Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rune Factory 4 Hands on First Impressions

Hands on First Impression with Rune Factory 4 - XSeed Games!
Originally Published and Copyrighted by Blast Away the Game Review 
on 10/1/2013 (11:57 PM PST)
Written by Dustin Murphy.

  • Very easy to learn, tutorials are very in-depth, and provide insight to future events.
  • Controls are very straight forward, easy to learn, and do not demand a high learning curve, very welcomed in this age.
  • Tutorials for Prince/Princess Points and can easily be earned with progression and being tentative to request from villagers.
  • Graphics and sound are beautifully done, not causing much issue for players who don't want to deal with old school sounds. The sound and music remind me of the time-frame from the early 16-32bit era, very welcomed, and nice.
  • Circle Pad works wondrous with this game as does the directional pad
  • Animations are beautiful rendered and are highly in-depth and welcomed for this matter. Gives a true old school JRPG feel. Combat is much like many hack-and-slash RPG's, very welcomed, loved, and fits plesantly with the Animal Crossing-esque village tending, and of course the farming and agriculture portion of the game.
  • The ability to name, choose gender, and of course make decisions for your character in conversations leads to amusing moments that will leave a player laughing.

  • Even with the beautiful graphics, the 3D in the game caused a bit of problems with the eyes, and that could be due to needing adjustment to the games 3D appearance.
  • Quests at times will feel as if they left the player hanging if they mess up and lose the quest item. (Did this on purpose to see how I would obtain the item)
  • Character conversations at times can leave players a bit confused and dumbfounded.
  • Menu navigation feels as if it could be refined with a better tutorial, but this will be easily overcome by spending time not blowing through the tutorials.

 When it comes to JRPGs I've been no stranger to what they can hold, from hilarity field moments, monster fights, and of course the tedious need to find safe spots, this game has provided a much different experience. Rune Factory 4, published by XSeed Games, owned by Marvelous USA, Inc. is the US-based publishing operation of MarvelousAQL Inc., overseeing its two North American divisions. XSEED Games, its brand and division for unique and innovative console, PC and handheld games, has been in operation since 2004. Marvelous Online, the company’s brand dedicated to mobile and online social games, is an expansion of XSEED’s mobile team thanks to acquisitions by Marvelous USA. Marvelous USA is a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based MarvelousAQL Inc., a publicly-traded company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Is an amazing title that quickly took a classic RPG telling like element and given me what feels like a twist of Animal Crossing. Upon entering the game I was able to see the story unfold my eyes, the character male or female is greeted to your eyes as being upon an airship, which has been intruded upon by ursupers or rather assassins. After your character has fended themselves to safety, they can be seen holding an orb, which takes the dramatic turn and explodes. With this as the events unfold, they lose their memory, thrown overboard from the ship, and of course lands in the giant hall of Ventuswill, the kingdoms ruler. After seeing this enigmatic and humorous dragon, I was quick on my way to being promoted to princess (I chose this route to see the female story first, which in turn upon completion, will also be experienced as the mail, and through it all was lead to the tutorials.

 First we are introduced to two basics, HP and RP. Health Points of course are your HP, which is your life, this goes away, you're fainting, and that's no good. RP is your Rune Points, this decides how much you can do activity wise before you exhaust, to low and your characters HP becomes their RP, and when that runs out, of course you faint. So think wisely before acting, as this can effect your long term profitability in exploring.

 In the tutorials players will learn how to till their gardens, cut down trees, take on quests, store items, shop for items, and of course use their prince or princess points to coordinate events, which bring people to your Kingdom, which in turn also benefits the character with a higher recognition as a leader. Once I had stepped that aside, it was time to go more in-depth with each tutorial. The most common among these is the constant refreshers, which in turn reinforce the things player have learned, and changed based on the situation. At one point players will quickly begin to run errands for Vishnal, your butler in training if you are playing female (have yet to experience the male version, which will get its own write up). I was told to of course take Clorica a herb, which she needed, and in return I was given my sickle. These quests eventually began to add up my characters princess points, which in turn allowed me to make more advents, and that alone began to help out with more people coming into the village. After a while it began to become a curious on when I would be able to tame monsters, fight bosses, and get away from what reminded me quickly of Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing, and experience the RPG side. After almost an hour or so of tending to learning how to do business, it was time to set out, grab my characters sword, and head to find a way out of the village. Unfortunate, the joke was on me, as it was time to once more return to the dutiful tasks at hand, which taught me how to purchase items from the general store and of course the blacksmith. Having taken the time players can meet Arthur. When they meet Arthur he will explain the weather cycles and what they can do for your harvests, this is something highly suggested so players can get the most out of it.

 After having completed what I could it was time to wander around. Having wandered around the town, I visited with characters such as Arthur, which lead to conversations, and of course the ability to hold Left and Right "bumpers" to create alternative conversation capabilities, and even have my character confess her love to him had I desired to. The results? Quite funny to be honest, which lead me to continue on after having let an hour in game pass (1 minute our time). After this time passed it was time to start back on my quests. Once having completed many of the daily requests, it was time to talk to the dragon, Ventuswill, and see what she had to say; it was of course a head into the wilds quest. Taking the quest, it was time to go to the blacksmith, armor up, by a new weapon, and figure out where to go. Well unfortunately, this became problematic, and of course took work to learn as I had no true way to figure out where to go. I decided to head straight out of the "throne room" and head south. Once out of the village I quickly met up with one of your locals Forte, a night of sorts. Having become acquainted to her guidelines and storytelling behind the monsters, it was time to set out, and begin my adventure, but first to set the difficulty. On accident of course I had set the difficulty to hard, which in truth doesn't seem so hard so far, but let me tell you. The first boss? I'm stuck due to the difficulty, and find myself exploring the vast woods, and of course farming materials while also leveling up.

 As I fought however, I was able to obtain weapon skill ups, level ups, and of course move on with a bit more ease. This brought forth the question as to how soon I will see weapons and armor crafting, as of this time however, I have yet to see it. This is something I look forward to seeing as I get to spend a bit more time with the title, and of course work towards the final review. At this point the game has played well, left me with few questions, and become a seemingly beautiful display of what classic gaming once felt like. Hopefully this game will remain with that feeling, keep me going, and ultimately enjoy this series I've now had the honor to experience. At this time of writing my play time is almost six hours, yes you read that right, six hours of doing jobs, farming, tending to villages, coordinating events, and of course leveling up the wilds for exploratory means. 

Graphics: Beautifully well done, even when meeting characters, players will get to meet beautiful anime-like scenes, and some of them will leave players giggling.

Sound: Amazingly good, taking a tribute back to what it meant to have a classic 16-32bit refresh. The music is charming, pleasing to the ears, as are the sound effects used in the game.

Controls: Overall very easy to use, leaving little room for problematic learning curves, and will leave players without question on button commands.

Release Date: Rune Factory 4, published by XSeed Games, a Marvelous AQL Brand, released on 10/1/2013 and is now available on eShop and at most major retailers for 39.99 USD. Prices may vary based on local taxes and geographic location.

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