The developer Don’t Nod has carved a good name with games that put our moral on the table from a very narrative point of view, but a few years ago they also dived into the action RPG with the remarkable Vampyr. Now, a sort of spiritual successor arrives with Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
Taking some elements from that game, also quite a few of what the most recent God of War has to offer and, of course, providing many interesting elements of their own, we have an RPG adventure in a semi-open world where ghosts, curses, witchcraft, and moral principles collide in colonial America.
The Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden analysis in Hobby Consolas:
Jugabilidad y gameplay de Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
Banishers’ story tells us that, at the end of the 17th century, humanity “coexists” in a certain way with the ghosts of their deceased. Those who have pending issues haunt their loved ones and little by little they distort their memories to martyrize those who are still alive.
To solve this problem there are the banishers, a kind of elite group that is able, through rituals and special objects, to get the ghosts to manifest themselves to discover what their pending issues are and, once resolved, to make these beings ascend forever or to be locked in a kind of eternal purgatory.
Antea and Red, the protagonists of the game, are two of these banishers. She is their master and lover, but, at the beginning of the adventure, Antea dies at the hands of a mysterious entity, the Nightmare, which seems to be more powerful than any other being they have ever seen.
Now, Antea’s ghost will accompany Red in the search for a solution to eliminate the Nightmare, while they understand why the region of New Eden is cursed to the core.
Along the way, they must banish various ghosts, face dozens of them, and, above all, make a decision: when all this is over, will Red ascend Antea to have peace (and lose it forever) or will he try to perform a forbidden ritual to revive her?
So, the game has two closely related variants. On the one hand, we have the exploration and action part typical of a light ARPG: we go through the enormous map of the New Eden region to find towns, caves, and all kinds of environments in which to fight ghostly encounters, talk with people, or overcome the occasional exploration puzzle.
On the other hand, we have the moral decision parts, which we will address later and are fundamental to our experience as players.
At almost any time, we can alternate between Red and Antea. In the exploration areas, Red is able to climb, squeeze through narrow areas, or, later, shoot from a distance with a rifle. Antea can see the spectral plane and, in it, hidden paths, but she can also use her phantom energy to break barriers or eliminate some strange plants that block the way.
When it comes to combat, Red has a health bar that, if depleted, will lead us to game over (before that happens, you have to use infusions, something like the game’s first aid kits), while Antea has phantom energy that, if used up, will simply pass control to Red while recharging slowly.
Each one has unique movements: Red shoots from a distance and, by accumulating enough hits, can banish the enemy in a single blow, while Antea can generate shockwaves or immobilize a ghost for a few seconds, for example. Ideally, it is to alternate the control of one or the other every few seconds to be much more effective.
At certain points on the map, we find camps that serve as a kind of rest and improvement area, a bit like Dark Souls or Tomb Raider: there, we can improve our weapons and equipment if we have the necessary ingredients, use the level up points to acquire new skills, or teleport to other already discovered locations.
Improving weapons and items not only raises our statistics but also tends to have side effects, such as dealing more damage with a full health bar or generating shockwaves, for example. Choosing the right items and abilities within the corresponding improvement trees can give us a huge advantage in combat.
These improvement trees have tiles dedicated to Red and others dedicated to Antea. The points for Red’s tiles are usually obtained simply by accumulating experience and leveling up by completing missions, but those for Antea are obtained by completing secondary banishment missions.
To access these missions, we have to speak with the numerous people we encounter both in towns and on the roads. Some will only give context, others will also sell us items or ingredients, and there will also be those that help us progress in missions, whether they are main or secondary.
¿A quién vas a llamar? ¡A los desterradores!
Normally, the goal is to find out what trauma they have gone through, what motivations they have, and how the ghost tormenting them influences them. When we have accumulated enough clues in that regard, the time will come to make a decision among several options. Depending on the case, the options are usually to ascend the ghost, condemn it to that kind of purgatory, forgive the life of a living person, or kill him.
The apparently most benevolent options contribute to Antea ascending at the end of the game (we are not making spoilers, the game says it every time it is our turn to decide) and the most aggressive ones, such as killing someone contribute to us being able to resurrect her in the end since she will absorb the energy of the person who dies.
But of course, as usually happens with Don’t Nod, the options are not black or white. Maybe killing someone contributes to stop him harassing a town. Or saving a ghost makes the living person resent us for making what was left of his beloved disappear…
To make matters worse, the game presents us with the idea that Red and Antea make an oath: we have to show our clear intention in front of Antea, either to “ascend” her or resurrect her.
