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4.8 out of 5 stars
Rune Factory 4 - Nintendo 3DS
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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2013
I've been a fan of the Rune Factory games for some time now and I have been waiting for RF4 for about a year. I preordered it MONTHS ago and was so happy when I got it.

Pros:

Music is great. Going through the town or a dungeon is great with the background music.

Mechanics were so improved upon!!! It took me a very short time to get used to the new mechanics but they work so much better now.

Characters are lively! They make the town! Some of them ended up being quite different from what I had expected, and thats a good thing! I didn't expect Vishnal to be so clumsy and I didn't expect Illuminata to be so excitable, for example.

There are so many little things that make the game. Up in the windmill when looking out in the binoculars, for example, they input allusions to other games. You really have to explore your way around this game to get it all but trust me, it's a lot of fun!

The story really draws you in from the beginning. From the time you fall off the airship onto Ventuswill to the many discoveries you make early on in game. The more you hear and see and learn, the more interested you'll be to whats going to happen next.

You need Prince/Princess Points to develop the town. Now, I thought getting these points would be really difficult and take a long time before I could do anything but that is not the case at all. Getting the points is very easy and allows for easy development of the town and your farm.

Jealousy dialogue. One of my favorite parts in the game is the jealousy dialogue the townspeople get when you decide to date two people at once. Now, I don't suggest to do that but it's still rather amusing.

Cons:

Can be a little glitchy. When running through the Dragon Room sometimes you can run right through Ventuswill, likewise as your running through town you may run straight through townspeople.

Not much new dialogue from the characters from each time you talk to them. They usually only speak one line a day so talking to them repeatedly has no purpose.

Overall replay value is great! Considering you can play as a boy or girl you can change it up and see the differences in townspeople and dialogue, and you can marry someone else! The fact that there are 3 save files helps a lot in this aspect! It's been a lot of fun going back to play it again and seeing even more little things that I didn't notice before. I highly recommend this game! Even if you're new to Rune Factory you don't need to play the others in order to understand this one. Just enjoy!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2014
This game is, undoubtedly, the most fun I have ever had on a handheld device. Touching storylines that will definitely stir up "the feels" and super fun gameplay combine for 200+ hours of a masterful game creation.

For the first time, the Rune Factory series caters to the choice of a female protagonist at the beginning of the game...YES! That being said, there's way more "YES!" to the game than that.

The game's main storyline paces at the player's discretion where you can choose to do a variety of things. Some people claim that the Rune Factory series is almost stressful with how much there is to do but this is what makes the game great. There's always something to do: farming, interacting with towns people, crafting, fighting monsters, taming monsters, fishing, cooking, exploring dungeons, etc. And this game in the series serves new treats to the table, as well.

The farming aspect of the game is similar to past games. You have an expandable field with expandable barns that you can fill with monsters who will tend to your field. But wait! There's more! This game introduces new seeds. That's right. Seeds that can create weapons. And seeds that can create an entirely new dungeon to explore!

The towns people are as cute and entertaining as ever. Events in the game work a little differently, however. Events are random. So, one day, you may be walking through town or into a shop when an event will begin. Which, though it definitely makes the game more realistic, can be a little irritating when you are attempting to trigger certain character events. Nonetheless, many events are fun and are worth any inconvenience. The games dating sim aspect introduces a new part to romance: you and your loved one(s) will be straight up boyfriend and girlfriend until one of you proposes to the other. Romance events are also very cute. Super cute.

Crafting in this game made a lot more sense to me in this game than in the past games of the series. There's a lot of new weapons to make and upgrade as well as farming tools, armor, and accessories.

Battling is similar to how it has been in past games and magic definitely becomes a lot more important to your character's survival. In this game, bosses are hundreds of levels strong. Not kidding. And there are tons of bosses. Super fun.

Monster taming is one of Rune Factory's qualities that make it so wonderful. Monsters can end up being super useful to you in dungeons as some can be very strong. And, being able to have a party of up to two, you can bring even more with you!

Fishing and cooking are the same as they have been in other games but still enjoyable and preparing fish before shipping them rakes in some easy cash.

Exploring dungeons. There is literally so much to explore. The game offers tons of dungeons that the storyline will take you through but there are also secret dungeons hidden in between trees that are only available at certain times of the year and you can literally grow a dungeon in your field. Dungeon exploring in this game is a massive improvement from its predecessors.

