The Banner Saga 2 Articles RSS Feed | The Banner Saga 2 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 10 Amazing Games You Can Play On Almost Any PC (2GB RAM Or Less) Tue, 24 Jan 2017 08:23:12 -0500 Vian De Bod


If you've spent even a little time in the gaming community, then you have probably heard this statement. And to some degree, you can't deny that using PC is the most versatile way to game -- but that doesn't mean it's the best option for all gamers. While playing PC allows you to play almost any game on any graphical settings you want, you first have to have the money for an excellent computer.

So what do you do when you don’t have an excellent gaming PC? What do you do when you can only play on a potato? Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do, unless you’re willing to dish out quite a bit of cash to upgrade. Usually one of the biggest obstacles to a PC running certain games is the RAM requirement. RAM is arguably the most important factor when it comes to checking your system’s compatibility, so that is what we are going to focus on. If you have sucky RAM, then this article is for you.

Luckily, there are still some great games out there that aren't going to demand an amount of RAM you simply don't have. These 10 games only require 2GB of RAM or less -- so even your weak computer can play them!

*It's worth noting that if a game has a minimum requirement of 2GB RAM, it is still better to play it on a system with more in order to avoid lag. So if you have 4GB RAM, these games should run like a dream.

Don’t Starve

(1+ GB RAM)

Developed by Klei Entertainment, this survival game looks like something right out of a Tim Burton film! You can choose one of many characters, each of which has a special quality to them. Your primary goal is to survive and best this uncompromisingly harsh world.

The art style of Don’t Starve is a dark and alluring 2D style that is set in a 3D world. It sounds strange at first, but the world allows you to turn and change perspective in any direction, making it feel more real and immersive.

The game offers a rich crafting system based on both science and magic. Gather all the resources you can, but do so before night time. At night, you will find that there are untold horrors lurking in the dark. If you don’t have a torch or campfire nearby, you won’t live to regret it!

There are very rare and specific ways to avoid death, but you can kiss a character goodbye if you don't figure them out -- because this game boasts a perma-death system. Should that happen, both your character and the world it inhabited is gone for good. One of the key aspects of Don’t Starve is the fact that, like others on this list, each new world is randomly generated. This means that even if it comes to your character’s inevitable end, you have a new map and a new experience ahead of you!

Don't Starve's beautiful music and realistic sound effects, help bring everything to life. If you’re a bit of an audiophile, you’ll enjoy this game’s great sound design.

In conclusion, Don’t Starve provides a beautiful art style coupled with a brutally difficult survival-system. If eerie survival games are your thing, then Don’t Starve is for you!



(2 GB RAM)

Bastion is a game developed by Supergiant Games. This action-RPG plops players into a beautifully lush world complete with hand-painted artwork and a deeply compelling story.

You play as “the Kid” during what the (excellently voiced) narrator calls “The Great Calamity”. Your world is falling apart and your civilization is crumbling to pieces. Your only hope is to restore the “Bastion”, a place where everyone is supposed to go when things go horribly wrong.

The gameplay is smooth and polished. You have a choice of over 10 different weapons to play with at any given time, each of which pairs differently with others and is better for certain playstyles. As you progress through the game and advance the story, you will begin to unlock even more options and upgrades.

The soundtrack is arguably one of Bastion’s strongest attributes. You know that a game nailed its soundtrack when you find yourself buying the OST after playing it. Add the incredible voice acting of the narrator (basically the only VA in game) and the great sound effects, and you have a feast for the ears!



(2 GB RAM)

I know, I know. Minecraft really doesn’t need any introduction, but I added it because it is a great game that deserves mention even if some might consider it “overrated” or “over-done”. Minecraft  is a 3D sanbox survival game developed by Mojang.

You are plopped into a randomly generated world comprised of nothing but blocks of different types and textures. Your goal (or the closest approximation to one) is to survive long enough to find a portal that takes you to a different dimension to kill the “Enderdragon”. Though this is the closest that Minecraft comes to in creating a set “goal”, there really isn’t one.

One of the game’s biggest component (in survival mode) is crafting. Almost every single block out there can be used to create something different or new. You can craft armor, tools, weapons, different blocks, food and much more! 

And I haven’t even touched on things like redstone and mods -- but I will say something about creative mode. Creative mode basically gives you the power of a god. You can create and build nearly anything your heart desires from the game’s entire catalogue of blocks. This is arguably Minecraft’s most played game mode, and with good reason. Minecraft just wouldn’t be the same without it.


Fran Bow

(2 GB RAM)

I just had to put a game in here for you point-and-click fans out there! Fran Bow was developed and published by Killmonday Games. This point-and-click adventure game will have you going everywhere, solving puzzles, and exploring amazing worlds! I have to give you a fair warning though. This game is messed up. I’m pretty sure that you will need some psychological help after playing! All kidding aside, Fran Bow is a very charming game that many people can enjoy.

The 2D art style of Fran Bow is definitely very quirky and adds to the overall feel of the game. You play as Fran, a girl in a mental asylum after the murder of her parents. You must work your way through elaborate puzzles to find your way out of the asylum, taking many drugs along the way.

The art team for the game did a fantastic job at capturing the essence of the story and turning it into a visual treat.

