Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

Review: Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

Get ready to dive into the heart of an unforgettable narrative-driven Action-RPG that gives you complete control over your decisions

Those familiar with Dontnod know well that this studio spares no expense on narrative experience in its video games. Indeed, the developers behind games like Life is Strange, Vampyr or even the recent Jusant are behind this new experience that blends RPG and Adventure, all published by Focus Entertainment.

Diving into the universe of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, we discover a world rich in mysteries and adventures that invites us to explore the darkest confines of colonial fantasy. In 1695, we follow the journey of Antea Duarte and Red Mac Raith, a couple bound by love who serve as banishers summoned to New Eden at the request of Charles, a priest and longtime friend.

Alas, the couple quickly learns that New Eden is under the spell of a curse caused by a Nightmare, a fallen ghost far more potent than usual. Antea and Red are separated during an event that sets the entire famous narrative, demonstrating how much the couple cares for each other. Thus, the story of our two protagonists becomes intertwined in the web of intrigues and mysteries that stand before them and all the inhabitants of New Eden.

An Action-RPG game with out-of-the-ordinary mechanics

The gameplay of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden stands out significantly for its originality, offering a combat system that requires perfect synergy between the two protagonists. With his varied arsenal and banisher skills, Red fights in a traditional manner, mainly in melee, with some ranged possibilities when you obtain a firearm. I would say that Red’s combat mechanics remind me a lot of Kratos in God of War. On the other hand, we have Antea, who, despite her ethereal form, plays a crucial role in battles thanks to her banishing abilities and newly acquired spectral skills. The game allows us to switch between characters at the press of a button to combat the many enemies that stand in their way. The two characters’ synergy will require the player to juggle between physical strength and supernatural abilities to defeat these enemies.

Moreover, these enemies will offer a constant challenge throughout your journey. Some spectres will take possession of corpses lying on the ground, while other corrupted creatures will show protection barriers or even a power boost to other assailants. Your only chance of survival will be precision, parries, dodges, and your potions, which, like in the majority of Souls-like games, only regenerate when you rest.

As you progress in your adventure, you will find equipment that Antea and Red can equip and upgrade to improve their stats. Add to this skill trees that will allow you to learn new techniques for each of the two characters and combined abilities, allowing the other to intervene even if they are not the controlled character.

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Finally, you will also find spectre nests during your adventures that will give you a permanent stat boost once purified.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is not just about combat

Although the combat is thrilling and intense, know that the game is not just about that. The entirety of the game’s universe is a gigantic, essential character in its own right. The settlers trying to survive in this nefarious world in ruined villages combined with beautiful lush forests with more than abundant vegetation and its multiple winding caves will make you visit a world of suffering that changes and evolves with you. Honestly, the game’s artistic direction, perfectly harmonious with the narrative, makes immersion in this fantastic universe exciting. The only part I did not like about this is how the compass is used. You may get lost quickly without opening your map and considering relying on the compass alone.

What about the narrative?

As mentioned, Dontnod is a studio recognized for its efforts to provide narrative arcs that combine a story rich in emotions, twists, captivating dialogues, and a very important presence of the player’s decision-making power throughout the adventure.

Do not be mistaken: Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden will offer situations where your heart will be torn by remorse, disgust, bitterness, or even rage. Your choices will have severe consequences and should not be taken lightly. Every decision will be significant since the outcome of your journey depends on it. Will you be a person of reason, heart, or balance? Know that your decisions must be unequivocal and that the power of life and death lies in your hands.

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A pleasing audio track, but…

Of course, not everything can be perfect, and I can only be slightly disappointed with the game’s audio track. The music is pleasant, indeed, but it consists of melodies that loop, and alas, there are moments when we hear this famous “cut” that signifies the end of the melody, which then takes us back to the beginning of it. The fade or blend effect is absent, which is the case for none of the melodies you will hear in the game.

It’s not much, you might say, but those who pay perhaps a little too much attention to these small details, like me, will surely be annoyed to hear these famous cuts.

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This is the only negative point I can give to the audio track because there’s something special here if we look at special effects or voice acting. Moreover, the main characters care about the outcome of Antea and Red’s discussion. However, some NPCs are more static, and their speeches will often have a single tone, which can be annoying.

Verdict

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden promises an unforgettable adventure, offering a well-balanced mix of combat, exploration, and narration to captivate players from the first moments. Banishers’ richly detailed visuals, innovative gameplay, and decision-making power will captivate many, whether you are the jury, judge, or executioner. Expect to replay the campaign several times if you intend to see the impacts of your decisions throughout your progression.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
Review: Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
Summary
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden promises an unforgettable adventure that will captivate players from the first moments.
Liked
A superb narrative framework
A satisfying combat system
Simply sublime visuals
An intriguing story
Decision-making power in the player's hands
Didn't Like
Voice acting of some NPCs
Navigating with the compass