Banishers: Ghosts Of New Eden- PS5 Review

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Banishers: Ghosts Of New Eden is a choice-centered action RPG developed by DONTNOD, creators of Life is Strange and more recently, Vampyr. And published by Focus Home, I mean Focus Entertainment, sorry, I meant PulluP Entertainment, sorry I mea- they’ve changed their name 3 more times since I started this review.

Bae Or Bay?

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden released on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S on the 13th of February 2024. After leaving the life is strange series in the hands of developer Deck-Nine, DONTNOD have moved onto making more original games like JUSANT, Twin Mirror, Harmony, and now Banishers. Does this pivot pay off?


There will be minor spoilers for the first hour or so of the game here, so if you’d like to go in completely blind, best to leave now.

Banishers starts with a premise that hooks players from the get-go, with a promise. Taking what most games would reserve as a final choice, sacrifice the many to save the few you love, or vice versa, but giving players this choice at the start of the game, in the form of a promise to your partner, Antea. This choice echos the final choice of DONTNOD’s own life is strange, but Banishers delivers it in such a unique way I can’t help but rave about it. Now, whether you honor that promise and the consequences, are completely up to you.

the main character red mac wraith swearing an oath to his partner antea, to either acend or resurrect her.
An oath

You play as Arthur Morgan lookalike, Red mac Wraith alongside his romantic partner and fellow banisher, Antea Duarte. After a fight with a nightmare goes wrong, their story takes a tragic turn where Red ends up heavily injured and Antea, a ghost herself.

A job fit for a banisher

As a banisher, you’re tasked with banishing or ascending the ghosts you encounter, banishing being a forceful way to remove a ghost, and ascend being the peaceful route.

After Antea becomes a ghost, a third option is presented, blame a human and take their life essence to help Antea’s revival ritual. This forms the central loop of Ghosts of New Eden, you’ll be trying to recover Antea’s body in New Eden and in your travels to reach it, come across many characters with their own gripping stories and struggles with the haunting ghosts.

This is an excellent loop owing to the stellar writing, writing that makes me want to finish every ghost case, selecting every optional dialogue choice along the way, whether it’s necessary to the story or not. Not only do I care about the story of Red and Antea, but I also learned to love these side characters and their problems. Despite the brevity of some appearances, I still found myself thinking of their tales and what would have happened had I chosen differently.

the main character red mac wraith looking at the camera with a beast behind him. he is saying 'it's behind me, isn't it?'
The writing isn’t stellar all the time…

The bold premise shines through in the impactful decision-making right from the start. Choosing whether to banish or ascend the ghosts sets the tone for how players will interact with the characters they encounter throughout the game. This presents players with a moral dilemma, as they must weigh the consequences of their actions against the backdrop of their initial promise. Once a decision is made, there’s a sense of accountability, as going back on that would betray the promise players make at the start.


Unfortunately, the combat in Banishers left a lot to be desired. I started on the hard difficulty, and after around 10 hours of gameplay, lowered it to medium due to just how bored and disengaged I was during combat. There’s a limited number of enemy types, and each combat encounter felt a monotonous repetition of the same attacks and combos where occasionally an enemy would attack once after being whaled upon, meaning all strategy comes down to is pressing dodge when an enemy occasionally attacks.

Banishers takes the concept of “more is better” during the combat and adds quite a lot of systems, none of which ever spiced up combat enough for me to have fun. The camera angle doesn’t help this, typically being too zoomed in to see attacks off-screen, thankfully there’s a system in place to see which direction you’re being attacked from, but it certainly makes combat look more dull. On top of that, I found myself fighting the lock-on system during encounters, with the game opting to lock onto the enemy in the distance rather than one right in front of me.

There are a few systems that were enjoyable at first, like how Antea will do more damage to certain enemy types, but this adds no more strategy than a button press. Or the fact that some enemies will try to take control of a body, meaning you’ll have to switch priority to them.


The player character squeezing through a crevise
Expect a lot of these…

Banishers takes a page from the God Of War (2018) book, offering a semi-open world approach to exploration, with story exploration usually consisting of going slightly off the beaten path. This means yes, expect to be squeezing through small gaps a lot. Outside of collectibles and trophies though, I got tired of exploration due to the rewards not being worth it. The majority of the time my exploration would be rewarded with a random assortment of materials to upgrade gear, instead of gear itself.

Many side cases would often take me to these areas organically anyway, making straying away from the beaten path during main story missions not that enticing or worth it.

Graphics and audio

three characters on a boat traversing the lands.
A pretty scene

There’s that AA jank you’d usually expect with a game like this. While some animations transition seamlessly, others flow questionably. The same goes for the graphics too. Occasionally I’d stop in awe at just how beautiful an area looked, while other times I wouldn’t bat an eye for the environmental design. Voice acting was all around superb, with even the smallest roles having actors that put it all into what they have. This is helped by the solid writing.


confirmation that you have completed an open world activity showing your loot and confirmation that you have increased attributes
An Open World Activity

The game will take the average player around 25-30 hours to beat the main campaign, and quite a while longer for completionists. But this will vary depending on just how much of the combat you can tolerate to get through the excellent main and side stories, which are unquestionably worth it. I’d highly recommend seeing if the combat clicks with you on a standard difficulty, and decide then whether you’d like to lower it to make combat encounters go by faster or not.

Final Thoughts

I adore the story of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden. The characters have such distinct, realized personalities that made me love or hate them. While I’ll always cherish the goofy-serious writing of Life Is Strange, it’s hard to deny this is DON’T NOD’s strongest writing exhibit yet.

Combat is dull and had me rolling my eyes every time I came across another forced encounter, with only a few of the fights being interesting. No matter how many features and mechanics were introduced, it still felt clunky and frustrating due to the camera controls, repetitive animations, and almost no enemy variety. Thankfully, the compelling narrative shines through, carrying the game along and making me a little more tolerable of the combat. Due to this, I’m awarding Banishers: Ghosts Of New Eden, the Silver Thumb Culture Award. For fans of story games, this is absolutely a must-play if you can overlook its gameplay shortcomings.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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