In many ways, each successive entry in the series is more of the same, but that’s safe to say for many continuities. NOTE: The next couple sentences will carry spoilers as to retread some old ground that leads up to the events of the current game. You have been warned. At this point in our travels, the legendary Varl Iver is accompanying our Valka couple Eyvind and Juno. They are treading through the darkness with The Ravens on a quest to stop the darkness at its source. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, your clan tries to keep Arberrang together as best they can. While darkness looms outside the city, the people within grow restless, and greed, politics, and survival all influence their actions. As Rook or Alette, it is up to you to help weigh the outcome of the city, both for your clan and the general public. Your decisions are more important here than ever, as more lives rest on your shoulders than ever before, and your choices will directly relay how long the city can last.
Though more of the same, the game sprinkles new features here and there to keep things feeling fresh. In the Banner Saga series, the preceding stories continue to embellish the end game, with relationships and troubles continuing to develop even in light of potential ruin. These stories transition quite well from entry to entry in my opinion, with some new characters making their debuts naturally, and others feeling forced. That forced feeling never lasts too long though, with many of the new characters often fitting in pretty quickly. Aside from character development and inclusion, the other new additions relate to the combat.
On top of these and other great new characters (Arberrang’s Militia Leader and a “Witch” are other great newcomers), there are a few new points of interest when it comes to engaging in combat. The main new feature here is the occasional pop up of wave-based battles. While most of these occur within the darkness, it does happen in Arberrang from time to time. In these fights, you have a limited amount of rounds before the opposing team gains reinforcements. If you do not defeat them within that time frame, more foes will appear on the map. If you do best them, however, you have the option to flee or continue fighting. If you continue fighting, you may change up your team with any healthy character from your selection pool. Finishing off the remaining “waves” not only earns you renown, but it also gets you some pretty rare items. If you are confident enough to push forward, I highly recommend it, as shops are rare in the world’s current state, so these extra items are more precious than ever.
As usual, the sound production and visuals are stellar. I don’t want to rehash what I have said in both my prior reviews, but man, can we get a cannon Netflix series in the same visual style. I’d back that in a heartbeat. They can take all the data they ask permission for, compile it, and use those choices to guide an official narrative. Please. Take my idea and run with it. The looks are that good, and my love for the characters and the world around them is that strong.
One issue that plagued me in the prior two entries, specifically on Switch, was leaving a battle in progress and putting the system in sleep mode. From what I can tell, that has been fixed in this entry. However, something that may have been an oversight, was that during segments where the entire clan is traveling, text gets cut off. Usually, a chat bubble appears above characters in the caravan that are talking, and this time around these would get cut off at the edge of the screen. Zooming out did not fix it. Definitely not game-breaking, but it was a distraction.
Banner Saga 3 is a fitting conclusion to a great series. I am not sure how others felt about the outcome, but I would say I was satisfied, at least mostly. I could do for some more closure though, and some might find the ending to feel all too familiar with that of Mass Effect 3, another bold and brilliant trilogy whose ending just could not match the sum of its parts. It is a tough thing to handle, ending something so massive with so many moving pieces, so I cannot be totally dissatisfied with it, in truth. If anything, it’s my lust for more that is edging me this way, as knowing it’s over is partly to blame. But the journey that led me to that end was something special entirely. I loved every turn I took, ever risk I let sink in, hell I loved replaying certain sections just for a different outcome. It was all part of the experience, and I hope that once things settle down again, I will replay it in its entirety. There are new angles to be seen, new relationships to be had, and while your story may not be mine, that is all part of making your own mark in Banner Saga’s history.
*Note: A copy of the title was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 8.5/10
+Powerful Final Acts
-May Not Have Enough Closure For Some