Home ยป Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Review: an ambitious action
Banishers Ghosts of New Eden Recensione

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Review: an ambitious action

A review of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, the new Don't Nod adventure published by Focus Entertainment

How much ambition in Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, the new action story driven with RPG elements from Don’t Nod – the Paris-based development studio that just a few months ago, pulled that wonderful gem Jusant out of its hat (if you missed it, here’s the review of Jusant) – and published by Focus Entertainment. A title determined to tell a great and long-suffering love story, that between Antea Duarte and Red mac Raith (your Scottish heartland), two Banishers (spirit hunters).

New England, United States, 17th century. In the course of a dangerous mission in the village of New Eden, during an excellent prologue with dark and evocative atmospheres, Antea loses her life, becoming a specter herself (who will always remain at Red’s side throughout the adventure). Is it possible to bring her back to the world of the living? Yes, but the price to pay is very, very high (on that subject, here is our Guide to Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden).

Liberating New Eden

Thus begins a long journey, through forests, caves, and snowy mountains, that will require first investigating and then determining the fate of the many ghosts that haunt people’s daily lives. In fact, each time we initiate an investigation, our goal will be to scan rooms and areas of the map for clues, question local inhabitants, all of which are essential actions to to reveal why ashadow is haunting a living individual. Having come face to face with the soul of the deceased-which we will summon by choosing one of three available rituals-we will be faced with the pivotal moment in the narrative experience of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden.

It may happen, for example, to find that the victim haunted by the specter is actually an evil person who committed horrendous crimes, perhaps because he or she had no choice but to sacrifice someone for the greater good. The interpretation of the case is ours and ours alone and, therefore, it will be up to us to decide who to save and who to purge, choices that will affect the continuation of the story and multiple endings of the work: accuse the living person of his or her actions in order to nurture Antea, the only way to be able to hold her in our arms again (Red will face the consequences of his or her actions); ascend the spirit by freeing it from eternal pain or consign it to endless torment?

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Several times I have been mulling over my choices, To feel bad for condemning a person to death in the name of my love for Antea, a sentiment that in Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden takes on particularly selfish overtones: it is no accident that in certain situations I decided to go against my own oath to save her. Then to knock out my emotional state were the outstanding interlude scenes capable of conveying, in a realistic way, the NPCs’ reactions of pain or anger to our sentences.

Banishers: fighting ghosts

The Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden adventure – with a remarkable length (at least 25 hours to complete the main quest) – is developed through a main campaign and several side missions that led me facing scary bosses (few but good as they say and fabulously designed), monstrous creatures and hard-to-fall ghosts: gameplay adds, in addition to the aforementioned investigations, a healthy dose of exploration mostly guided by the handy compass at the top of the screen, puzzles to solve and secret rooms accessible after interacting with the surroundings and taking advantage of Antea’s unique abilities, and much combat.

At first I did not feel fully engaged with the game’s combat system. However, as the hours passed, it began to take on greater depth, which positively affected the variety of the confrontations (which, in the long run, still tended to retain a certain repetitiveness): unlocking the abilities of the Banisher and, by alternating the latter with Red, it is possible, for example, to pull off a combo of three quick attacks with the Scotsman and then switch with Antea – if we press the switch button with the right timing – who will close the offensive sequence with an uppercut that will send the opponent to the ground; project against him to further weaken him and win the battle with a very powerful AOE that will wipe out every enemy in the vicinity.

Here comes a new wave. I switch to Red because I am no longer able to summon my soul mate. No fear as I have properly upgraded my weapons and armor thanks to the resources gathered during my wanderings. I pull off a couple of perfect parries (some maneuvers, however, can only be avoided) followed by light, charged attacks, interspersed with the precise use of the rifle, which is useful for shooting ghosts that are far from my position.

Constantly switching between the two hunters is key if you want to survive in New Eden, and in that sense, the skill tree should be developed by figuring out which fighting style is most congenial to us because, depending on our preferences, we can develop the skill tree favoring greater use of Red, Antea or a mix between the two characters.

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Such choices will also have to be made regarding equipment: there is no shortage of bracelets, clothing or weapons that enhance the characteristics of one or another protagonist. Exploring, finally, the territories of New Eden will happen to come across some Nests to be purified: hordes of enemies will mercilessly assault us, but we will sell our skin dearly. At these junctures, combat gets rather tough – primarily because of the high number of mobs on the screen – but in the event of victory all our attributes will increase by one point.

Ambition to sell

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden has ambition to spare and a lot of courage in trying to achieve an immense story of love and adventure: Don’t Nod confirms itself as one of the best studios on the market when it comes to embed a great narrative in a video game who knows how to stir up mixed emotions in us and capable of confronting the player with decisions that are impossible to make lightly.

Maybe not everything is perfect: a little more variety in the combat system and number of enemies would have benefited the play experience more. Beyond the excellent starting ideas, however, the action phases risk becoming repetitive over the 25 hours required to reach the end credits, a factor that may affect the replayability of a product with multiple endings. Nevertheless, the foundation from which to build for the next big production is all there. I’m looking forward to the next announcement of Don’t Nod (which will be released in a few months by the way with Lost Records: Bloom & Rage): I’m already looking forward to it.

Andrea Baiocco

Amo la birra, il basket e i videogiochi. Sogno un'Ipa al pub con Kratos e una scampagnata con Nathan Drake. Scrivo su Lascimmiapensa e su Everyeye mentre provo a parlare su Freaking News.

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