By James Page
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Release Date: 10/01/2013
System: Nintendo 3DS
Player’s Page: Rune Factory 4
Graphics: 3.5 out of 4.0
Game Play: 3.5 out of 4.0
Personal: 2.0 out of 2.0
Total Score: 9.0 out of 10.0
High up in the sky a lone figure races towards the far away land of Selphia. He accelerates his airship due to the urgency of the mission he has chosen to undertake. He must deliver a vital package to the divine protector of a peaceful land. However, danger lurks in the shadows as a couple of soldiers are dead set on seeing the mission end in failure.
A vicious fight ensues as the soldiers leap forward with murderous intent. The fight ends with both soldiers defeated, and upon pressing them for information, it is learned that they have knowledge of the lone traveler and his mission. As the lone figure pauses to contemplate his situation, one of the soldiers takes advantage of the situation and wallops the traveler in the head. The unexpected ferocity of the strike causes the traveler to drop his protected item over the edge of the ship, and as he loses his parcel, so too does he lose his memory. Enraged by this turn of events, the soldiers try and force the traveler’s memory to return through intimidation, but this backfires, and the traveler ends up tumbling over the edge of the airship and plummeting towards the ground far below.
A stroke of luck befalls the plummeting traveler, as the head of an unsuspecting dragon breaks his fall. Amazingly, despite the memory loss, the traveler is in relatively good shape after his long fall to the earth. Unbeknownst to the traveler, he has arrived at his intended destination and just happened to fall on the very person he was supposed to meet. The dragon goes by the name of Ventuswill, and she is the divine protector of Selphia. Due to the memory loss the traveler has no idea about his mission and neither does Ventuswill, but she was expecting a representative of the royal family. One thing leads to another and the amnesiac traveler is determined to be the prince representing the royal family, despite his insistence to the contrary and the fact that his name is different from that indicated in a letter from the royal family.
The next day, the traveler learns that among his many duties, he must tend to the fields behind the palace. He holds a special ability to communicate with the earth and has a natural affinity for raising crops and livestock. After tending the fields, the traveler sets out to meet the inhabitants of the town and begins to make friends. After some time he begins to settle into his new life and develops a nice routine. However, peaceful times are not to last and strange events start to happen in relation to the traveler’s original mission. He must now set out on various quests to restore peace to the town and ultimately complete his initial goal.
“Rune Factory 4” is the latest installment of the fantasy interpretation of the Harvest Moon series. The series has taken the classic farming elements of the Harvest Moon games and incorporated a fantasy storyline and combat. The main driver behind the storyline is the completion of various monster-inhabited dungeons, which will open up new conversations and story points. Although combat plays a very important role in the game it does not eclipse the farming aspect.
Farming is the main way a player will generate income and items used in various crafting projects. It can be difficult to maintain a farm and traverse the numerous dungeons in the game. However, if the player can manage to tame some of the monsters found in the dungeons then the monsters can be put to work tending the fields and producing products such as eggs, wool, and milk which can all be sold. If players can bring more monsters under their control then they will be able to manage a larger number of fields. With the farm under proper care, the players can develop their combat skills and tackle larger and more dangerous dungeons.
Rune Factory 4 is an enjoyable expansion of the classic Harvest Moon series. The story elements, farming dynamics, and light combat system help to make the game suitable for almost all ages. The combat element of the game play helps to prevent the game from becoming repetitive. Due to this, one will find the hours will fly by while playing the game. After what will seem like a short time players will discover that they have devoted many hours to this pleasant game.
Remember, like all games, if you play them just to have fun there will never be a bad game.