The gameplay is a standard point-and-click formula with some form of “crafting” mixed in. An added mechanic is one where you make Fran take her medication in order to “see things differently” which can at times help you solve the puzzle. The attention to detail also grabs you, as nearly every small thing is clickable and provides at least a few lines of Fran’s thoughts about it.

Overall I would highly recommend Fran Bow to anyone. If you like point-and-click games, be sure to try it. Even if you just enjoy creepy psychological horror games, I would highly recommend this one!


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

(256 MB RAM)

This game is pretty old, I admit. Is it a bit of a cop-out? Yes. Do I make any apologies for it? No. GTA: San Andreas (developed by Rockstar North) is an amazing game, and one of my favorites of all time. Besides, I never said that this list would only contain recent games, just good ones -- and GTA:SA is a game that undoubtedly falls in that category.


San Andreas has you playing a character called Carl Johnson (CJ to his friends). CJ returns home after the murder of his mother. After a life of running away from his past as a gang member, he is forcefully pulled back into the gang life upon his return. You will go from a nobody gangster to one of the most powerful people in San Andreas, fighting your way up every step of the way.

GTA – SA is an open world sandbox game. Most of the game’s mechanics centre around gunfights and driving cars or aeroplanes. But there are moments like stealth missions and dancing with either CJ or the low-rider he’s driving that really brings the game to a well-rounded whole.

Overall I would rate GTA – San Andreas as one of my favourite games of all time. If you enjoy a good story within a GTA-styled open world, you’ll love GTA – San Andreas. I highly recommend it to everyone!


Stardew Valley

(2 GB RAM)

Stardew Valley is an amazing game developed by ConcernedApe and published by Chucklefish Games. If you like games that completely draw you in and make you lose hours of the day, then this is the game for you. Stardew Valley is a farming simulator similar to Harvest Moon, with quite a few RPG elements in there.

You play as the heir to a little farm left to you by your grandfather, and it's your job to take care of it and make it flourish once again. Not only can you farm all different kinds of crops, animals, produce, flowers, honey, crustaceans, etc. --but you can also catch fish, delve into the mines, make friends, build your farm up, craft, and a whole lot more. There is a reason this game can suck up so much of your time, and just playing it will show you why.

The art style of Stardew Valley is absolutely breathtaking. The game is gorgeous, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! All joking aside, this game really is beautiful and my favorite season has to be Fall just because of the leaves that change color.

The OST of Stardew Valley is one of my favorite parts of the game. While there is no voice acting and the sound effects are slightly forgettable, the music of this game is absolutely stunning! Every season has a few different songs that fit the time of year. I love this OST and I cannot express just how amazing it sounds!

I cannot recommend Stardew Valley enough. If you want just a single, good game that you can come home to, relax and sink a few hours into each day, then you cannot go wrong with this. I would rate Stardew Valley as one of my most enjoyed games of all time.


The Banner Saga (1 and 2)

(2 GB RAM)

The Banner Saga games are developed by Stoic. Yes, this technically counts as two games, but they are just so good that I had to lump them in together. If you're looking for a story that's reminiscent of Game of Thrones (but with a Norse theme) and turn-based combat....then these games are for you.

The sun has stopped dead in the sky and ancient dangers called Dredge are suddenly emerging from below the surface of the earth. The alliance between humans and Varl (giant, horned humans who live for hundreds of years) is fragile -- and with the Dredge returning it will only become more strained. You play as a cast of a few people and it is your job to navigate the crumbling world around you.

The game uses tactical, turn-based combat that requires the use of careful positioning as well as careful planning. A wrong move or two and you could lose the whole battle. That being said, as someone who usually isn’t a fan of this type of combat, I really enjoyed it because of how well it was done. 

The art style of The Banner Saga is amazing. They skilfully use 2D animation in a way that makes it feel like you’re watching a film at times. Not to mention the amount of detail the artists put in. The world map, for example, is absolutely huge and fairly well drawn. Each little detail has its own little bit of lore. Sometimes it is astonishing just how much detail goes into the art of this game. And the sound is equally as wonderful -- I bought the OST on Steam just to have a little epic music in my life. 

I would definitely recommend The Banner Saga to anyone. If you like a compelling story, get this game! If you like beautiful art, get this game! If you like turn-based combat, get this game! If you like beautiful music, get this game!


The Binding Of Isaac (All Versions)

(2 GB RAM)

The Binding of Isaac is a very difficult rogue-like game with a steep learning curve. If you like games that don’t hold your hand and can keep you occupied for hundreds upon hundreds of hours, then look no further than this indie gem.

BoI doesn’t have a set story per se. Some people speculate on the true nature of what is going on. If, however, you take the game at face value, the story seems simple. Isaac is a young boy who was tormented by his overly religious mother. In a fit of religious zeal, she tries to kill him and he escapes via a trap door in his room that leads to the basement. From here you go lower and lower, fighting hordes of different enemies.

The art style of BoI is both basic and disgustingly brilliant at times. There will be a lot of times where you might make a face because you just killed a sentient pile of poop or a fetus (or even a heart if you make it that far). There are many dark and disturbing themes in BoI with a lot of religious symbolism. The game’s developer has gone on the record for saying that his experience of growing up in an abusive, religious household inspired him to create the game. 

If you want a rogue-like game that offers a challenge and some very intense themes as well, then Binding of Isaac is for you. Honestly, I love this game and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for that extra challenge.


