Review – Banner of the Maid

Fans of tactics games like Final Fantasy Tactics, the Fire Emblem series and the recent Langrisser remakes on the Switch should be pretty familiar with what to expect from a game like this one. For the unintiated, Banner of the Maid is a turn-based tactics game that heavily borrows gameplay elements from these aforementioned titles, and puts them in an interesting time era.

Set during an alternative history version of the French Revolution of 1789, you play as Pauline Bonaparte, a rising officer in the French military as she commands her troops into battle. She will also need to deal with some political factions, picking sides when needed.  She is occasionally joined by historical figures throughout the game including her brother Napoleon and his wife, among some others. 

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At least battle animations can be skipped.

For the most part, you will be thrown into turn-based tactics-like battles, and impressively enough, it’s quite a lot of fun. It is what you would expect from a game like this: commanding your troops in a grid-based arena and figuring out which units are most effective against the enemy in particular scenarios. Each unit will have a limited amount of weapon uses in each battle, so you will need to think carefully about how and where to use them and not overly rely on one of your units. The core gameplay here is actually pretty decent, even if a bit basic, and doesn’t try anything new in the genre. If you have ever played a tactics game before you know exactly what to expect here. Banner of the Maid doesn’t break any new grounds but it also doesn’t need to.

What Banner of the Maid does really well in though is adding variety and modifiers to each of the game’s main missions, starting simply with the mission failing when Pauline dies, from quickly adding in tall grass, rain, fog of war and more, which all have their own effects on gameplay. Every mission adds its own twist that keeps things interesting.

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Era appropriate?

Out of combat, Banner of the Maid feels very much like a visual novel. Dialogue is played out with static images and no voice dialogue, with the occasional moral choice to progress through the narrative. Sadly, the choices don’t really have much have an impact on the overall story, but for the most part, the dialogue is actually well-written. You will also have the opportunity to buy new items to help you in battle and re-equip your troops.

What we have here is a game that combines elements of era-appropriate designs with Anime art and character designs. For the most part it’s not a bad look, with nicely done art and character designs that have obviously been waifu’d up, so that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The problem here though is that the game doesn’t look very good during gameplay. Another issue lied on the user interface. For the most part, it felt convoluted and not pleasant at all to look at.

Sound design isn’t as effective but it’s not bad either. There’s no voiced dialogue at all, except for the odd few lines uttered every now and then during gameplay so there’s really not a lot to talk about in here. The soundtrack, at the very least, is very era-appropriate but is overly repetitive and found myself turning it down and listening to anything else. It ended up feeling like background noise after a while.

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The victory screen is eye catching, to say the least…

This one is a bit of a weird one for me. I would have never imagined that an anime-styled tactics game set in the French Revolution would ever be released, let alone work as a decent game in its own right. To my surprise, Banner of the Maid is a decent game, but not without its fair share of issues, be it its underwhelming user interface and occasionally limiting gameplay.

 

Graphics: 6.5

Well done art and character designs let down by dull environments and user interface.

Gameplay: 7.0

Fun tactics-based gameplay that can feel a little bit limiting at times. There’s also a bit of visual novel elements thrown into the mix.

Sound: 6.0

Not a lot of sound effects in here, but those present do their job. The soundtrack isn’t bad at first, but it gets repetitive pretty quickly.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Banner of the Maid is a good tactics game that doesn’t try to do new things but then again, it never intended to.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Banner of the Maid is available now on PC

Reviewed on PC

A copy of Banner of the Maid was provided by the publisher.

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