Rune Factory 4 Review: Harvest Moon’s Lovechild with Final Fantasy?

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Imagine a game similar to Harvest Moon and Final Fantasy combined; a game with farming AND fighting. Rune Factory 4 makes its reappearance with vivid characters, the story of amnesia once again, and a troubling plot. For once, you can also play as a female character, meaning bachelors are available and kids can be made.

Rune Factory 4 continues XSEED’s development of the series, with a totally refreshing take on the familiar storyline. Starting out, you’re on a ship delivering a blue stone; however in due time, guards appear and threaten to end you when one accidentally knocks you off the ship.

Once this catastrophe happens, you have already fallen in the sky, onto a main character, Ventuswill, and you discover you have amnesia. As weird as it sounds, Ventuswill and another main character, Volkanon, (ironic because his personality is like a volcano) seem to believe you are the prince/princess that was on his/her way to the town.

With the kooky introduction the game delivers enough to keep you interested. Your objective is to find the mystery behind the dungeons and why the blue stone is so important alongside this you have farming, monster-taming, and winning over the love of bachelors/bachelorettes to keep you occupied.

The graphics may not be the most focused, but the colors bring the story together, along with the characters. Overall though they weren’t a problem for me, the game was still fun amongst the messy graphics. I personally believe the depth in the color palette made the game more fun to play and although it’s not focused or sharp, the color and contrast had the scope to create depth.

The sound effects of fighting, and the characters are pleasing enough. Dungeons in the game are seasonal and each dungeon sounded like the season it was supposed to, alongside with how it was supposed to look. Also, each season has different daytime/nighttime music to appeal to it. Another nice little feature is the music can be switched to other games in the Rune Factory series.

The disparate characters include a girl that is always sleeping, Clorica, and a girl named Illuminata, which her name just sounds too close to ‘illuminati’. The characters that are rescued from being monsters are the ones that are the most odd for one is a bit too young to marry and one is half-horse, who happens to love to receive carrots as a gift.

The majority of the story includes farming, shipping goods, mining, fishing, gaining friends/partners, monster-taming, crafting, smithing, cooking, and fighting. The most fun part of the game is when you realize you can date all of the guys/girls in town at once and be the local ‘slut’ when they find out your bedroom habits. 

The fighting is as simple case of spamming a few buttons, something that i’m quite grateful for. There are also spells you can equip or weapon masteries that allow you to improve your fighting to destroy a boss or enemy quicker. At the end of the game, you can fight bosses you’ve already fought and obtain the rare items they may drop.. With this you can go on to create higher-level equipment and weapons.

The strongest characters in the game, for fighting, are the monsters that return to their human form throughout the story. I recommend using dual blades, the dual blade attack called ‘storm’, a healing spell, a trusty ally (anyone you decide to level up), and a monster, preferably a mage so you can be all the melee. Fighting just includes spamming and dodging, nothing that’s ever complicated but is still totally satisfying. Farming, mining, fishing, and getting married are all optional, but add to your level and experience of the game. You may regret not trying to level all of your skills up, for combat level increases with level increase. 

Another great Rune Factory game in the series, the additional fact that you can play as a female makes the game more open to opportunity with relationships and more representative of a more realistic demographic. In a handheld device it’s really refreshing to have a wide range of activities to take part in, making this a game I would definitely recommend you to play if you find the time.

Rune Factory 4 (3DS) Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sound - 10/10
    10/10
  • Story Development - 8/10
    8/10

Summary

This is one of the most adventurous games I’ve played, I really liked it; however, I understand why someone may not like below par graphics or how easy it is to get side-tracked. It includes a plot twists along the way; which makes it one worth seeing and playing through. Once you've progressed enough, you become emotionally attached to the characters and the story branches out into new arcs that you can complete for extra perks, which adds some replay value.

8.5/10
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Emmaline Shettel1 Posts

<p>I am in my senior year of high school and an aspiring video game journalist. I mostly own older systems and games. My favorite games are the kiddish ones such as Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon.</p>

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