 moves

I noticed in the preview version and some innovations in mechanics. First of all, they are associated with the game in the territory covered by Darkness. First and foremost, the warped attack in waves. And you are given 40 moves to deal with each wave. If you did, then before the start of the next one there will be a choice: leave the battle or stay to try to get through everyone, kill the “boss” and get some powerful item as a reward? At the same time, you will be allowed to replace the wounded fighters with new ones – if there are still any, of course.

If, after the 40th turn, one of the opponents is still alive, then no one will ask – enemy reinforcements will arrive, and you will have to fight with the forces of the one and a half varls that you have left. Well, or start over. This is a really great detail that challenges and pretty much enlivens the battles.

Just as they come to life and the fact that after taking damage from the distorted, your fighters almost become like that themselves – in any case, they noticeably turn blue and receive penalties to their characteristics. And in the battles in the territory of Darkness, you are not given points for each killed one – instead, magical energy is accumulated, which you can spend at any time on invigorating electric shocks, that is, lightning.

Finally, new types of warriors can be used here. I have already said about the witch – she knows how to heal and owns dark energy. Valka Juno is very weak physically, but is able to take control of enemies for a while, forcing them to attack their own. And after death, it remains on the battlefield as a ghost, which collects special energy in order to eventually be reborn. Moreover, they are allowed to take into battle the Drag Bloodsinger – the same one that got into our caravan in the second part. And now you yourself can use those skills that spoiled your blood before.

Banner Saga 3 game review

The battles against the warped are especially difficult.

***

Stoic is preparing a real, hard-won grand finale for the heroes of this unique saga. But I’m not at all sure that a happy ending awaits them and us, as is often customary in such cases. I repeat, the atmosphere in The Banner Saga 3 is very heavy and really dark – this has not happened before in this already gloomy series. Everything bears the seal of the approaching end, masks are torn off, all the difficult decisions and actions are remembered, and in general everything that we have experienced … Whether the hope for a happy outcome dies or survives, we will find out already in the full version.

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