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Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Review

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

Developer: Don’t Nod
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X (Reviewed), PlayStation 5
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $99.95 AUD – Available Here


When it comes to the developer Don’t Nod most people will think of their episodic narrative games with Life is Strange, Tell Me Why, and even Twin Mirror but few will remember that the very first game the company made is the ironically named Remember Me. Following this they released an underrated gem in the form of  Vampyr that showed the developer still had teeth when it  came to delivering a solid RPG alongside its narrative prowess. Now the team has returned with an action RPG focused around a pair of ghost slayers called “Banishers” and how far they might be willing to go to remain together in Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden. What results is a love story that is unlike any other that proves that Don’t Nod certainly knows how to write an engrossing tale but still struggles to deliver compelling gameplay alongside it.


The year is 1695 and a pair of Banishers, those skilled in dealing with ghosts and either helping them pass on or banishing them to the afterlife, have been summoned by an old friend to the shores of New Eden, Massachusetts to investigate a powerful haunting that is plaguing the new world settlement. The highly skilled Antea Duarte and her apprentice Red mac Raith arrive to find things in New Eden have grown far worse as they made their journey to the location as livestock is perishing, crops are dying, the people are plagued by nightmares, and even their own friend has ended up dead as a result of the curse. Upon investigating, the pair find themselves far over their heads as Antea sacrifices herself to save her apprentice, who it just so turns out is also her beloved. Even then, while Antea is slain by the powerful spirit, Red is sent plunging into the icy ocean below, saved by the whims of a passing witch.

Swept far away from New Eden, Red begins to try and figure out a way to return when he learns that Antea may be dead, but she is far from gone as her ghost has begun to haunt Red and will serve as his traveling companion, capable of using her knowledge as a Banisher and new supernatural abilities to their benefit but now that Antea has found herself as the very thing she is meant to slay it puts the pair in a troubling situation. While their ultimate goal is finding revenge against the powerful spirit cursing New Eden, the true question is what to do with Antea when everything is said and done. Will Red be willing to let the love of his life ascend into the afterlife or will the two follow a far darker route? For there is a dark ritual that allows a ghost to be resurrected but comes at a terrible cost of human life and, as Banishers, the pair find themselves uniquely suited for pursuing either path. How far will Red and Antea go for their love and will they be able to follow through with it? All while trying to uncover the secrets behind the curse of New Eden? These are the incredibly interesting and well-written questions that Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden tackles throughout its roughly thirty hour narrative.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden‘s best strength is the writing and character interactions as Don’t Nod continues to impress with their handling of relationships and creating intriguing storylines, though a lot of this is helped by how unique the setting itself is. Setting the game during early settlements of the “New World” and building its story around hauntings, ghosts, and the Banishers that seek to free the living from such curses is already an incredibly interesting concept and when you combine that with strong character writing, it creates a highly engaging narrative. The relationship between Red and Antea feels incredibly genuine even if players are joining their story long after they’ve fallen in love with one another. This is helped by the fact that the couple often discuss their pasts, their concerns, and more while players travel through the environment. These interactions help establish these characters as more than simply lovers through circumstance but also as troubled individuals that found hope with one another. 

Alongside Antea and Red’s wonderful relationship players will encounter a large number of other NPCs as well and while some are simple with only a bit of extra dialogue or provide a side-quest, there are others with far more interesting stories to uncover… those that are haunted. These settlers are actively being haunted by a spirit and it is up to the player to find out the reason why this is as, in most cases, the spirits linger and haunt their target because of unfinished business or in some cases something else entirely. These hauntings come in a wide variety of forms and happen to cover a surprisingly large number of topics, especially given the time period the game is set in. Unfortunately when it comes to solving these Hauntings things are far more straightforward to the point of simplicity. Players will gather highlighted clues in the form of notes and objects, travel to or summon the spirit doing the haunting to speak to it, and then finally when the Red and Antea come to the solution themselves, players will confront the haunted party and be given a choice. This choice comes with a number of strings attached and plays heavily into the finale of the game as Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden features five different endings depending on player choice.

Early in their mission for revenge, Red will swear an oath to Antea to either resurrect her or help her ascend and while players can choose to make subsequent choices however they wish, it will affect various bits of dialogue and play into the finale and these Haunting choices are where the oath comes into play. No matter what the victim of the Haunting has done or why they are being haunted, players will be given three options at the conclusion, either blame the living and kill them, punishing them for whatever act they committed and using their essence to contribute to Antea’s resurrection or ascend the haunting ghost to the afterlife in a peaceful manner or, if the player is feeling particularly brutal, banish the ghost to eternal suffering in the afterlife. Both of the latter options contribute to Antea’s ascent and while it is obvious that many players will simply want to follow their Oath when it comes to making these choices, the reality of the Hauntings are nuanced enough that players may want to question their final choice, especially given the outcomes of certain events that we won’t spoil here.

