Why Not Games

Banner Saga Notes

These are the rough notes I took down while playing The Banner Saga. There are some potential spoilers.

  • So beuatiful. This game really looks great.
  • Don't infodump. The map is this huge scroll with lots of lore in it, but when presented to me like this it is just too much information, so I look at a couple of things and ignore the rest. Make this into a reward instead, the cadence is much better that way and you've given the player a new reward.
  • This combat is not great. I'm not having much fun with it.
  • This story makes no sense. Why did the giant prince die? Also, why not the human prince?
  • All of this loading is a pain. I don't like the cadence of fight, talk, fight, talk when there is this much loading in the middle.
  • I much prefer just being these two people. I like the father-daughter thing more and I like my tribe and renown a lot more when they're both small and generated completely by me instead of just being given to me.
  • I like being able to always change difficulty.
  • People dying through narrative trees is really bad. The issue here is that you are heavily punished for making the wrong decision at a decision point that you don't really have control over. When people fall in the battle, that is something you have a fair degree of control over. The same is not true when people die in the narrative tree. There are no general rules for the player to learn and apply.
  • The game tries to be progressive with having women fight too. Restricting them to only archery is not that great though.
  • The phrase "Your renown grows" is very strong. The fiction of being a group that is creating its own tale is huge. I feel like I'm performing epic deeds. The greater context does a lot for that too. I know that a lot for that too. I know that this fight meant a lot to the village and helped some people survive, so succeeding at it felt great.
  • Also, getting renown for giving speeches felt great.
  • The godstone is cool. Their world is cool.
  • But why am I trading renown for supplies? That feel very bad. Also, why do I lose it for leveling? Making it a currency devalues it.
  • I want to look at my banner!
  • Now that I have a clan of my own I'm liking this game much more.
  • I don't have the information needed to make a decision. Can I just leave this place? Where is the next stop?
  • Losing people to narrative decisions feels more and more like shit.
  • The godstones are very cool.
  • The story is suitable epic though. Grofheim being burnt is big.

- @murthynikhil

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Written for Why Not Games.