Salt And Sanctuary

(2 GB RAM)

If you haven’t yet read my first impressions on Salt and Sanctuary, then I highly recommend you do so if you want more information on it. SaS is a brutally difficult game developed by Ska Studios. It basically feels just like a Dark Souls game, except with its own world and art style.

The story of SaS is pretty basic, as you would expect from a game akin to the Souls series. Of course the world has its own lore and such, but your character is basically a nobody. You start off as a sailor that shipwrecks on the coast of an unknown land. From there you will traverse the world, fighting to survive every step of the way. Enemies can be unforgivingly brutal, and you might find yourself using the dodge mechanic a few hundred times per hour.

The artistic style of SaS is, in my opinion, one of the game’s strongest qualities. You have a beautifully done 2D world with amazing detail and a dark theme. What more could you want from a game? Even character creation is highly detailed within this 2D world. If you like eerie and foreboding settings, then this game has you covered. Not to mention the interesting, yet (at times) disturbing design of some of the bosses.

The sound design in SaS is also superb! From the swing of a blade to the crashing of a hammer, the combat sounds bring it all to life. The background music is just as amazingly awesome and makes you really feel like a bad ass at times. Though there are some in this list that does sound better, this game truly does make the best of the sound design implemented.

If you liked any of the Souls games or similar games, then this one is for you! I highly recommend it to those seeking a true challenge. If you are up to it, try it out and see just how brutal this dark, yet beautiful game can be!


Guild Wars 2

(2 GB RAM)

GW2 is an MMORPG developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSOFT -- and depending on who you ask, it's either the best or worst thing since WoW. I am a massive fan of this game and I play it daily. 

The story of GW2 is pretty vast and quite hard to summarize, but I will do my best. The Elder Dragons have arisen once more after their millennia-long slumber to devour Tyria’s (in-game world) magic. You, along with some help, will take the fight to each and every one of them. 

Honestly, because it’s an MMO (and one that has been out for nearly 5 years too), the mechanics are just way too vast to cover in this limited space. Just take my word on it here, guys. GW2 revolutionizes many MMO concepts and takes core mechanics to the next level.

Artistically, GW2 is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. It's not only stunning in-game, but the painted cutscenes and concept art is beautiful enough to frame on a wall. Not to mention the fact that I just love the brush-painted effect that they integrated into the UI. GW2 has a lovely visual style all around.

And the music in GW2 is absolutely gorgeous! The music released at launch was all composed by Jeremy Soule -- the guy behind the OST for games like Skyrim. Not only that, but the sound effects are just as good. When you are in the heart of the jungle, for example, you can hear every bird and wild creature around you. Every attack you do feels like it has weight because of the “meaty” sound effects that accompany it. The voice acting in the game is also as superb and deserves no less praise. 

Guild Wars 2 has time and again surprised and amazed its fans, and with good reason. You'll be getting all that and more from an MMORPG with absolutely no subscription fee (no pay to win either)! It even has a good free-to-play (F2P) option -- so you can try this game out without even spending a cent. An excellent game to round this list off nicely.


I hope you've found at least one game in this list that suits your tastes. Just because you can’t afford a great gaming PC doesn’t mean you have to stick to watching others play great games from the side-lines. There are a ton of great games out there that can be played on nearly any system. You just have to know where to look.

Have you played any of the games on this list? If so, let me know what you thought! And if you have any other recommendations for great games, leave them in the comments down below!

The State of RPGs in 2016 Sun, 20 Nov 2016 09:34:36 -0500 Sergey_3847

Last year was huge for the RPG scene with such releases as The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. The year of 2016, on the other hand, has really only one AAA title worth talking about -- but there are plenty of smaller games that kept the fans of the genre glued to their computers.

There also have also been some solid expansions for some of 2015's titles coming out this year and just as many remastered versions of even older cult classics. What's more, the future of RPG gaming looks super exciting, as there are some huge releases coming up at the end of the year and the first half of 2017.

So it looks like there is much territory that needs to be covered here, and without any further ado, let’s begin the analysis.

The Biggest RPG Releases of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Dark Souls 3

Undoubtedly, the best and the biggest RPG game of the year is Dark Souls 3 -- the last installment in a series of games that enriched the genre with precise mechanics, multifaceted progression system and hardcore bosses. And all this was encapsulated in a world of ever-growing gloom and doom.

Undoubtedly, the best and the biggest RPG game of the year is Dark Souls 3.

From Software is not scared to pull out a series of games that has no clear story and that makes new players run away from their PCs or consoles after a few miserable deaths. You can't do anything but respect such a developer in the current state of the gaming industry. Hopefully, Hidetaka Miyazaki and co. will deliver some more goodness in the future, albeit perhaps not in the Souls series.

Deus Ex: Mankind Evolved

Another game worth mentioning here is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The game has delivered exactly what it promised and there is really nothing to complain about. It builds upon every aspect of its predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and adds greater scale, more freedom, infinitely interesting quests, weapons, stealth mechanics, and of course, better graphics.

The Technomancer

But before we move on, there is one more AAA title that cannot be ignored -- The Technomancer. It wasn’t received too well by the community, and understandably so. It was presented as a grandiose AAA project -- with the corresponding price tag too! -- but the final result was mediocre at best. Spiders Studios tried really hard this time, but the game just didn’t do it  for many gamers, either in terms of story and gameplay or graphics and animation.

