Would you be willing to put your own needs over your morale compass to save the one you love? Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden asks that question across its emotional narrative, with players left to determine the fate of lingering spirits and how they will spend eternity. It also just so happens to be a captivating adventure that blends together entertaining combat, exploration, and investigative elements, with the game standing out as one of the first surprise hits of 2024.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Taking place in the year 1695, Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden puts players in the roles of Red mac Raith and Antea Duarte, a pair of Banishers whose specialised role sees them travelling across the land and dealing with the ghostly spirits that remain bound to it. This is typically done through one of two ways: through banishment, which will see them aggressively doomed to torment in a void, or through ascension, which sees their souls freed of their suffering and granted serenity. Their judgement will typically depend on the case that they’re dealing with at the time, though sometimes, things are taken out of their own hands.

This is certainly the case in the game’s opening, which see the duo travelling to New Eden in order to deal with a particularly malevolent threat that is cursing the townsfolk. The case turns into a disaster fast, with Antea dying at the hands of the spirit and Red thrown through a window into the sea. Barely surviving, the loss of his partner takes a toll on Red… if only he lived in a world of ghosts, right? Of course, Antea’s spirit remains with Red thanks to their deep emotional connection, and whilst he knows he will eventually have to decide how he will deal with her afterlife presence, he needs her help to avenge her death first.

As you might expect from DONTNOD Entertainment, Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden tells an emotional story that’ll grip you in with its numerous plot threads that are rarely ‘black or white’ in their standing. Players face moral dilemma after moral dilemma, with the decisions they make when dealing with ghosts not only shaping the lives of those affected by them, but also determining the fate that will ultimately befall Antea. Do you do the right thing and give justice to the ghosts you encounter? Or do you follow your heart and do everything you can to bring Antea back to you? With each banishment or ascension you perform bringing with it its own consequences, the narrative is constantly captivating and will leave players questioning their actions.

“Players face moral dilemma after moral dilemma, with the decisions they make when dealing with ghosts not only shaping the lives of those affected by them, but also determining the fate that will ultimately befall Antea.”

Fortunately, the game allows you to perform your own investigation in each ghostly case before you make any rash decisions, with players able to study their surroundings for clues, question any characters who are involved, and determine the motivations behind the haunting. Whilst this process is never overly complicated, I did feel like a ghost-hunting Sherlock Holmes with my sleuthing, whilst the enticing storytelling ensures each case is never straightforward and brings with them their own little twists and turns. Of course, it’s up to you to determine the fate of those involved in the case, and you won’t necessarily be punished for the decision you make – even IF it might have been skewed by selfish reasoning. They will determine how events ultimately unfold though, so don’t be surprised to find yourself making decisions you might not necessarily agree with…

In-between your investigations, you’ll also spend a lot of time battling the vicious creatures that roam across the land. Fortunately, both Red and Antea are a dab hand in combat, with Red able to attack from up-close and afar with his sword and rifle combo, and Antea able to unleash her spectral abilities up-close as she zips across her surroundings with ease. You can switch between each character on the fly too, meaning you can use their abilities in cohesion to string together powerful combinations of moves that embrace the strengths of each character. With variety found in their move sets (as well as plenty of cool new abilities to unlock as you progress through the game’s skill tree), there’s a lot of depth to be found in combat that helps ensure that it remains fun even as you hit the game’s later hours.

The only problem? It could be a bit too easy. I didn’t die once during my time playing the game, whilst the abilities you unlock can make most enemies a piece of cake to handle after you’ve sunk a few hours in. You’ll constantly find new equipment that’ll boost your stats and grant you varying passive assists too, with the right combination of buffs making Red and Antea an almost unstoppable force. Whilst I’d like to think this is due to the fact that I’m an expert gamer and brilliant at everything (which I am), it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that it might just be that the game’s difficulty could be balanced better to keep the player challenged.

Check out some screenshots down below:

There’s also a focus on exploration, with plenty to see and discover across Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden’s world. This is where Antea really shines, with her able to use special skills to uncover items or open up pathways for Red, with the game often embracing a Metroidvania-like approach where certain areas won’t be accessible until you have the right ability. Fortunately, the world isn’t overly complex in design nor is it especially large, so backtracking in these instances never feels like a burden. The wonderful sights of the world make it worthwhile too, with plenty of environmental storytelling showcasing some of the darker secrets that lurk within. It’s enticing stuff, and with plenty of collectibles to find that’ll boost your capabilities or expand upon the lore, it certainly feels worthwhile taking the time to scour your surroundings.

And the side quests? They’re ALWAYS worth exploring, with these often highlighting just how dark the world of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden can really be. Nothing ever felt like filler, with each playing into the strengths of the storytelling perfectly. They really complement the explorative aspects of the game and feel like a pivotal part of the experience that shouldn’t be ignored – especially if you want to fully embrace the role of a Banisher in-game.

I had a really good time with Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, but there were a few little flaws that I noticed as I played. The enemy variety was a bit limited for example, so you can expect to face a lot of the same sort of encounters over and over again. I did note that the game could be a bit on the easy side, but this could also be owed to the fact that I got so used to fighting the same enemies that I always knew how to handle them. The frame rate could be a little sketchy at times too, especially on the game’s Quality Mode which felt like it suffered more drops. Playing on Performance Mode isn’t perfect either, but it’s definitely the most consistent way to play. Everything still looks really pretty in the mode too, so you won’t feel like you’re losing too much on the visual front.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Review

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden blends together captivating storytelling and compelling gameplay mechanics into one heck of an enjoyable experience, with the pacing of the adventure balancing out its combat, explorative, and investigative elements perfectly. Best of all? It feels unique, with your role as a Banisher making for plenty of morale dilemmas that’ll keep players hooked in until the very end.

It could be a bit guilty of being on the easy side whilst the frame rate hitches were a little bit annoying, but neither issue stopped me from having a really good time with the game. Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden might not have been on everyone’s radar, but it stands out as one of the early surprise hits on 2024.

Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PC
Website: https://www.focus-entmt.com/en/games/banishers-ghosts-of-new-eden