Holy shit why has nobody talked about this yet!!!
Ok, before anything else, this is going to be my Game of the Year 2014, no matter what else comes out this year, doesn't matter, this trumps everything. Yes, it is that glorious.
It was on a Steam sale recently for 14 money items or thereabouts but now still is not all that expensive.
First of a 3-part game it is set in an apocalyptic viking-like world filled with humans and varl (a giant-like race) and dredge (the "enemy"). The developers specifically wanted to get away from the standard brawly human, drinking dwarf, titty elf, ebil orc setup. Talking about developers, the game is an indi-production of 3 former Bioware dudes and boy, does that show!
Awesome storytelling, constant barrage of decision making where most of the outcome isn't immediately visible, a heavily plot based gameplay, everything you love about the good old Bioware titles. This coupled with what is a very interesting safe feature (it only autosaves, so no quick restart if you didn't like a decision) which takes a while to get used to but once done you get pushed along into the flow of the story and come to accept the decisions you made, which is something specifically aimed for by the producers.
Yes, it is very story focused, more a visual novel really than a standard game, not open world at all, but if you love a great story you will love this game.
Combat is a very nicely done classic isometric turn based tactical affair in the likes of the Heroes of Might and Magic games or something like that. You really have to think whom or even how many to bring from your party, where to deploy them, in which order to move them where, whom to sacrifice if necessary, which special abilities to use or if it would be better to keep them back. In short, it is an easy to understand but hard to master very deep combat system which is very, very rewarding when you pull of great attacks (not in terms of loot though, there nearly is no loot in this game, which I personally like).
And then there is the art style...
First time I saw the cut scenes and then the character animations in the fighting scenes I came. Literally. And then cried some. It is just so utterly utterly beautiful.
The style is meant to evoke the great old time of the 60s and 70s in Western Animation style, before Disney bought up everything and made everything bubbly and anthropomorphic and shit. It specifically is based on the work of Ralph Bakshi who is known for great films like the 1978's adaptation of Lord of The Rings of which I personally have great nostalgic memories of and films like Wizards (1977) (go look those up on youtube, worth your time).
In closing, if you like a storyline in which you can take part and tactical fighting as well as a very nostalgic but utterly amazing art style you will indeed love Banner Saga.
Go buy it so they will make more!