The Remastered RPG Releases of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Skyrim: Special Edition

Talking about graphics -- here are some of the finest remasters of the year. This section must be launched with a discussion on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition, which has been both praised and cursed by fans, with many critics saying the game doesn’t need a remastered version on PC and that it already has tons of cosmetic mods available for free.

However, console players have been more than happy to lay their hands on this gem. And to be honest, Bethesda planned this version mostly as a present for owners of current-gen consoles, anyway. 

JRPGs to the Remastered Rescue

A few classic JRPGs, such as Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and Disgaea, have also been remastered and ported to PC for the rest of the world this year, with the latter having significantly improved textures and UI.

On top of that, all Final Fantasy fans could once again experience Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on their computers. The FF port was released on May 12, and finally implemented an auto-save feature, five game boosters, three parameter changes and the option to skip FMVs and Cinematics.

The Biggest RPG Sequels of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Final Fantasy XV

It took ten years for Square Enix to deliver one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of gaming -- Final Fantasy XV. Finally, on Nov. 29, Final Fantasy XV will be available worldwide. (However, some gamers have reported that it is already possible to find a copy in a few countries of the world, such as Peru. So beware of spoilers!)

Up to this point, Final Fantasy XV has had many different reactions, some of which have mentioned that it will ruin the franchise once and for all, while others have actually put some faith into it

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Although technically not a sequel, the “Blood and Wine” DLC for The Witcher 3 can easily be called a sequel because of its scope, secrets, quests and new NPCs, some of which are arguably the most diverse and interesting in the series. More than that, the developers have updated the game's UI and skill tree system. 

The Banner Saga 2

If you haven’t played the original Banner Saga from 2014 -- a small indie project started by the three former BioWare developers -- then you should halt before playing its sequel, Banner Saga 2, as they are tightly interconnected. The first game has already become a classic and the only thing that needs to be done is to finish the third one in the series – which will close the grand trilogy of the Vikings’ adventures.

Baldur's Gate -- Siege of Dragonspear

Last but not least, we have to mention the brand new expansion for Baldur's Gate -- Siege of Dragonspear. It unveils the mysteries behind the fight with Sarevok and the escape from the Irenicus Dungeon from the very first Baldur's Gate, released in 1998.

Siege of Dragonspear is a sort of bridge between the first two games, which is a really cool way of serving the old fans of the series, but completely confusing the new ones, thus evoking lots of unnecessary negative comments from the community -- that could’ve been easily avoided. Hopefully, the developers from BeamDog will try to redeem themselves next time with a completely new story that will satisfy both new and old players.

The Best Indie RPGs of 2016

RPGs of 2016


Many people have treated Tyranny from Obsidian Entertainment as an intermediate game that would fill the gap between Pillars of Eternity and Pillars of Eternity 2. However, little did they know that it turned out to be a truly great game. As a result, we now have an original title that allows you to turn to evil means in order to finish the campaign successfully It's refreshing to not have to save the world for the millionth time! 

Grim Dawn -- A Kickstarter Success Story

Early this year we could experience the results of another Kickstarter project success story -- Grim Dawn,  a game that clearly nods to the times of Diablo 2 and pays all respects to it. The classical RPG gameplay is supported by large locations full of secrets and dangerous traps. Give it a go and you will thank us later.

Darkest Dungeon

2016 has been a fantastic year for the RPG scene, and the future seems to be just as bright as ever.

No mention of Darkest Dungeon yet? Yes, of course, we couldn’t forget about this little masterpiece – a game with a perfectly dark atmosphere and visual style. The game is full of unexpected events and the gameplay is at times so hardcore that you can't but gasp in frustration. Darkest Dungeon is a unique product on the market, so if you never had the chance to play it -- now is the time.

Stardew Valley

But enough with the dark and broody games -- let’s talk about Stardew Valley instead. Imagine that this little farming simulator with RPG elements competed against such giants like The Division and XCOM 2. But two months later, the game had over a million sales on Steam, which is mind-boggling for an indie project that had been developed by one person -- Eric Barone. Stardew Valley definitely has the bright future with all the upcoming updates and fan-made modifications.

Looking Ahead: The Future of the RPG Genre

RPGs of 2016

Mass Effect: Adromeda & Horizon: Zero Dawn

Two big games are currently nominated for the most anticipated RPGs of the year at The Game Awards 2016 -- Mass Effect: Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Let's look at Mass Effect first, undoubtedly the most recognizable brand here, since the other title is a brand new IP from the developers of the Killzone series.

Those who had the chance to play Mass Effect: Andromeda say that it is the best game in the series. That’s a pretty bold statement, but it probably would be wise not to jump aboard the hype train too soon, and instead just wait for another 4-5 months before the game is officially out.

But what about Horizon: Zero Dawn? This game is totally new territory for Guerilla Games. The developers have stated that they always wanted to make a game in an open world, but they never considered it as an RPG title. However, after a long period of testing, it turned out that all their ideas worked best exactly within the action RPG genre, and that’s what we all should expect from this new title… oh, and giant dinosaur robots, too.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

What other RPG games can’t do, Divinity: Original Sin 2 can. It’s the game that is proclaimed to be “the last hope of the RPG genre,” which may be a bit of an overstatement, but nevertheless, Larian Studios showed that they can do no wrong after the release of the first Original Sin. The newest installment of the franchise introduces a brand new co-op system, which sounds awesome, but the developers also promise a lot will return from the original, so there’s a lot to be expected here.

