I bought the game on release day and beat the final boss early this morning,. It is interesting to note this is actually the 6th Harvest Moon game released. Two were released on the Wii but the first three were released on the Nintendo DS. I have played all three DS games but plan on getting the Wii games, Those familiar with the Harvest Moon games will find alot of familiar mechanics in the Rune Factory games. It’s basically Harvest Moon with some RPG elements thrown in. That’s a topic for a separate blog post though.
Anyway, Rune Factory 4 takes place in the kingdom of Selphia. Characters from past Rune Factory games make a cameo appearance in RF4, too: Barrett from RF2, Raven from RF3 and Ethelbert, the Emperor of the Sechs Empire. Those familiar with RF 1 through 3 will remember the Sechs Empire turned out to be the bad guys pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Ethelbert is referenced in RF 1-2 and makes a brief appearance in RF3 but in RF4 he plays an active role in the game’s plot.
Speaking of the plot, you play the role of a Prince/Princess who came to Selphia by unusual circumstances. The town’s leader, Ventuswill is a Dragon but she is actually quite a nice err…being. Even when the real prince the town was expecting (Arthur) arrives the next day he steps aside and lets you play the role thrust upon you by the town. As the prince of Selphia it is your duty to do what you can to improve the town and help the people in any way that you can. At the same time you’re tasked with investigating what became of the Rune Stone fragments you were carrying before you lost your memories.
Again, the Rune Factory games use the Harvest Moon games as a base. Your primary source of income and cooking ingredients comes from farming. Both on the farm you get to start with (which can be expanded) and the ones you’ll find in the field. Veterans of previous Harvest Moon games will remember that there are fields that were always locked in a specific season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept is what led to the Green House being introduced in Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning. Those are the fields to use when you need to grow crops out of season.
A stratedgy I started trying today is using the Season Fields to power level crops to level 5. Leveling crops is much easier on your home field and with little effort on your part you’ll see your crops level to 3. To get past level 3 you’ll need to use the Greenifier on your seeds/crops after they’ve been planted. Once the crops are ready use any Sickle except the cheap one to get Seeds 1 level higher than the crops you planted. Again, much easier to do with level 3 seeds. The best part is once you’ve shipped higher level crops, Blossom and Illuminata will sell seeds at the highest level you shipped at the same price as a level 1 seed so if you ship a level 5 Yam Blossom will sell level 5 Yam Seeds from then on.
The farming aspects are just one part of the game. Another part is taming monsters. All monsters you can tame can fight beside you but some monsters such as Buffamoo and Hornets produce goods. One thing I found out yesterday is if you have 3 or more of the same type of monster that produces goods in the same barn they will produce goods 1 level higher than usual. In my case I had 2 Buffamoo producing Medium Milk. The new Buffamoo I tamed and added to the same barn as the other two started producing Medium Milk too. Unlike crops, produced goods can be harvested every day so…yeah. If you’re courting Forte, here’s a tip: She likes Omletts!
The third aspect of the Rune Factory games is the combat and dungeon exploration. Like many MMOs the more you do something the better at it you become. Rune Factory boasts a large selection of weapon types to choose from. My personal favorite is the Dual Swords. As I mentioned in the above paragraph you can bring monsters you tame with you to fight beside you outside town. You can also recruit one of the bachelors/bachelorettes to join you for a time. The most party members you can have is 2 and in case you’re wondering yes you can have both a monster and a villager fight with you together. When you start a family you can even have them fight beside you.
Speaking of family yes, you can have a family in RF4. First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes the kid. You can pick your child’s gender before it’s born or leave it to fate. I usually make it the opposite gender of the protagonist so mine gets a daughter. Click here for more info on the RF4 Child.
This is starting to get pretty lengthy so I’ll wrap things up. Overall I give Rune Factory 4 an 8 out of 10. It’s got replay value to be sure. The only things left out that would’ve been nice is Streetpass, Spotpass and Online Trading. It’s a good game weather you’ve played past Rune Factory or Harvest Moon games or not. Rune Factory 4 is available in retailers as well as the 3DS eShop.
If you like this game I reccommend the two Harvest Moon Games released on the 3DS. Click here for the review I wrote for A Tale of Two Cities last year.