Rune Factory 3 is the newest game in the series. It’s also the first one to completely change things around for the series. You star as an amnesic Half-Human/Half-Monster who stumbles into a brand new town. Much like the other games you’re quickly rescued by a cute girl and given a place to stay and farm. So the quest is on to keep your farm steady, help out the townsfolk, and try to recall all of your lost memories.
• The world is now completely alive. Unlike previous games in the series and that includes the Harvest Moon games. Time will no longer stand still no matter what house you enter. The townsfolk will go about their business as a community. They’ll interact with each other and go anywhere and everywhere necessary on their daily routes. It feels much more lifelike and keeps players moving along with their day.
• The combat is no longer a stiff chess match. In the previous games you had to stand at the right angle, and most of the animations were slow and plodding. Now things have been spiced up quite a bit in that regard, with the main character able to move freely at each press of the button. Combined with charged moves and magic, this game feels much more fluid than all past iterations.
• A much more focused system is in your hands. Anyone that played Rune Factory 2 should know about the request system. In this game it is much harder to run out of things to do, mostly due to the fact that they scaled back requests to a one day thing. So you can’t just knock out multiple requests in one day, and then for the rest of the game have nothing to do. It’s also a lot easier to become friends with the townsfolk, as a matter of fact I became buddies with a lot of them and didn’t even give them presents. I think the reason this was done, was so players could continue unlocking quests and getting each person’s story.
• The townsfolk are a lot more interesting. It’s probably because everyone in town is strange in some manner. No one you meet will ever seem to be normal, not even the very first woman you meet seems all that normal. However, when you run into Sofia and Karina for the first time… you’ll probably be wonder if you’d care to marry any of them. As time goes by though, they will start to grow on you. Especially my favorite character in the game “Daria”, who randomly yells out RAINBOW during conversations.
• Multi-player has been added to the mix. You and a buddy can finally team up and tackle dungeons together. It doesn’t have anything to do with your game of course, but there are locations that you can warp to and slaughter at your leisure. You can also talk to townsfolk and invite them out for an outing in your world, and they will level up along with the main character. When you combine this with the monster taming, it’s almost like a full-fledged hack and slash RPG now.
• Rune Factory 3 seems to have inherited the performance issues of 2. While the game takes you into each zone smoothly, if there are more than 4 things on screen at a time it will cause lag. I’m not talking some barely noticeable lag either, it’ll mostly drop the screens frames to about 5 – 10 FPS and make it a pain to move around. It’s really annoying if you’re trying to fish in an area, or get a bead on an enemy.
• The 3D graphics aren’t improving anything. They’re still the same from Rune Factory one, and I’m starting to dislike them. For one you can barely tell what any of the people look like, and I think the game would perform better with just sprites on the screen. Besides the environments and the buildings that look fine in the 3D space, the character models are pretty disgusting.
Rune Factory 3 is much better than the last two games. It’s easier to get into than the last iterations, and it has a much improved charm to it. Not to mention it has a lot of adult jokes thrown in here and there. If not for the ugly character models and bouts of performance lag. I’d give this one an A+ from Half-Ass Gaming, unfortunately it’ll have to settle with a B+ for now. Rune Factory 3 is an amazing addition to the Farming/Combat genre, and it is amazingly deep and satisfying to play.