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Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Natsume Inc.
Developer: Neverland Co., Ltd.
Style(s): Third-Person 2D Action RPG
Synopsis: Designed as a spin-off of the original series, Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon invites players to take a stand against monsters who threaten their livelihood. Gamers begin as a young boy who has lost his memory. The boy sets up shop outside of the town and starts to build his own farm. Players may then locate special objects used in item creation and fight creatures by exploring the surrounding environments. After defeating an animal, the boy can take them back to his farm and train them to fight for him. After the lessons are complete, gamers can add the creature to their party or put them to work on the farm. Connecting to a wireless network opens up a variety of options including writing messages to friends and running an online store stocked with in-game items. ~ Gracie Leach, All Game Guide
Package Contents: Registration Card
The manual's decent, but leaves some key questions, such as how to build up relations with the townspeople, unanswered.
Cute little sprites. The opening animation is great, but the monsters lack much pizzaz.
Given the similar characteristics between Natsume's cult Harvest Moon franchise and RPGs in general, it's surprising that it's taken the company this long to combine the two into a fantasy/farming RPG. The wait, however is over, and in Rune Factory, you have a game that combines the crop-growing thrills and spills of Harvest Moon with a bona-fide fantasy RPG. Even better, Natsume managed to hybridize the two fairly well, though there are certainly some bad seeds in this crop. Bereft of name and memory, your character wakes up in the middle of a weedy, rocky field, where you meet Mist, the owner of the field. Your conversation with her is cut short, however, as a monster appears, bent on sowing seeds of destruction. Armed with only a hoe, you defeat the monster, and as a reward, Mist lets you farm her field and live in the accompanying house. Thus begins your illustrious farming career in the town of Kardia. After meeting the townsfolk and picking up various farm implements such as a hammer, a watering can, and some seeds, you're left to your own devices to grow crops and explore the various caves near your farm. Crops can be sold for money, used to purchase equipment, seeds and other sundries. Caves are packed with monsters that you kill for experience, and occasionally, a little loot. Combat takes place in real-time, and is similar to the old Legend of Zelda-style combat with a top-down view. As you progress through the game, you have to find a balance between cave exploration and managing your fields, a task that can be made easier with the help of monsters that you can capture and put to work. Here's where some weeds start to grow. Once you've cleared your entire field and have a good stock of monsters in place, you'll find that there isn't much left for you to do, either in town or in the caves. Oh sure, the game gives you plenty of ways to spend your time, from crafting rings and trinkets, swords and armor, to fishing and romancing the girls in the town. But it all feels rather joyless after a bit. The townspeople's lines don't change much, the crafting grows tedious, and you find yourself with empty days with nothing to do but watch your crops grow. Rune Factory's biggest weakness is its failure to establish a true sense of urgency and challenge throughout, leaving you 30 hours into the game with nothing left to do and nothing much to look forward to. It's a shame, really, because the idea of merging the farming and adventuring life is a good one in principle, but it requires a strong story and more difficult battles, something Rune Factory lacks on both fronts.
Not a game to replay, unless you have a LOT of time on your hands.
Some decent tunes. The best part is when it gets dark and all you can hear is the calls of owls and birds -- no music whatsoever.
Starts off really strong, then gets tiresome after about 20-30 hours.
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.