RPGs of 2016

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

South Park: The Fractured but Whole keeps getting delayed over and over again, and now the game that was originally planned for 2016, will only be released Spring 2017. Trey Parker and Matt Stone said that the new combat system developed for the sequel was inspired mostly by classic table-top role-playing games. Also, they said it will let you play as a girl character from now on, which is a really neat addition that, to be honest, should have been available in the first game, too.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Another highly anticipated RPG that keeps suffering from the constant delays is Kingdom Come: Deliverance -- it will be available Summer 2017. The developers promise 30 hours of gameplay for the main campaign, and an extra 100 hours for the rest of the side quests.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Lastly, the long-awaited Kickstarter project Torment: Tides of Numenera should be delivered early next year. The first mission of the game has been available at Steam Early Access since January 2016, and currently, the developers are adding a few final touches to it and some more quests, as well.


2016 has been a fantastic year for the RPG scene, and the future seems to be just as bright as ever, showing that indie games can be just as good AAA titles. And apart from single-player RPGs, next year will be full of excellent massively-multiplayer releases, too, so don’t miss on those.

The only thing left is to find out what other projects we can expect from Hidetaka Miyazaki -- the definitive king of the RPG gaming. If one of them is going to be at least half as good as the Dark Souls series, then it will prove that he is a true master of his craft.

Other than that, let us know what RPG releases should have been mentioned in this article, and what games do you expect to see in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Banner Saga 2 Released for iOS and Android Sat, 01 Oct 2016 18:52:18 -0400 Alex Anderson_0905

The sequel to the award-winning indie game, The Banner Saga, The Banner Saga 2 was released for mobile devices Thursday. The game was released for PC, Mac, and consoles earlier this year and received glowing reviews on all platforms. 

The game's predecessor, The Banner Saga, was awarded Pocket Gamer’s Best RPG of the Year and Best Android Game of the Year. The development team, Stoic, is now working on the third and final installment of The Banner Saga, which is going to bring the epic saga to a climactic close. 

In Banner Saga 2, players will lead their Viking clans to even more hostile settings while keeping them alive by managing resources and making decisive strikes against enemies. The game truly is a turn-based strategy RPG at heart as you drive your forces through enemy lands and recruit more characters to harden your Viking army.

Banner Saga 2 is available in the App Store and on Google Play for $4.99.

Let's Get Tactical: 10 Turn Based Games You Didn't Even Know Existed Tue, 27 Sep 2016 05:42:00 -0400 Ty Arthur


There's no shortage of turn-based tactical games to play these days -- spanning every imaginable genre, from the recent cyberpunk Shadowrun games to the upcoming Battletech entry.


3D, 2D, old school, modern, there's a wealth of strategy entries to try out if you know where to look. What did you think of our picks, and what turn-based games would you recommend we try out soon?


Blackguards 2


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This is one appropriately titled game, as it is filled to the brim with utterly amoral protagonists and a very dark story. The main character winning in her insane crusade would undoubtedly be very bad for everyone, even if she was terribly wronged and tortured by spider venom for years. One character even previously sold another one into slavery -- and they're the good guys!


For fantasy fans who like things on the evil side, this one's an excellent option.



Chaos Reborn


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A crowd-funded success from one of the creators of the original XCOM series, this one is fantasy-focused instead of sci-fi and pits wizards against one another in some really unique environments. There's also a thriving online player versus player community if online battling with a strategy game is up your alley.



King's Bounty Series


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Now a long running-series with a horde of sequels/expansions, King's Bounty is an excellent replacement for the years when there's no new Heroes Of Might And Magic.


A lot more tongue-in-cheek and less serious than other fantasy games, the series kicked off with The Legend and has since seen subsequent iterations providing the same basic gameplay from the viking-focused Warriors Of The North to the Snow White-riffing Dark Side.



Thea: The Awakening


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Bringing to mind classics like Age Of Wonders or Disciples, this more modern hexagonal turn-based game really freshens up the formula with some interesting twists. As a Slavic god in a dark fantasy world, you can protect and expand your dominion through combat or skill challenges, with a backdrop of some really amazing hand drawn imagery.





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Also called Skyshine's Bedlam to distinguish from a previous FPS game of the same title, this is essentially The Banner Saga in a post apocalyptic setting -- it even uses the same engine and art style. If you like the idea of The Banner Saga's gameplay but don't dig a Scandinavian low fantasy world, give this one a shot instead.



Banner Saga 2


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One of the few games in this list also available for console, Banner Saga 2 has a high (and satisfying) level of difficulty with extremely tactical battles.


It also has you juggling lots of different aspects from morale to provisions as your group of vikings and giants flees down a river towards safety while an army pursues closely behind.


I would absolutely love to see the aesthetics from The One Ring tabletop RPG (easily one of the best Lord Of The Rings interpretations) done in this style as a video game, as it would fit the mechanics perfectly.



