The Banner Saga is not what you would expect. Actually I didn't really know what to expect. I just heard that it was good and I was intrigued by its art work, but I really didn't know anything about the gameplay and I hadn't read any reviews.
The Banner Saga is old school. It reminds me of playing Heroes of Might and Magic, the old games, where you get the story in scrollable text on the screen that you're supposed to read. There are not many games around today that makes you "read". Did you even know that gamers can read?
Just like HoMM you have your heroes and your army, and you travel from place to place to unravel the story. The main difference here is that you don't control the traveling or the destination. You get to make choices along the way, but that's it.
I don't think this makes it a bad game, the game play is more focused around the choices that you make than your ability to navigate a map.
Once and a while you need to battle. You then take your heroes out on the battlefield and it is exactly as HoMM. Your heroes level by killing enemies, becomes stronger so they can kill even more enemies.
The story keeps my interest up, because it is very well written. The battles becomes a bit repetitive around the end. I would love to see my heroes gain new abilities that would change my gameplay, instead I keep doing the same strategy over and over because it just works.
This is a very good game, and I love to get the sequel, but it is not a game I'm going to play again. If you've done it once then you have pretty much experienced it all.