Farming on another level!
Rune Factory 4 is a return to the beloved Harvest Moon spin off series. Combining the addictive farming and romance aspects with fast paced hack and slash combat, Rune Factory manages to be the most well polished farming games on the 3DS.
Taking place in a fantasy world, you play as a young boy or girl who loses their memory and, after giving a dragon a verbal beat down, must take the role of a towns’ local hero to bring it back to its former glory and solve the issues that plague the land. While the story keeps to the typical Rune Factory formula, it’s the characters that keep things interesting, being both funny and caring, you quickly grow attached to the inhabitants of the small town you call home.
When not talking or flirting with everyone you lay your wild eyes on, your job is to clean up and look after the local farm given to you by the local dragon. You jump right in with a load of turnips and a watering can to make a quick bit of cash, but it’s not long before you find yourself building sheds and taking care of fantasy versions of typical Harvest Moons animals. Best of all, you can tame and ride Sky Fish! I didn’t know I need this in a game until now.
Once you’ve had enough ploughing you can set out into the world to explore and fight monsters. At first the game shows little depth with the combat, but as you level up and your character “remembers” how to perform complex moves, you can begin to kick ass all over the shop. Dashing through enemies and throwing them into the air to be rewarded with cabbage seeds is a strangely rewarding affair, and had me cheering time and time again.
What’s a little disappointing is the pacing of the game. The opening drags on for far too long, and it takes a fair amount of time for the farming and combat to get as intense as other Rune Factory games (I like my farming to be as intense as possible). This makes way for newcomers to find their footing in the genre, but it would be nice if the game offered to give players familiar to the genre the ability to get a few higher level farming goods.
A strange glitch happened during my time with the game. Whenever I would talk to someone after returning from the woods, we would finish our conversation and then they would run as fast as they could to the hot spring. They don’t actually enter the hot spring itself, but just stood in the lobby and told me that their shop was closed for the day, even though it was the midday. I don’t know what it was all about, but I thought it was a funny event that kept me laughing while I played.
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of fun I had with Rune Factory 4. What appeared to be another cut and paste Rune Factory game turned out to be the most detailed and advanced game in the series. If you like planning seeds, slicing monsters and keeping a bisexual harem, Rune Factory 4 is bound to give you the fix you crave.
Should you play Rune Factory 4?
Thanks to Decibel PR for supplying a review code