18 April 2018 | benjaminburt
Rune Factory Steps Up
This is what I expect from a sequel. Course-correct from the mistakes made in the first, but keep its flavor and spirit.
The appeal of the Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games is that the game gives you freedom of choice. Naturally, most paths lead to you getting rich, but you get to pursue that as you wish: farming, fishing, mining, raising animals, fighting monsters, foraging. No matter how you want to play it, the game rewards you with a feeling of accomplishment.
The game course-corrects from many mistakes of its predecessor. The NPC are given more character through their weekly schedules, unique dialogue in different locations, and the bulletin board requests. The RP system is fixed and nowhere near as restrictive. The combat is better, with new weapon-oriented magic attacks. The weakest point of Rune Factory, marriage and child-bearing, becomes a focal point in this game. Unlike all other entries to the series, this game has a 'second generation', where after you marry, the other bachelors and bachelorettes marry and have families of their own. I love this, it makes the town feel more alive beyond your player's actions.
Of course, this is by no means a perfect game. Forging, Crafting, and Cooking, and even the more challenging combat are saved until later in the game. The combat often amounts to button-mashing. The final dungeon is infuriatingly time-consuming, while the final boss is kind of anticlimactic. This type of game in general is not for all players. It's a much more laid-back experience, where much of the accomplishment is felt in patience and long-term success.
As much as I like this game, I like its sequel even more.