As The Banner Saga is a game of which we are immensely proud, we have been reading some of the reviews that have surfaced since its release. Most reviews love it in its totality, while a few don't like one aspect, while others dislike a different, opposite aspect.
To date it is sitting on a very respectable 81% on Metacritic, which is a great place to be. The last game we worked on that featured on Metacritic was L.A. Noire, which is sitting on 83% on pc, and 89% for both the consoles it released on. We're pretty happy with that.
Here are some of mentions of the sound in The Banner Saga from a few of the reviews. Mainly collating for prosperity, and maybe a little for our egos :)
"You’ll often find yourself staring at the screen, admiring the intricate detail of the falling snowflakes and listening to the ambient clanking of a blacksmith and mutterings by peasants. If things heat up, the war drums will raise your heart rate in anticipation of a skirmish. During your journey the soundtrack whisks you away into the Norse world with music composed by Austin Wintory (who wrote the score to Journey), performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony."
Gamezebo game of the Month
"Where does one even begin when talking about the incredible epic that is The Banner Saga from Stoic? I guess I could always start with the shining presentation, like the beautifully illustrated designs that look like they belong in a feature-length animated movie, and the impeccable voice cast and ambient sounds. Then I could always move on to talk about the sweeping narrative, which makes you really feel for the characters and the worn-down paths they travel on throughout the massive adventure. Oh but then there’s also the gameplay itself, which teeters back and forth between slick strategy-tactics skirmishes and decision-based storybook mechanics, which will actually affect the overall outcome of the game!"
God is a Geek
" I’ve mentioned how beautiful it looks, and the screenshots don’t do it justice. The aesthetics are matched by the music and background noise, which together make it incredibly atmospheric.
VERDICT: The Banner Saga is one of the most original games you’ll play this year. That such a small team has managed to create a story that will be unique to every player is astonishing, and that the story actually makes you care even more so. Buy this game."
"There are few games I’ve played that managed to look better than The Banner Saga. The stylised background artwork and character design show exactly how invested the designers were in their project. The sound design is also superb, adding to the story of the characters in almost every aspect of the game. All up, The Banner Saga presents a wonderful story, with good mechanics and an aesthetic that games with higher budgets should be green with envy to look at. Well worth a look."
On-point score from Austin Wintory (of Journey fame), along with expository voiceovers and perfect war howls and hacks..."
New York Times
"the game was beautiful to listen to."
"Along with the stunning visual aesthetic is a soundtrack that gives this story a sense of place. At times its barely there, if at all, as ambient sounds like wind howling over icy peaks set the mood. Elsewhere it's reductionist and somber, but rises to the occasion when the time calls. Blaring horns and drums are contrasted with somber strings and solemn chants, as extolled Journey composer Austin Wintory transports players to this fantastical Norse world.
This game feels like a project created by artists. It's uncompromising to a fault. Tiptoeing its way around trite conventions and hackneyed design choices, I have no doubt that the team at Stoic created the game they wanted to make. By the end of the journey, I cared for my banner like a shepherd tending to his flock. I commiserated with their hardships, as the thread of despondency wove its way throughout virtually every aspect of the experience.
The Banner Saga is a dark and onerous experience, but its one that draws you in. I'll be waiting with bated breath to see which way this winding path darts next. Something tells me we're not out of the woods just yet."
Music and Sound:A fun fact: I ordinarily play with games muted. I don't know why. I just do. Call it habit. I used to own a laptop with a busted sound card for the longest time. Yet, The Banner Saga's soundtrack had me so smitten I kept the game on for background music even when I wasn't actively playing it. What's most fascinating about it is the simple fact that there is so little of it to speak of. Long periods of silence, broken only by the clang of metal or the howl of the blizzard, alternate with the swell of wind instruments. Like the graphics, the fully orchestral score, heavy with intent, is gorgeous but not overwrought."
"The stylised background artwork and character design show exactly how invested the designers were in their project. The sound design is also superb, adding to the story of the characters in almost every aspect of the game."