The game makes it clear to us that, in the end, we will be able to betray that oath if we want, but we will have to assume the consequences. What consequences? And what is the most correct thing? Throughout the adventure, we will have the ghost, no pun intended, of the big decision that must be made in the end.
¿Es difícil Banishers?
If you play on the intermediate difficulty, the adventure has a very fair and balanced progression, so that, although there may be an encounter that makes you die once or twice, you will generally have challenging battles, but not particularly hard. You just have to be agile with your fingers and know when to switch from Red to Antea.
The secondary challenges, such as the infinite spectral nests or the elite ghosts, can put you more against the ropes, although the rewards in the form of improvement points are usually worth it.
In terms of combat, in any case, you have 5 difficulty levels to choose from, so it is easy to design yourself an adventure to measure.
The puzzles become somewhat more pesky after the second half of the game (especially those based on eliminating “spectral flowers”), but it is more a matter of patience and observation than anything else. Look behind parapets, up and down, and you will eventually find the key.
Duración de Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
The development is that of a “semi-open” game: there are clear paths to follow for the story to advance (apart from the compass, we have a map with the icons of the main missions), but we also have many forks and secondary missions to explore at our own pace.
In this sense, if we want to focus on the main part of the story (and taking into account that we have to try to level up a bit to be up to it), it can take you about 25 hours to complete everything essential, which is quite good.
If you wanted to delve into the secondary missions of ghost elimination and presences, that time could easily rise to 40 hours, but you also have to take into account that, depending on our decisions, not only can you reach different endings, but also ramifications in the history of several characters throughout the game.
Therefore, playing more than once with the complete story can give you very satisfying perspectives. The question is… what is the “correct” one?
Precio y plataformas disponibles
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden can be obtained for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in physical edition for 59.99 euros, which is a very affordable price, given the hours of gameplay it will provide.
In the case of PC, it is even cheaper, as it can be obtained for 49.99 euros. However, only in digital edition, of course. There is no special or collector’s edition of the game, by the way.
Although the first impressions of any player will be “this is a God of War but with ghosts” and, to a large extent, justified, Banishers manages to gradually immerse us in its own universe and, above all, in an important, transcendent story full of layers.
The backbone of it is the love story between Red and Antea, who continue to fight together even after she has died. Antea is more disciplined and thoughtful, while Red is more spontaneous and positive, despite his dark past as a Scottish war veteran.
Their conversations, private jokes, and fights make anyone who has had a solid relationship feel identified, but also serve to make them reflect on the transcendence.
If we decide that Antea ascends, they will never see each other again. How do you live the last days of a relationship like that? But if we decide to resurrect her at the cost of the lives of others, won’t guilt end up corrupting the pleasure of embracing your beloved again?
Apart from that very interesting relationship, inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the game tells us about the ignorance, fear, and anger that can be felt by the human being when faced with everything he does not know.
Beneath the layer of 17th-century story lies a critique of our current society, towards the dogmas and weaknesses of those who do not want to see beyond what they take for granted.
In technical terms, Banishers is a very competent game, with fairly detailed scenery and beautiful natural landscapes, full of forests, waterfalls, or icy moors. The characters and enemies do well, although it is true that they do not reach the detail or expressiveness of monsters in the genre like Baldur’s Gate 3 or the aforementioned God of War.
In addition, although most of the time everything moves with fluency, there are moments of incomprehensible framerate drops and more than the occasional “scratching”. The game allows you to choose between quality mode and performance mode, and, as always, the performance mode is much more recommended, but still you will not get rid of these drops.
Despite this, the setting is great and we have many particle effects, distortions when we look at other planes, and other flourishes. Additionally, the very long loading times that Vampyr had here almost completely disappear, even when it’s time to visit very large maps. Blessed SSD of the new generation.
In terms of sound, except for the fact that there are no voices in Spanish (the texts are), we have nothing but praise: the music knows how to inspire tension or calm when needed and is very elaborate, while the sound effects mix moments of the afterlife with distortions and a “feeling of emptiness” when we control Antea. She sees things from the other plane…
Ah, in case you had any doubts: despite its paranormal development, it is not a game that is scary almost never. There is tension and bad vibes, but it is more oriented towards action/spectacle in that sense. However, there are quite a few top and surprising final bosses in that regard.
In conclusion, Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is another of those positive surprises that we hope will splash all of 2024 like it did in 2023. It is not the technical best of the best and the exploration parts sometimes become a little redundant, but it has something special that will make you immerse yourself in the story without giving it a second thought, that you feel it as your own. It has… spirit, it has spirituality.