Things to Know Before Playing Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
To me, when I say a game is a 10/10, it's a huge deal. Although I love all sorts of games, I do hold some closer to my heart... which is why it feels insane for me to say that Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is probably my personal Game of the Year already; I just love it that much! If you're also tempted to get this narrative-driven adventure by DON'T NOD and Focus Entertainment, then let me tell you about a few things you might want to know before you do! Take this as a trigger warning and term glossary for your adventure. Also consider checking out our review, which you can find here!
Some Backstory First…
Like I said before, Banishers is one of my favourite games for sure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some niggles here and there. One of them is that the beginning feels a tad rushed, as I could’ve used some more backstory in order to really grasp the situation.
In order to save you from that same problem, let me give you some context! Our protagonists are called to New Eden by their friend Charles Davenport, who isn’t just the town’s priest but also Antea Duarte’s mentor. This crucial piece of information isn’t readily obvious at first, but it’s very important in order to set the tone and gravity, particularly because he taught her all she knows about being a banisher. Lastly, I didn’t realise that the entirety of New Eden is haunted, not just one area or building, and to make matters worse, the couple is late for their arrival. This enough should help you grasp their relationship and the severity of the situation!
Keep the Date in Mind!
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden does a phenomenal job at letting you tackle how much information or lore you want to take in. If you just go with the flow of the game, the narrative will teach you everything important... but there's a lot of stuff in the notes you find scattered.
While I really don't like this way of communicating the story to the players, DON’T NOD did a great job at keeping them short but informative! I especially appreciated that it’s not written in notes addressing people, as I didn’t have to keep in mind names or get nervous about missing any of them. Truth be told, I genuinely looked forward to finding diaries and letters in Banishers! So, if this sounds like something you'll be doing, then I suggest you keep in mind the date of the game so you can read them without having to break immersion by having to go check what year it is! For reference, the game starts June 1695.
Banishment vs Ascension
Starting off the game, you already know that Antea and Red are banishers, and you can assume that they're basically like the Ghostbusters or Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural. You wouldn't be wrong! Except in this narrative, there are two ways — that we know of — to deal with ghosts: banishing them or ascending them.
This isn't explained until a bit later, but banishment basically kills the ghost (though they word it as “dooming them to the void”), and it's quite an aggressive process. If you choose to ascend them, it’s much more peaceful, as it liberates them and grants them serenity… which means you basically help them move on. The biggest difference (according to what I understood from Antea's dialogue) is that banishing stops them from ever resurfacing again.
Ghosts Feed Off the Living
Another important tidbit of information that'll help you grasp the narrative is that ghosts don't just hang around haunting people and trying to scare them from the corner of their eyes like in scary movies — they also feed off the living's essence! And the worst part is that by doing that, they eventually drive people insane. This is why it's so important to Antea to banish them so they don't return and haunt their loved ones.
It's Chock-full of Heavy Themes
Now we're getting into the nitty gritty part; consider this your trigger warning for the narrative. Although the developers warn you at the beginning that their story tries to stay true to our history — basically a long way of saying there'll be sexism, racism, prejudice, and heavy religious themes — they're not the only sensitive subjects you'll encounter.
Of course, there's no way I can easily explain what sort of things you'll be facing without risking ruining some of the quest endings, so only read the following if you don't mind mild spoilers. Throughout the story, you'll find all sorts of horrific situations that'll expose Red and Antea to things such as marital abuse, suicide, cannibalism, and implied animal abuse... and that's just in the first area.
I think you're set to go! With this information, you'll hopefully have an even easier time understanding what you're getting into and the heaviness of the plot.