Atlas Reactor


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A new twist on turn-based gaming, mixing in real time MOBA elements where everyone takes their turn simultaneously, Atlas Reactor has been referred to as “XCOM meets DOTA” and “chess with guns." This unique little cross-genre entry is in early access on Steam but gearing up for full release in early October.



Battle For Wesnoth


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An anomaly in this list, Battle For Wesnoth is actually a completely open source game that's been tinkered on by developers for years. For fans of old school fantasy strategy games, this is a hidden gem well worth unearthing, and there's a ridiculous number of hours you could sink in between the main campaigns, downloadable extras, and crafting your own stories in the editor.





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Didn't dig the 3D, first person switch of Fallout 3 and wish that Van Buren had seen full release? Oh boy, this one's for you! There's a bit of that Shadowrun SNES feel as well, for a super nostalgic good time if you love isometric gaming or turn-based RPG combat.



Hard West


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Combining the grit of a hard-boiled western with a whole lot of occult and dark supernatural elements, Hard West offers a very satisfying mixture of styles.


There's a definite Lovecraftian bend to the supernatural horror on display, and if you've ever wanted to battle against demonic things with your six-shooter in a dusty saloon, this is the game for you.



While some fast paced MOBA or FPS action is always a welcome diversion, a good old turn-based strategy where you can really plan your battle tactics has a very special appeal.


There's been a fabulous resurgence of the old school in strategy games lately, with Age Of Wonders getting a new iteration not too long ago, as well as yet another Heroes Of Might And Magic landing on PC.


That storied series in particular has been taking knocks lately for being released unfinished and never having major bugs fixed, unfortunately, so for many gamers its time to find a new series to try. If you need ever more turn-based combat to puzzle over (and have already played XCOM 2 to death), here are 10 genre gems you may not even have known existed!

Banner Saga Complete Collection on Sale Thu, 11 Aug 2016 03:55:10 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

If you've been holding back on purchasing The Banner Saga Parts 1 and 2 for Xbox One, now is the time to buy.

For a limited time only, The Banner Saga Complete Pack which includes Banner Saga 1 and Banner Saga 2 is on sale for $33.99 if you are an Xbox Live Gold member.

The Banner Saga is developed by indie developer Stoic.

"This story driven tactical RPG puts players in some tough situations throughout their epic journey and forces them to make some very hard and sometimes devastating decisions." 

The decisions that you make in The Banner Saga Part 1 will transfer over to The Banner Saga Part 2 so you can continue your adventure.

Both games have been received very well by critics and gamers alike with Banner Saga 1 having an 82 on Metacritic and Part 2 having an 83.

This offer is for a limited time only so hurry on over to the Xbox Store or turn on your Xbox One to take advantage of this great deal for two amazing games.

Banner Saga 2 out NOW on Xbox One Sun, 03 Jul 2016 10:12:23 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

After being available on PC and Mac since April, The Banner Saga 2 was finally released for the Xbox One. 

The Banner Saga is a indie trilogy of games created by Stoic. "This story driven tactical RPG puts players in some tough situations throughout their epic journey and forces them to make some very hard and sometimes devastating decisions." Those decisions will follow you into each entry of The Banner Saga with it changing the story of the game based on your previous decisions. 

The Banner Saga 2 was released for PC in April and received great acclaim from the critics. 

The Banner Saga 2 is a part of the Xbox Games with Gold Program for the month of July. If you download The Banner Saga 2 on Xbox One you will also receive exclusive passive ability boost and the Tome of X which is a book of catalogued pastimes, competition, and puzzles. 

The Banner Saga 2 will be released for PlayStation 4 on July 5th. 

5 Games to Look Forward to in July Tue, 28 Jun 2016 06:30:01 -0400 Noor Sami


We Happy Few

Release Date: July 26

We Happy Few got its start with a successful Kickstarter campaign. Set in an alternative, war-ravaged version of 1960s England, the game’s objective is survival. Characters must blend in among the “delusionally happy people” of an eerie, dystopian city called Wellington Wells.


Playable characters are designed to be morally ambiguous -- and if you die, you must start the game over in an entirely new, procedurally generated version of the city. On July 26, the game will see an Xbox game preview and will also launch on Steam Early Access.


What other games are you excited for in July? Let me know down in the comments!


Batman: Return to Arkham

Release Date: July 26

Return to Arkham combines the remastered versions of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, along with all the old downloadable content from the original games. The new bundle has improved graphics and changed environments and models. It will release for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


The Banner Saga 2

Release Date: July 26

Although the PC and Mac versions of The Banner Saga 2 were released on April 19, July 26 will see a release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So far, the tactical RPG has garnered an 82% on Metacritic and some stellar reviews.


The 2D hand-drawn Viking saga boasts a new race called the Horseborn and improved combat. Those who played Banner Saga will find the second installment influenced by their past game choices. If you did not play the first game, the second will start out with automatic choices made for you.


I Am Setsuna

Release Date: July 19

Square Enix’s new Japanese role playing game has been called a “return to the golden era of JRPGs.” I Am Setsuna contains an air of nostalgia to older JRPGs.


It follows Setsuna, a girl who has been named a sacrifice by her people in order to protect them. The battle system is inspired by Chrono Trigger, and the game boasts some truly beautiful visuals. It will be available on PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and Windows.