And you are a prince/princess in the game. YOU RUN THE TOWN. The game has "Prince/Princess Points" which are points that you can acrue through running your town to either build new shops that sell new items, expand your backpack and other storage places, expand your farm and barns, PUSH AWAY TYPHOONS, and more! You even get to open your OWN shop where you can sell goods you find in dungeons, farm, or craft to the towns people for gold.

I seriously had/have so much fun with this game. There is so much going on and so many new challenges that this game just will not let you put it down. I HIGHLY recommend.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
To be honest with you, I'm not a huge fan of the Rune Factory side games ( Rune Factory Frontier and Tides of Destiny) I feel as though they don't carry the main series' spirit. Because of this, I felt as though I waited for an ETERNITY for a new Rune Factory game after 3. I was worried that this game wouldn't live up to my expectations, considering 3 is probably one of my favorite RPG's of all time and the wait for this game nearly killed me. However, it surpassed my predictions in many many ways.

First of all, the introduction scenes had me worried. You start out with walls of text after text, and a farm tutorial covering most material I already knew about. However the game picks up when the real gameplay begins.

Rune Factory has always been about Farming, mixed in with some RPG elements ( such as fighting monsters, getting party members and such. These elements are a very similar to Rune Factory 3. There are some changes in this game though. like being able to take two people with you instead of just one. A new interesting element is the "prince" system. where you can spend prince points to help develop the town more and bring more tourists in. This also helps you get several licences for things such as cooking and forging. As well as improving the shops and the material they sell. The game also lets you have multiple partners until you get married, which I find interesting. However I felt as though more thought was put into the character designs of the female character of Rune Factory 3.

The graphics are slightly improved over Rune Factory 3's graphics, with character sprites being more detailed and standing a bit taller. The graphics stay true to the main Rune factory series' graphics. This has its charm on me, but some people might come into this game expecting wii graphics. I do however, look forward to 3D graphics in RF5. Overall play this game with the 3D turned on, as the character sprites look fresher that way.

Lastly, the story is unique and emotional. Even more so than RF3, and as you go through dungeons more characters will join your village. I found this interesting.

The music is standard Rune Factory fare, several songs are very catchy but others are just there for the background.

Overall Rune Factory 4 is a great game, and surpasses Rune Factory 3. Which is surprising considering how great of a game it was. I look forward to neverland creating a Rune Factory 5. Hopefully it can come out before another "side" game does.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2014
If you like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, this is right up your alley.

Rune Factory 4 is probably THE most underrated games on the 3DS. The Metacritic score is a respectable 78. If there's one thing I've learned in my 25yrs of gaming, it's that a review is nothing more than an opinion. I repeat: A review is a person's opinion. The reviewer's opinion is no more valid than mine or yours, so don't let review scores be the SOLE factor in determining whether or not you purchase a game.

If I were reviewing this game (and it looks like I am), I would give it somewhere between a 9.1 and a 9.5 out of 10. It's that good.

Let me explain why I like this game. Hopefully that will help you with your decision.

I love games that have a million things to do. It's why my favorite series of all time is the Monster Hunter series. In Monster Hunter games there's soooooo much to do. You have to manage and enhance your farm, level up your companion, go on gathering quests to mine ores and collect herbs, and level up your kitchen, and fight numerous monsters to collect materials for better armor. There is ALWAYS something to do.

I like buying games that will give me hundreds of hours of gameplay (1200 hours in MH3U). That being the case I also love the Animal Crossing & Harvest Moon series. I also love Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn. Combat is great, but I also love leveling up crafts and jobs.

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, I can see myself playing RF4 for at LEAST 100 hours. At least. There's so much to do.

You can farm, craft accessories, forge gear, cook, mine, fish, create medicines, date all the eligible bachelorettes/bachelors (depending on the gender you select) at the same time, and leave the town to fight monsters. You need licences for some of those activies, which you need to buy with points. You gather those points by helping town members with their requests.

As you can see, there's a TON of things to do. Sooooo many things.

And EVERYTHING has it's own level. When you get hit your DEF increases. There are separate levels for each weapon type, so as you use weapons you level up in each type (Short Sword, Long Sword, Spear, Axe/Hammer, Fist). There are also different elemental magic spells which also level up individually.

There are also individual levels in: Love, Farming, Logging, Mining, Fishing, Cooking, Walking (lol), Searching, Eating, Defense, Bartering, Leadership, etc, etc (yes, there are more I didn't list!)

You have your own room in the castle that you can decorate with things like a fridge (to keep food since you can cook), a storage box, an oven for cooking, an area to store wood and stone, a forge, a crafting table, etc.

