I'm not sure why it's taken two years since The Banner Saga's debut on computers for this handsome, world-weary tactical role-player to arrive on consoles [edit: Bertie points out to me that it's because the developer's original partner for the port folded]. But if, like me, you've let it pass you by, its appearance on Xbox One and PS4 this week presents a welcome excuse to catch up before a second instalment is released later this year.
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga is a tactical RPG that's been pushing its way into my thoughts even when I'm occupied with other things. Its epic tale tells of a sun that no longer sets, the death of the old gods and a land on the brink of war - but it is the more mundane burdens of leadership that weigh most heavily on my mind.
I'm haunted by the disheartening discovery of spoiled supplies that dented the morale of a beleaguered caravan, and the foolish gambit that saw a decorated warrior lost to the ignominy of freak accident. The crushing guilt of losing people to starvation because I purchased a trinket to protect a favoured archer in battle, rather than ensure a surplus of supplies for the journey ahead, acts as its own damning indictment of my leadership. You too may come to rue these misfortunes or, by exercising better judgement than I, you might avoid them entirely.
The Banner Saga is a game of choice, and the fact that I can outline my mishaps here without fear of spoiling your own sense of discovery is testament to the myriad scenarios it presents, and the permutations of outcomes that can play out. It's a game in which a character can survive the 20-plus hours to the adventure's end or die minutes after they're introduced, and where well-meaning attempts to save an imperilled few can call down greater suffering on the heads of many.