Song of the Deep

Release Date: July 12

A Metroidvania-style game, Song of the Deep follows the story of a girl who crafts a submarine to seek out her missing fisherman father. Inspired by Irish mythology, the game emphasizes puzzles and exploration as opposed to combat, though it does contain some of the latter.


The game will include storybook inserts designed to make it look like a children’s book -- and there are plans to release a children’s book alongside it, as well. The game's developers are collaborating with GameStop to release physical copies alongside digital ones for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


After all the excitement from June's E3 conferences, July is going to be a relatively quiet month for gaming. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything worth playing. There are a few titles that warrant anticipation. Let’s take a look at some interesting releases coming up next month.

PAX East 2016 Panel: Indie Developer Stoic Studios gave an in depth look at all things Banner Saga Sat, 23 Apr 2016 17:24:36 -0400 Cresta Starr

Indie developer Stoic gave fans an in depth look at The Banner Saga 2 at PAX East 2016.  In addition to discussing all things Banner Saga, Fans got to see the exclusive reveal of "The Banner Saga - In Memoriam" a trailer by Cartoonist Kris Straub.

The Banner Saga is an epic tale about humans and a viking warrior race called the Varyl. In this story-driven game players must make hard decisions on and off the battlefield. Every choice the player makes changes the story around them. So it's up to the player to make the decisions count. The Banner Saga 2 picks up right where The Banner Saga leaves off. A more detailed look into The Banner Saga and the Skinny on The Banner Saga 2 can be found right here on Game Skinny.


Moderated by Jesse Cox, the panel consisted mostly of people from the Stoic team -- with the exception of Grammy Nominated composer Austin Wintory. The Stoic team included:

  • John Watson (Technical Director)
  • Arnie Jorgensen (Art Director)
  • Matt Rhoades (Technical Designer)
  • Drew McGee (Writer)

One of the main questions asked by the community was how The Banner Saga come to be? The team at Stoic wanted to create a mix of Oregon Trail and King of Dragons Pass kind of game. They moved the theme from British to Norse mythology to be told over 3 parts. Despite utilizing a brighter color pallet, they wanted to tell a dark, adult, player driven story. 

Stoic also talked in-depth about the art style of The Banner Saga. They wanted to emulate a rotoscoped look so that all the movements look more fluid. They also said that the art style was influenced by the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. That same art style could be seen in their exclusive short that they showcased here at PAX East 2016. Titled "In Memoriam," it was an homage to all the characters that died during The Banner Saga. But to lighten the mood, the video short was done in a more comedic manner.

Check it out below:

For Stoic, multiplayer was another hot topic from the community as well. With no real plans to bring co-op or multiplayer to The Banner Saga and The Banner Saga 2, Stoic did hint at maybe adding it to the game The Banner Saga Factions. If multiplayer is your flare, there is also a board game for The Banner Saga available at their booth here at PAX East.

Lastly, Fans wanted to know how much time was spent researching all the Norse mythology needed for The Banner Saga and The Banner Saga 2. Stoic stated that they kept the feel and themes of Norse mythology, but did not copy it verbatim. Since the ins and outs of the game kept changing as development continued, it was easy for them to use books as a reference for the culture, but not the actual storyline. It's why there are no helmets with horns for the "Viking-esque" Varyl. It also allowed the music to change and flow with the story and not be constrained by Norse guidelines.

Without a doubt, Stoic is very invested in The Banner Saga's story and its community. If you want to keep up with all things Stoic has in store, be sure to follow them and The Banner Saga on Twitter and on their website.

The Saga Continues: Banner Saga 2 Reviewed Mon, 09 May 2016 16:39:30 -0400 Vrothgarr

Sagas have a very weighted aesthetic, sometimes somber but always heroic. Wrapped in the myth-dusted context of a fierce history, a saga is a tradition that embodies the struggles of men and women against pitiless nature, fearsome enemies, or their own flawed decisions. The three-man team that is the Austin, Texas-based Stoic Studio presents a singular vision of this Viking tradition with a game built upon a framework of the greatest elements of choice-focused narrative design and stands upon a solid foundation of turn-based, tactical RPG combat.


Stoic Studio is: a former DC Comics (Justice League) artist, Arnie Jorgensen; a programmer who worked on the Hubble telescope, John Watson; and a short story and indie games writer who worked with both of these guys on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Drew McGee. By the by, Arnie was SW:TOR’s lead concept artist, and John was its lead combat programmer. The unique sum of their vision is nothing less than a flawless execution of very old and very new traditions.

Despite efforts made by King, the developers of Candy Crush, the concept of sagas goes beyond one franchise, one genre, or one culture. Here, Stoic Studio has managed yet again to encapsulate a saga that feels ancient, in terms of design, aesthetic, and presentation, while possessing the quality and finish of the very best of the new. The first Banner Saga title won a BAFTA for its modern affirmations of traditional design concepts, and no one should be surprised if they win again here. This sequel is an improvement in every way.

Giving out a perfect score is not something that should be done lightly or praising good design because it suits the reviewer’s tastes. No game is a universal 10/10; somebody out there hates Ocarina of Time for what they believe to be a good reason. There will be pieces that people don’t enjoy. But truly, there are no real flaws with The Banner Saga 2This review is shorter than most for I cannot tear myself away; something sublime is happening here.