You can befriend monsters by giving them food. This is where the taming skill comes into play. Once befriended you can send them back to a shed on the farm (which you can create via a town request). Once there you can have them tend to your farm.

--------------------------

By this point you're either completely turned off by the game or you're throwing money at your screen because you want this game ASAP. There are some people who can't take this level of depth and minutiae. They just want to kill things, solve a puzzle, whatever. If that's you, your eyes probably glazed over at the thought of so many tasks to complete and so many areas of the game.

But if you're like me and you LOVE games that throw tons of options, jobs, and responsibilities at you, this is the game for you. Just buy it.

I was actually looking into getting Fantasy Life. I saw more than one Fantasy Life review that referenced Rune Factory 4 so I decided to look into it. I'm SO glad I did. I'm enjoying my time trying to become a master chef. I look forward to eventually marrying Forte and eventually having a child with her (yes, you can get married and have kids in the game!). I'm not even doing a lot of main story quests. There's just sooooooo much to do.

If you like Animal Crossing & Harvest Moon, get this game. You won't regret it. It doesn't have the pedigree and name-recognition those games have, but it's just as good in most respects and better in a few.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
I've been waiting for this game since February and getting it yesterday really hyped me up! I only started the game just yesterday but I can tell you this: The game is pretty fun to play so far! The controls are easy to understand, the people are fun to interact with, and it's pretty much like every other Rune Factory game you've played before. There are requests, monster slashing, and village development plus the fact you get to live in a castle like royalty, how fun is that? (;

I really recommend it, it's like a Harvest Moon plus RPG style mix kind of game! (:
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2014
I got this game for my winter break and I had about 80 hours after, before school start I find this game so addicting such that I have to leave my 3ds home in order for it to not ruin my academic life.

This game is a mix of adventure RPG and harvest moon. I think this game actually did better than Harvest Moon: New Beginning which I also own and played about 20 hours (in comparison I feel harvest moon new beginning was too slow and feel really grindy than past games)
The combat system in this game is also really amazing, large amount of weapon of choice, upgrades, spell and what they call rune skills. If you are sick of fighting yourself you can even tam one of the enemy and ride on them and use their skills instead. Even some of the boss works this way.

Pro:
hours to dollar ratio super good
satisfying combat system
Old school farming from harvest moon with a twist
Always have something to do.

Con
Might be too addicting to those doesn't have enough will power or time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2013
Rune factory and I can play as a girl! Still a lovely cheerful farming game rpg hybrid and ... what a vague terrible review that makes...

Great for kids and adults that just want to play around in a friendly happy environment where growing turnips is worth as much as beating up monsters and visa versa.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2013
My sister and I have loved Rune Factory since the first one came out on the DS. The graphics are beautiful in 3D (especially for cutscenes and the opening), though while playing the 3D could have been used more in terms of the backgrounds but that's just being picky. It's well translated and gosh darn it so cute and witty. Not to mention the voice acting is probably my favorite part, I can't find one person whose voice I find annoying or that doesn't fit the character. Love it! This will be my new favorite installment of the Rune Factory series! :D
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
I have been a huge fan of the Rune Factory series ever since Rune Factory: Frontier; This 3DS installment is only at the beginning for me, the story will start out where you can FINALLY make the choice to play as either a Boy or Girl, whereas in the failure of Tides of Destiny you had to finish the game to play as a girl. I barely have begun and can say the animation is lovely, I am very interested in where this story will take me and I will also add the art for character scenes and meetings is quite beautiful.

If you have loved the Rune Factory series or love the Harvest Moon series, definitely give this a try. As far as gender choice it is the first and best version to play.

Being this is my first review for amazon, I can happily say it is a positive one; I am loving that there is some voicing too. Definitely check it out if you like RPGs!

Fun note/update: As in previous versions of RF you may hear familiar Voice Actors. I believe that Vic Mignogna who is incredible does the oh-so-silly and adorable Butler, very happy to hear familiar voices^_^

As I get farther into the beginning you get to explore even more, as with all RF titles it is still a very enjoyable experience and I love the character interactions, there are some great and unique personalities to get to know^_~
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2015
Having only played the first Rune Factory and a few assorted Harvest Moon titles, I was not entirely sure what to expect when first delving into the latest Rune Factory game. In retrospect, the first game was quite good, but had some flaws. The latest in the series however is easily one of the best in the entire line of Harvest Moon games, and a true treat for anyone who enjoys these niche games.

