Rune Factory 4 Special

Rune Factory 4 Special

released on Jul 25, 2019

Rune Factory 4 Special

released on Jul 25, 2019

An expanded game of Rune Factory 4

Experience this legendary fantasy adventure like never before and embark on exciting escapades with your favorite characters in the brand new Newlywed Mode!

Also in series

Rune Factory 3 Special
Rune Factory 3 Special
Rune Factory 5
Rune Factory 5
Rune Factory 4
Rune Factory 4
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny
Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

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In a rush? I gotchu'!

What Works:
Addictive Farming and Combat: Seamlessly blends farming with simple yet fun combat.
Charming Characters: Diverse and amusing villagers make the game feel cozy and welcoming.
Rewarding Gameplay: Every action contributes to progress, making you want to keep playing.

What Doesn't:
Mediocre Graphics: Backgrounds can be blurry, especially in console mode.
Limited New Content: Not much new for fans of the 3DS version besides a few modes.
Predictable Story: The narrative is charming but follows a well-worn, predictable path.

🎮 Nintendo's Diverse Catalogue

The Nintendo hybrid console boasts an impressive catalogue of video games. Some focus more on action, others on a sense of relaxation, and some purely on romantic relationships. However, publisher Marvelous certainly thought, “Why not a bit of everything?” Thanks to this imaginary line of thinking, we get Rune Factory 4 Special, developed by Neverland from its version for the 3DS, which was released in the European market in December 2014 and is now available for the Switch in 2020. For those new to the series, Rune Factory can be summarised as Harvest Moon with swords, mixing traditional farming elements with simple, accessible combat. Five years ago, the review of the 3DS version on FNintendo concluded, “Fun, addictive, and extremely pleasant to play, Rune Factory 4 represents exactly what it means to be a portable game,” and fortunately, the same applies to this title, despite a hiccup or two.

📖 A Predictable Tale

Given the light-hearted feeling that Rune Factory 4 Special gives the player, it’s expected that the plot doesn’t excel with an epic story full of dramatic cutscenes that overwhelm many other games. The narrative is quite predictable when some pages of its book reveal themselves, starting with an amnesiac protagonist. But it’s still a tale with charm, and part of what makes this title so relaxing is the opportunity to progress the story at your own pace. However, this variant is a bit dissonant when there are evil forces conspiring against the peaceful state of the world.

🏡 Cosy Villagers

More than the sum of its present parts, the true uncut gem lies in the diverse and varied cast of villagers who stay in Selphia every day. These characters provide a warm and cosy feeling, largely thanks to their very amusing personalities. As the hoe works the field and the sword vanquishes yet another enemy, these characters get used to the player’s avatar, and their unique sense of humour, sometimes even bizarre, comes to the surface, never failing to bring a smile or two.

🌾 Addictive Farming

Present in Rune Factory 4 Special as a strong and addictive part of the whole experience is farming. Over time, this becomes the main source of income for the player, allowing for more adventures outside of Selphia. Hour by hour and day by day, effort must be constant to maintain a clean, dirt-free land full of healthy and delicious vegetables. Furthermore, farming is interconnected with the town’s growth, as many of the villagers’ requests come from the land’s produce, and fulfilling them unlocks new seeds to plant during the four rotating seasons. To deepen this system, there’s the possibility of cooking delicacies that provide statistical boosts to the avatar, as well as spending a calm afternoon fishing.

⚔️ Simple but Fun Combat

Combat, despite its simplicity, solidifies its position as a foundation of Rune Factory 4 Special. Progress involves attacking, blocking, and dodging, but it never ceases to be an enjoyable activity. Additionally, the hero (or heroine) can unlock and summon spells from various elements to spice up all their encounters. This way, all the exploration outside Selphia and within the dungeons is a simple matter of treasure hunting, which can also be sold as another source of income. But physical and aggressive confrontation doesn’t always have to be the answer, as the main character can recruit various monsters to work the land in exchange for a tasty treat. This is a Rune Factory-style way of taking care of animals like sheep or cows from Harvest Moon.

🛠️ Orders System

Another particular feature is a new addition to the series called “Orders”. As the player completes requests and demands on behalf of the villagers, “order points” accumulate and allow not only the improvement of the main character in certain aspects but also, for example, increasing the space of the refrigerator or the storage room. With these points, it’s also possible to enrich Selphia and inaugurate a variety of festivals and contests, fun activities that strengthen love or friendship bonds with all the characters.

❤️ Romantic Bonds

But what would life be without a bit of romance? Aside from the hoe and the sword, the avatar builds romantic ties with other characters through daily conversations, gifts, or even an exciting invitation to a dangerous dungeon. After all, is there anything more romantic than facing mortal danger together? Maybe not, but one thing is certain: after several courting attempts, there’s the possibility of declaring love and getting married.

🏆 Rewards for Every Action

But the cohesive thread that ties the entire experience in Rune Factory 4 Special is how it rewards the player. No action or decision goes unnoticed, advancing some statistic over time, whether it’s sleeping, walking, wielding a sword, or an axe—everything is tracked and visible. Initially, this might seem harmless and even laughable, but this dynamic works subconsciously so that the desire to progress is never lost. It’s a pleasurable and unique feeling of well-being, providing a freedom of choice where all answers are correct, and none are wrong.

📉 Graphical Disappointments

However, in the graphics department, Rune Factory 4 Special won’t impress and can even be a bit ugly in some cases. All the 3D models are well done, as is the graphical interface to accommodate the console’s single screen and the character portraits, but the background scenarios contrast too much by being so blurred. This is even more aggravating when played in console mode. Therefore, it is concluded that the most recommended format for the experience is portable.

💍 Special Modes

The review cannot end without mentioning what makes this Rune Factory 4 so “Special.” For the Nintendo Switch, two new modes have been created, titled “Newlywed” and “Another Episode.” These gift the player with a vast array of scenarios and cutscenes, exploring the events of various characters during and after the wedding. There is also a new difficulty mode for those who want a greater challenge. It’s a strange addition to such a relaxing game, but it’s there for those who want to activate it. Other than that, there’s nothing substantial, making the purchase of Rune Factory 4 Special, for fans of the 3DS iteration, something to consider only after a significant price drop.

🍰 Sweet and Rich Content

Endowed with addictive gameplay and captivating charm, Rune Factory 4 Special is a real cake of good things with almost no drawbacks. It’s quite rich in content, providing several hours of entertainment, and sweet in the execution of its story and secondary character development. Its bitter taste comes from unsatisfactory modes for fans of the previous iteration and inconsistent graphical work. But faced with such a treat, there are few reasons not to consider acquiring this title.

🌟 M I S C 🌟

◻️ 🌳 Linktree for all my stuff.
◻️ ⚠️ Review for FNintendo (RIP) from Mar 17, 2020.
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◻️ 🎮 Nintendo Switch Games I’ve played.
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◻️ 📜 Review #027


Have I played this more than 3 times? Yes. Did I realize some of my favorite voice actors were in it? No. Have I platinumed it? Um...also no...okay yOU KNOW WHAT-

Amo esse jogo, como eu disse na review da versão de 3ds, o grande problema dele é o grind, pretendo platinar.

Previous did the full first arc/playthrough of the 3DS version before dropping it to play the PC remaster

RF4 is genuinely really good and is one of the most fun RPGs I've played in a good minute, but the Rune Prana dungeon at the very tail end is a gigantic ass wall that I genuinely have zero desire trying to go over right now so I dont think I'll "finish" this game for real anytime soon