Like it or love it, The Banner Saga 2 struck an emotional chord with PC audiences when it launched in April. The continued toils of Rook (or Alette) brought forth brand-new, disastrous battles and conversations that fans needed to navigate, and players confined to the Xbox One don’t have to wait long to experience this game’s antarctic apocalypse.
They don’t have to wait at all, actually. Stoic Studios released The Banner Saga 2 to the Xbox One masses today. If you’re subscribed to Xbox Live Gold, too, you can download this sterling fusion of turn-based skirmishes, Viking folklore, and The Oregon Trail for free (courtesy of this month’s Games With Gold).
PS4 fans must wait until July 5, as reported by the PlayStation Blog, but The Banner Saga 2 offers a bonus accessory on consoles.
Per the developers:
Xbox One gamers will all get an exclusive passive ability boost, the Tome of X, a book of catalogued pastimes, competition, puzzles. This item will be automatically unlocked in the game and can be equipped when a player’s character reaches the required level.
Stoic raised the level cap for this sequel, among other things. The team introduced extra enemy types, a centaur-like race called the horseborn, additional victory conditions in combat, and the training tent where you can practice your fighters’ special abilities and gain renown (the in-game currency).
More importantly, the choices you made in The Banner Saga carry over to The Banner Saga 2. Characters that were sacrificed or banished from your caravan do not magically reappear, but with the world slowly succumbing to darkness and spurring fresh villains after you, it’s probably best not to dwell on the past.
If you need further encouragement, the stunning 2D animation and art return, as does Austin Wintory. You might remember his orchestral compositions from gems like Journey, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, or even the upcoming Abzȗ.
The Banner Saga 2 will set you back $19.99, and while it couldn’t quite top the original in my opinion, I can’t recommend this poignant turn-based RPG enough.