The game begins much the way the previous games have all began, with the main character (who can be male or female this time) having amnesia and being given a name by the player. The main character suffers a nasty fall off an airship (?!) and survives, but has a few screws loose and can't remember much of anything, and finds themselves thrust into the role of a Prince or Princess. This is an amusing plot element that fits well within the Rune Factory games because the player will likely be unfamiliar with the surroundings, so when a character starts to explain something, it never feels out of place. Without spoiling anything, the story has a few twists and turns, and will likely invoke a few feels within the player from time to time.

One thing the game must be commended for is easing the player in properly without feeling like it's holding your hand too much or spoon-feeding you. Rune Factory 4 uses a request system that issues little quests the player can complete, and the first wave of them are tutorial quests. It works much better than Rune Factory 1, where the player often had no idea where to get their tools or had to do silly things like tilling land in a cave to gain a permit to the next area. Here, you simply need to follow the story and each new area and dungeon is unlocked, usually with an amusing scene following.

Once the player has been eased in, they are allowed to explore the game as they wish. Harvest crops, raise animals (monsters in this game,) woo the opposite gender, forge weapons, cook, etc.. The list can honestly go on and on if I don't stop myself now. The game has complete freedom. You can even pick up things like the fodder bin or shipping bin and move them where you please. You can even run your own shop, and unlike the first Rune Factory, earning money here is more entertaining.

The main difference between Harvest Moon and Rune Factory however is the addition of monsters and dungeons. Players can forge their own equipment and hit a few dungeons to clobber monsters. While the first game offered only a basic means of combat, here you can use combos, magic is more effective (because it uses less energy), and learn new attacks. Combat is much more satisfying now than it was before, and to top it all off, there are much more weapon types. The first game only offered a small sword and a long sword, but here you have fists, battle axes, lances, hammers, short swords, long swords, staffs, etc.. It's much more fun now to pick a weapon and try it out, and you can even invite a few villagers along for the ride, each one armed with their own weapon, but you can forge them a better set of gear if you'd like.

Monsters have also returned and for those unaware, they serve largely as this games version of the animals from Harvest Moon. Unlike before, nearly all the monsters produce something when tamed, whether it be the usual milk, wool, and eggs, or wolf fangs, carapaces, or horns. This is a major change from the first game, where it was a no brainer to simply fill your barns with animals that produced milk or eggs,and simply ignore the rest. Monsters can still follow the player into dungeons or be ridden, and there's a much greater variety than before. Unfortunately, recruiting monsters is still a painful experience, more so now than before because you have to give them a gift first, which they will likely reject. Each subsequent monster becomes harder to tame, and this is annoying, but a clever way to prevent players from simply loading up on buffamoos and cluckadoodles for money.

Skills are another area where the game shows its depth off, with there being a skill for nearly everything. From bathing to sleeping, even cooking and eating have a skill to coincide with it. Everything you do in this game builds up a skill, even walking. As skills raise, so do the stats (the usual atk, def, etc) that go along with them. This means the player can get stronger without even going out and fighting for exp!

Prince Points are the new gimmick of the game, allowing the player to act on their prince status to issue orders. These range from upgrading their own farm to earning licenses to do new things.Unfortunately, this is also where one of the first real downers comes into play. It's difficult to earn the amount of points you need for upgrades consistently, so much of the time the player will be sitting on a mound of money, but apparently not have enough status among the people to have their own room expanded.

The music is a bit hit and miss, with some of the tracks sort of just being there, and only a few being stand-outs. Most disappointing of all is that are a large chunk of the soundtrack are songs borrowed from the previous 3 games. While I think most of us enjoy having recurring soundtracks, it just feels lazy here. They didn't even remix them or alter them. They're the same songs as before. The sound effects are nice (if not a bit too loud in some instances) and the voice overs feel spot on, and rarely become annoying.

Graphically, the game does not fare all that well. While the anime portraits and cutscenes are lovely, the in-game graphics look a bit dated, like a DS game ported to 3DS. They're bright and colorful at least, and have a charm to them. Plus the game runs at such a smooth rate, it's hard to complain.

The games overall replay value is through the roof, with the game opening up the more the player progresses, and by the end-game, the player can enjoy being able to craft almost anything they want. New characters join the village, new scenes unlock, and new dungeons can be explored. Beating Rune Factory 4 just makes it get even bigger, and the game never truly ends.

Overall, I can't recommend Rune Factory 4 enough, especially to fans of Rune Factory or Harvest Moon.
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