Review by Link258
"A Fantasy Harvest Moon... Awesome!!!"
As the name of the game implies, Rune Factory is a fantasy themed Harvest Moon game. for those of you who don't know what Harvest Moon is, Harvest Moon is a farm simulator game series. Typically in Harvest Moon, you go about growing crops, raising animals, and making friends with the town folks. You even get to woo and marry one of the bachelorettes in the game, and most of the time, have a kid! sounds fun, huh? well, it is. And imagine all of this, with the addition of a fantasy, storm-a-dungeon-and-kick-monster-butt element. It sounds fun, and is fun!!
Story 8/10 - In my opinion, the story in this game is greatly improved over that in the typical Harvest Moon. Generally, you come to inherit you passed father's farm. It's run over with weeds, and you're expected to bring life to it. that's it. Sure you learn a little about characters in some festivals, but it can hardly be called story. Rune factory, however has an actual plot line. You start out as a starving boy named Raguna(default) who has amnesia and comes crawling across a woman named Mist. She helps by giving him some food, and offering him a place to stay on her farm. After killing the first monster in your field with a hoe, the real game starts. Really, the town might seem boring at first, but after unlocking the first cave that you can go fight monsters at, the story starts. All of the towns people take note of your accomplishments, and actually have new things to say as the as you do more to advance the story. Also, each character has their own unique back stories. I know that this is common amongst Harvest moon Games, but I thought that I should mention this, anyways. My only issue with the story is that it is somewhat repetitive. Every time you get a new cave, Mist will say "wow! you got a pass to____!! you're awesome!!" and every time you defeat a boss, the nurse Lara will say something along the lines of " you need to stop exploring or else you'll get yourself killed!!" with a little frown. But, you can only do so much with a game I suppose. Plus, this wasn't supposed to be an epic Zelda storyline, anyways.
Gameplay 7/10 - The controls for this game are pretty standard for a Harvest Moon game. You can assign weapons and tools to the B button, spell books to X, and all of the other items are handled with A. There are easy short cuts to rotate through your inventory, or you can see it all on the start menu. Not to drone on about all of the controls, they are fairly easy to pick up, and are not annoying to use. The only thing is that, in my opinion, the touch screen is inconvenient to use, but that's just me. Okay, now for difficulty. Now this is the only major thing that I have a major problem with in the game. The combat system and overall difficulty of the game as an RPG is overall easy. First off, in a cave, if you lose all of your HP, then you die and go back to your last save spot. This is easy to avoid as there are save spots throughout the cave. Usually, you only die at bosses. Also, it was made way too easy in this game to be able to run into any random room that you choose, and take out at least one of the machines in it with out having to fight any monsters. The machines, by the way, are what spawn the monsters. To stop the monster flow, you must destroy the machines that they are coming out of. And since you can pretty much just run in and destroy the machines, it really has little challenge. Unless there are more than one machine in a room, in which you will have to actually deal with a monster or two that is horrible at dodging attacks, and can hardly deal any damage at all. What's annoying, though, is that all of the monsters that actually have attacks that hit, are usually those that infect you with a special condition. There are four, and the most common are poison(drains HP) and Seal(prevents you from using magic). So every time a monster hits you, there's a likely chance that you will contract a seal, and not be able to warp out of the cave if you need to. But, usually (with the exception of the bees) their attacks are usually easy enough to dodge, and you can usually make it out in good health.
Graphics 6/10 - Ok, now for graphics. They are ok. The characters and monsters in this game kinda scared me to look at for the first couple of minutes. They have stick legs, and look very ugly up close( when naming something) or when they walk. At least you can tell one character apart from the next. I personally love the character designs in this game when you are talking. I love anime, and to see it in Harvest Moon is awesome. All of the characters have cool outfits, and none of them are too similar. As for the backgrounds, they are good, but could have been better. At first they look awesome, but after awhile of playing, you get sick of seeing the same three types of flowers on every screen. Also, in the dungeons, the back ground is similar in all of them, with slight differences such as color, or effects (lava, water, ice, etc.). It doesn't distract form the game, though, and is not horrible. You just wouldn't sit there staring at it for hours.
Sound 7/10 - I personally like the music that goes with this game. It fits the fantasy theme well. I can see why people can see that it's annoying, because the same song will play in a certain are until you move into a different area with a different song. But that is honestly how it is in most games. And if you have a problem with it, then grab your MP3. There is also a anime clip at the beginning that is fun to watch, with an iffy song that plays through it. I like to listen to the song some times, but after a while, you'll most likely want to just skip through it when you turn the game on.
Replayability 9/10 - As with any Harvest Moon game, there is plenty of replay ability. I mean, sure you can beat the main story, but the game goes on forever in game years, and if you want to, you can always just pick this game up and grow a batch of radishes at any time. Also, for completionists, there is a lot in this game to get. There are a ton of monsters, a good share of spell books, several food dishes to make, lots of weapons to craft, medicine to blend, etc. in short, it will take quite a bit of time to complete. I forgot to mention that there are 11 possible brides in this game to try and marry if you do so choose to reset your game. So, yeah, I think I got my point across.
Final Recommendation - Rune Factory is a great game. Now it is a bit old and may be a challenge to find in stores, but if you find it, I would highly suggest that you get this game. If nothing else, you may want to wait until Rune Factory 2 comes out (this is written Oct. 13, 2008). I'm sure that it will be an excellent game also. This review is being written because I am excited for the new release, and picked my old game up to play again. That again for the replay ability =).
Overall Review- 8/10 (not an average)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/14/08
Game Release: Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (US, 08/14/07)
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