Since I now have my own gaming unit, of course I wouldn’t pass up the chance to get my hands on Rune Factory 4.
From XSeed Games and Marvelous Entertainment, Rune Factory 4 is the fourth (obviously) installment in the Rune Factory franchise. Although nothing really changed in the overall gameplay, there are still some bits and pieces of new material that gamers–both old and new ones–can expect.
THE STORY: As in all the other RF games, your character starts out–you know how it goes–suffering from amnesia. Character falls off from an airship, crashes clean through the roof of Ventuswill, the wind dragon’s abode. Through a series of events, you become the prince/princess (depends on whether you pick a male or a female) who needs to till some farm. Why? Because we can’t have people think that royalties are lazy bums.
THE VISUALS: Not very far off from the old games but much improvement when it comes to the wardrobe department. Gone are the dull brown/earth colors of the old games, which were now replaced by more colorful threads.
Combat movements are as fluid as the 3DS can provide–no clunky or awkward, generally good considering the small engine. Although there are some faulty parts like fish swimming on land, but those are easily forgivable.
THE SOUND: Nostalgic. Signature Rune Factory tunes. What little voice acting present were done beautifully.
THE GAMEPLAY: A new feature in the game is something I’d like to call “A Very Long Engagement”. Unlike the previous games, RF4 allows you to practice polygamy by giving you the opportunity to date multiple bachelors/bachelorettes at the same time–provided that they didn’t reject you during your confession. I don’t really know if this is good or bad, or maybe some kind of trial to test the player’s principles, but it does provide a kind of thrill in some ways:
1. It allows you to *ahem* test the waters. Well, you never really get to know people unless you’re with them and try to understand them, and this set-up gives you the opportunity to do just that. Like being in a semi-permanent getting-to-know-each-other stage. And with NPCs.
2. It provides some sort of ego trip. My sister, for one, is dating multiple guys in-game. And she gets all shrilly every time all the guys try to ask her out. She then mulls over the dilemma like they were living, breathing guys.
Another plus: town improvements. As royalty, it is your duty to develop your fief, kingdom, etc. Not to mention bring in tourists. While you mind your farm. And your shop (which you’ll get later on). Talk about being busy.
As your improve the town, your rank as a royal goes up, which in turn brings in more tourists. This will also open up other improvement options for you. Orders (as these are called) are implemented at the cost of Prince Points which you get through completing quests and defeating enemies.
THE VERDICT: Of course, you’d waste hours and hours of game time, what with two story arcs, quests, and various skills to develop. The game’s a nice mix of RPG, otome, and simulation that you’d never run out of things to do. Plus, as a stand-alone game, it wouldn’t be a problem for new players even if they haven’t played the old games.
On a rather sad note, some fairly recent news on game developer Neverland.