The Banner Saga 2 is the second part of a planned trilogy and continues directly after the ending of The Banner Saga: the player continues the journey with the Viking refugee track. The game either continues with a saved game or with pre-set conditions and a short introduction movie about the first game. Like the predecessor, the game consists of two separate: dialogue sequences and combat. During the first, the player has to make strategic decisions how to deal with certain situations. Those have short- and long-term consequences and may even lead to the loss of main characters. While there are more voiced cutscenes in this installment, the majority of the dialogue has to be read.
Combat uses the classic turn-based principle: each character can move and perform one additional action per turn. Each character has to balance armor points (the more armor, the less likely to be hit), life points (the more life points, the more attack power) and willpower (used for a bigger movement ratio or using special abilities). Each time a character attacks, he/she can make a choice if to reduce armor or life. Some of the changes regarding this part include more varied enemies and winning conditions as well as mechanical detail changes and interactive elements on the game field. Won battles reward reputation which is used for character level-ups which improves their statistics and awards more special abilities. However, reputation is also required to buy supplies (civilians also collect some) which are vital to the survival of the caravan.
Additionally the game features a survival mode which is played independently from the campaign. The player leads a party of six freely chosen characters into an endless series of battles. Victories earn the resources to upgrade characters and replace fallen heroes.