These Hauntings that players encounter throughout the game help make the main narrative all the stronger as many of these occur primarily due to the greater spirit’s influence on the land and the curse it brings. Between exploring the terrible trauma the settlers have suffered from the curse on their journey while also expanding on Red and Antea’s relationship and history make for a gripping tale and one that happens to feature some amazing twists near the end of the game as well, though it does suffer from some pacing issues from time to time, with the most egregious featuring heavy backtracking that even the game’s Quick Travel system does little to alleviate.


Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is described as a narrative driven action-RPG and that holds true for the most part since, as we said before, the game is at its best when players are steeped in learning about the world and its characters, uncovering the mysteries of the Hauntings plaguing NPCs and the grander haunting of New Eden itself. As mentioned though the actual Hauntings are mechanically simple as players are mostly following highlighted clues and paths with little actual “mystery” to be solved. Instead the bulk of the gameplay comes in the form of exploration and combat against the many random spirits that have risen up around the lands of New Eden and the endless amounts of possessed wildlife. The game is a pseudo open world as players can freely explore many locations and can use campfire’s as quick travel points, which is quite useful as there are often areas players cannot access early in the game while Antea is still weak. That being said, there is generally only one direct path through most locations with side-paths simply offering useful rewards, enemy challenges that provide permanent stat boosts, equipment, upgrade materials, etc.

As players explore they will encounter all manner of undead spirits in various forms that players will take down by mixing up light and heavy attacks, blocking, dodging, and even parrying with Red eventually gaining access to a single-shot rifle with time-period appropriate reload time. What changes up the combat the most though is the fact that Red is never fighting alone, he has Antea always by his side. While Red battles with his sword Antea’s ghost form is more up close and personal, using punches to dispose of enemies and players can swap between these two with a single button press. In fact, with appropriate upgrades, there are even certain attacks that players can utilize by properly timing their character swaps. Besides changing up the feeling of fights, the two characters have their own strengths against certain foes. Surprisingly, Red’s sword deals far more damage to the spectral spirits while Antea’s fists deal extra damage to the possessed bodies of creatures and the undead. Antea, throughout the game, gains access to additional powers as well that give he the ability to zip towards enemies and deliver a powerful blow or blast them away, both of which come into play as traversal abilities as well. Even while traveling around players will regularly want to swap to Antea as her ghost form allows her to see the supernatural side of things with ease. This means she can see and unlock hidden chests, notes, and more that Red cannot see.

Throughout their travels players will gain various pieces of equipment that can be upgraded for enhanced effect as well as level up, using the game’s limited skill tree to expand on Red and Antea’s capabilities though it is nice to note that these can be reset at any time should players find themselves not meshing with a certain skill. Unfortunately the combat itself is rarely engaging enough to actually require optimization as the fights are quite simple, with even most bosses having the most standard mechanics around including giving players waves of “grunt” enemies to face off against between health segments. The ability to swap between Red and Antea is an interesting combat mechanic that feels smooth but the rest of the combat can feel rather stiff, especially when players use one of the few special skills available to them in a fight. It is also worth noting that enemy variety is absolutely awful throughout the game as players will regularly find themselves fighting the same foes over and over again with only a few unique bosses standing out as true combat highlights in a game where combat becomes repetitive despite offering new options as players progress. 

Audio & Visuals

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden features some solid character designs, with Red and Antea being both highly detailed and unique looking. In fact any of the main NPCs that characters interact with have been given plenty of attention to detail, including the ghosts that players speak with in Hauntings. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the ghosts and undead players battle against as there are some unique designs here, especially in the form of bosses, but many of them grow to be incredibly repetitive as enemy variety is sorely lacking. Thankfully the world itself is designed well enough with solid variety during exploration to keep things feeling fresh and potentially spooky depending on the location.

It must be said that the voice actors for both Antea and Red have really done an excellent job here as their performances really help give their interactions some extra impact. The rest of the voice cast handles their roles well, with some surprisingly intense performances coming from the ghosts and characters in the Hauntings. The soundtrack is fairly standard for a game such as this but doesn’t really impress much outside of a few tracks that play during more emotional final scenes.


Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden tells an emotional and endearing story of love and how far someone might be willing to go to be back with their beloved all while building a solid mystery about the true nature of the hauntings in New Eden but unfortunately it stumbles in the gameplay department. The combat, while unique in its method of swapping between Red and Antea in fights, grows repetitive due to low enemy variety and having players more involved in solving the actual mysteries would make them feel a bit more impactful. These issues haunt a game with an otherwise wonderfully written storyline that shows that Don’t Nod still needs some work outside their writing department.

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Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden tells a wonderfully written and emotionally gripping story that is hampered by repetitive enemy encounters and stale combat.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden </i>tells a wonderfully written and emotionally gripping story that is hampered by repetitive enemy encounters and stale combat.Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Review