Exploring the Haunting World of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

Banishers is a third-person action game, and a pretty basic one at that. Where Banishers stands out is in the story and gameplay mechanics, which have a great idea

by Sededin Dedovic
Exploring the Haunting World of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
© MKIceAndFire / Youtube channel

In today's gaming landscape dominated by sequels, remakes and live-action titles, it's always refreshing to see a small studio with big ambitions backed by decent publisher support. Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden stands out in a sea of familiar offerings with its compelling narrative and innovative gameplay mechanics, proving that originality still has a place in the industry.

At its core, Banishers is a third-person action game, albeit one with a fairly basic gameplay premise. However, where it truly shines is in its storytelling and gameplay mechanics, which boast intriguing ideas that could have used a little more refinement in execution.

All in all, a very positive experience with this game without too many expectations. The story follows the journey of Antea Duarte and Red Mac Raith, two ghost-hunting Baishers during the colonization of America around 1695.

The twist? They are lovers. Their adventure takes them to the town of New Eden, which has been possessed by an evil spirit. Upon arrival, they discover that their friend and priest who was in town before them has died, leaving behind a message that something is wrong.

What follows is a quest to find Anthea's body, bury it and release her spirit into the afterlife, or potentially bring her back to life. This premise sets the stage for moral dilemmas and player choices that significantly affect the flow of the narrative.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Gameplay© MKIceAndFire / YOutube channel

One of the most intriguing aspects of the game is the dynamic between Red and Antea, which is beautifully written with a lot of emotional depth.

However, it's worth noting a slight inconsistency in their relationship, given the amount of personal information they keep from each other even though they're presumably married. While this narrative choice may serve to create a sense of mystery around the characters, it feels somewhat unnatural from their perspective.

As players make their way through the haunted locations of New Eden, they encounter various characters tormented by their own personal demons, unraveling the mysteries surrounding their spirit possession. While this mechanic initially promises depth, it quickly becomes apparent that the mysteries are largely scripted, leaving little room for player exploration or deviating from predetermined paths.

The game practically holds your hand through the investigation process, with clues conveniently placed in specific locations. Despite this limitation, the choices presented at the end of each investigation offer moral dilemmas that challenge the player's perception and add an extra layer of engagement to the experience.

Visually, Banishers impresses with its portrayal of sparsely populated areas of America, featuring lush forests, towering mountains, murky swamps, and vast plains. While exploration is somewhat limited, the attention to detail in each environment is evident, immersing players in the game's world.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Gameplay© MKIceAndFire / Youtube channel

The narrative is further elevated by stellar voice acting that breathes life into each character, allowing players to fully immerse themselves in the story and the decisions they make.

While they don't directly affect gameplay, these performances add to the emotional investment players feel towards the characters and their journey. You can see that a lot of effort was put into this aspect of the game, and it must have taken weeks and months of repetition and recording to get this kind of, we can say, perfection.

However, where Banishers falls behind is in gameplay mechanics. While borrowing elements from the Soulslike games, the combat is shallow and clumsy. Players control Red, armed with a sword and magical torch for physical combat, while Antea provides spectral abilities and magic.

Despite the potential for depth with this dual combat system, encounters feel repetitive due to limited enemy variety and linear progression. Although this is a very important aspect of the game, in the overall impression it cannot spoil the quality of the game itself.

Movement during combat is clunky and stiff, with Red moving in a predetermined path when locked onto an enemy, and combat animations seem stiff and scripted. While players can improve their equipment through a basic crafting system, unlocking upgrades feels more like a chore than a rewarding experience.

The game also has a leveling system where players can choose abilities to suit their play style, but the impact on gameplay is minimal. Despite these gameplay flaws, Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden manages to leave a lasting impression with its captivating story and atmosphere.

Players will return to the game not for the combat challenges, but for the opportunity to revisit its engaging narrative. It's a real shame if this game doesn't find its way to the audience in the sea of well-known and very expensive titles.

As the industry continues to prioritize flashy graphics and innovative mechanics, Banishers reminds us that sometimes a compelling story is all it takes to capture an audience. If you took the time to read the text, then definitely give this game a chance, which is better and more compact than most of today's blockbuster titles from the strongest publishing houses.