The Land of the Unsetting Sun

The Banner Saga 2 stands on four main pillars: choice-driven storytelling, breathtaking art design, tactical turn-based combat, and heartstopping audio. The foremost of these pillars of tradition that uphold The Banner Saga 2 is the art and animation. Somewhere between Don Bluth and classic Disney, every single part of the whole is exemplary. The environments and backgrounds, particularly the brilliant use of foregrounds, give immense scale to your undertaking. Each character you meet feels unique to this world alone despite the clear Norse influences. Having such wide panoramas creates a scale for this game which feels monolithic and makes you and your characters feel rather small in the face of such a staggeringly beautiful tale.

Choose Wisely

Picking up the pieces of the first saga, The Banner Saga 2 will allow you to load a previous save which changes the story based on what decisions were made previously. If you don’t have a saved game, you’ll have the chance to make similar, though certainly less dramatic or impactful, choices. This is normally where I’d talk about where the story goes, but The Banner Saga 2 has such an ineffably personal feel to every moment that I feel like I’d be taking something away from your first hours in the game. Suffice it to say that the threat of the Dredge has not ceased since the defeat of the Bellower, and it is up to you to lead your clan through the land of the unsetting sun to a place of safety.

The game begins at Chapter 8: Forth From Their Homes. Immediately, it’s made clear that the storytelling is a main focus in the game in both quality and quantity. Familiar friends are further developed, taking into account your decisions in the previous saga. New allies and enemies flesh out a rich tapestry of heroes, villains, and everyone else left in between. Character classes are perfectly suited to this world, ranging from Landsmen, Menders and Shieldbangers, to Poets, Archers, and Raiders. The choices you make with these men and women, whether deciding who gets what items, to assigning tasks before battle, to where to move during battle, all feel like they come at some cost.

Combat and the overarching tactical RPG mechanics are immensely deep, but not by virtue of their scale or complexity. The strategic approach of needing to overcome an enemy’s armor to attack its health, which directly impacts its damage, brings about an unparalleled feeling of dread and hope with each blow you exchange with the enemy. The battles achieve a perfect rhythm only possible in the best turn-based RPGs. Well paced action at this slow a speed is a rare pleasure. The dynamic idling animations are far more than the usual “battle stance bounce” that most RPGs have which gives the eye time to enjoy the finely detailed character and environment art.

Dare to Struggle

The Banner Saga 2 isn’t the most punishing tactical RPG gameplay, but it’s close. Once you grasp the flow and rhythm of the turn-based battles, you’ll find success, but even on Easy there is gravitas behind every fight. This game does not permit careless decision making at any level. None of the side quests feel trivial, as if every movement on the battlefield could create a ripple effect that leads to the destruction of your clan and your failure as their leader. The strategic depth never really lets you feel like things went perfectly, and the atmosphere that surrounds each encounter is fully supported by the art, sound, animation, and most importantly every decision--no matter the size or the matter--that led you to this point.

The impact of your choices doesn’t rely on a good/evil binary scale. No points are awarded. Events unfold through brilliant writing and design that allow you to feel the effects of your decision instead of simply counting them. Your decisions impact not only the individuals you know and have spent many hours fighting beside, but also the hundreds of humans and giant varl that march under your banner. While friends can die, you are given charge over your group entirely and have a direct count of how many clansmen, fighters, and varl remain. Some choices may lead to increasing these numbers. Many will not.

The Horns of Battle, The Song of Silence

The sounds of the Banner Saga are not the most prominent pillar, but the subtlety of the themes, the grandeur that matches the stunning environments, and the ancient intensity of the battle music puts its quality on par with every other aspect of the game. The score was created by composer Austin Wintory, who was nominated for a Grammy beside John Williams for his work on Journey. A wholly identifiable sound palette emerges from The Banner Saga 2, from the soundtrack itself to the sounds of every strike or spell.

Some games have had a hard time pricing themselves lately. It’s very rare nowadays to see this level of quality on all fronts available for $19.99 USD. I don't think many would be surprised to see this priced out to $30 or even $40, and most of players would gladly pay for such a unique experience. With the first installment currently on sale for $4.99 USD, there is no excuse to not at least begin your saga there.

Banner Saga 2 was reviewed on PC, but is also available as of April 19th on OS X, PS4, and Xbox One.

The Banner Saga 2 out for release later this month Wed, 06 Apr 2016 11:26:37 -0400 Cresta Starr

Finally, the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Banner Saga is coming to gamers later on in April 2016. Stoic and Versus Evil has announced that The Banner Saga 2 will be coming soon with a pre-release teaser trailer.

In The Banner Saga, players had to make choices that directly effected the story line on and off the battlefield. Playing as either the ancient Varyl or humans, players must battle their way though treacherous winter lands and battle against an enemy that has no need for sleep or food. The full skinny on The Banner Saga can be found right here on GameSkinny.

The Banner Saga 2 will pick up where The Banner Saga left off. This time around, players will have new playable character options, as well as new enemies. There will also be a new specialization tree for renown points. Lastly, the combat system has been improved. Players now have a more streamlined experience between battle and consequences for your choices.

So if being a Viking and battling monsters is your thing, The Banner Saga 2 comes out for full release on April 19th. Currently only available on PC, players can pre-order The Banner Saga 2 now on Steam and save 10%.