Geek Culture

Geek Review: Bannermen

Pathos Interactive’s Bannermen is a conflicting release by today’s standards. It is reminiscent of the real-time strategy (RTS) games of old, taking clear inspiration from the stalwarts like Age of Empires and Warcraft. But while it certainly tries, one cannot help but feel that Bannermen is a leap too far and not even remotely close to the greats it is trying to emulate.

The staples of the RTS genre are all here. Resource gathering, army production, and even hero units with abilities that can turn the tide. You cannot really go wrong with this tried-and-tested formula, but beyond the hero units, Bannermen is frighteningly shallow in depth.

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With only one faction, you are essentially waging war against a foe with the same units, tech, and upgrades. This is exacerbated by the lack of options for your units, there are no veteran units here. Any semblance of tactics and strategic planning is definitely missing.

The economy is also overly simplified, with just wood and gold required for your army to function. These are usually plentiful, and even with the units, buildings, and upgrades, you will still find a healthy surplus.

With a tech tree that pretty much screams medieval combat, Bannermen gives players footmen, archers, catapults, and knights to play with. At least the hero units are powerful enough to spice things up a little, and being able to level them up is a plus. However, with the campaign focusing on a single hero primarily, and the two others, there is too little variety to truly be a positive.

A new addition by Bannermen is the use of Holy Spots, specific locations on each map that requires a temple to be built to harness its power. Doing so will grant players the ability to summon hugely destructive area-of-effect attacks. Of course, it is a risk as a temple built will alert the map, so be prepared to defend your property.

vThroughout the campaign, you will be rebuilding your army and plotting your revenge against the evil Lord Karthor. It is as straightforward as it gets, with no plot twists or nefarious schemes at play. For better or for worse, it is a medieval story through and through.

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Over the course of more than 20 levels, your armies will battle through a decent amount of changing biomes, but the recycled multiplayer maps can only last for so long. Imagine a huge map with space meant for many armies, but you are only fighting one foe.

A mixture of big battles and smaller hero skirmishes helps keep things from getting stale, but the inconsistent pacing of missions can be infuriating, with missions laughingly short to feeling drawn-out and boring.

Things get worse when the performance of Bannermen is still far from stable. Glitches can prevent progression, and the audio can sometimes cut out during cut scenes. The AI can also definitely be improved when it comes to engagement and pathfinding, micromanagement should be an option and not a requirement to have fun in a RTS.

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It is even more damning when you consider the visual fidelity of Bannermen. Whether it is close-up or afar, neither units nor buildings look particularly easy on the eye, and outside of the maps themselves, nothing to be impressed about.

Bannermen certainly cannot be faulted from taking its inspirations from the greats, where it fumbles is ultimately to even live up to the basics of the classics.

A lack of strategic depth, a limited variety of factions and units, and the oversimplification of a usually deep genre makes Bannermen a disappointing RTS.

Outside of its price point, there is little to recommend about Bannermen, especially when the classics are still within reach.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

Imitation that falls flat, Bannermen is a poor attempt at a real-time strategy game that fails to live up to the most basic of expectations.

Overall
4.8/10
4.8/10
  • Gameplay - 6/10
    6/10
  • Story - 5/10
    5/10
  • Presentation - 4/10
    4/10
  • Value - 4/10
    4/10
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