Rune Factory Four

Farming has never been so fun.

I tend to try to save my money, and only buy games that I can get dirt-cheap. That said, one of my friends recommnded this game to me. It’s based on Harvest Moon, only in a fantasy world. You gather crops, get married to someone, and fight monsters. I was skeptical, then I tried it.

I got hooked. I got hooked BAAD. I’ve put in at least 20 hours into this game.

What really works, is that the game is essentially inspired by Zelda, with a mix of elements from roguelikes. The dungeons are random, with lots of items. LOOTS of items. They’re semi-randomized, as well, so you can at least be guaranteed that they’ll be a certain level, to keep balance, and you can know about what you’re getting. In fact, there is a little list of what items you get before each dungeon.

Gameplay consists of hitting enemies with your weapon, using a charged attack, or a special skill. What makes it work, is that special skills are not ridiculous expensive. You can spam them quite a bit, as long as you have food. And, there’s space in your inventory for plenty of food.

The basic gameplay works, but where it’s fun is the variety. You have short swords, long swords, hammers/axes, gloves, dual blades, and wands as weapons. Each one has different combos, and each one can be crafted. Which is where the fun comes in. Gathering ingredients to craft, discovering new recipes, buying recipe bread, crafting your own armor. It’s also well balanced, with the armor from the previous dungeon enough to get the ingredients for the next dungeon, and so on. This is where Rune Factory Frontiers failed, by the way.

Bosses have nice patterns, and well…everything works. Even on its own, with the farming removed, this is a fun little adventure game. With the farming, it’s a fun little adventure game, with a fun little crafting game tied in. My only complaint, is that a few of the cooking ingredients can’t be grown, only purchased, which is a shame. But, once the crafting starts…shops become unnecessary.

This is a game that can take up hours. But what makes it even better, is the story behind it is actually fun. There are three arcs to it. The first arc is figuring out what’s going on, the second arc is fighting the big bad, and the third arc is essentially wrap-up. The only problem I had with it, is that the second arc is a bit hard to trigger. After completing the first arc, the player has to ignore the teleportation system, and leave town by the main entrance. I always used the teleporter, so…oops.

What makes the story work, is it is rooted squarely in the characters. Even the Big Bad isn’t really treated as a major threat to the world, so much as, that he’s hurting one of your friends. Most of the plot twists are firmly rooted in the townsfolk, as well.

What really makes the game is the fun, quirky characters. Each townsperson has a unique personality, and the game is filled with events. The townsfolk talk amongst themselves constantly, and banter frequently. You can walk in on them having dinner with each other, help someone find a lost pair of glasses, discover more about a hidden past, and just have fun. I especially am fond of Amber and Dolce, a hyperactive butterfly and a gothy spirit medium. There’s also the narcoleptic maid…err…female butler. The lazy blacksmith, who hates getting iron as a gift. After all, he only needs iron if he’s working.

This game is just good, light fun. Don’t download it, though. It takes up a hefty amount of memory. It’s worth getting it in store. I’d rate it a solid 5/5. I just enjoyed it, and it’s inspired me to play the old ones.

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