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!

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the character designs made the game for me also the cooking that also did it for me

I’m absolutely not interested in farm sims in the first place (and from what i’ve been told none really compare to RF4) but holy shit does this one manage to just fit everything together in a way that gets me invested in it. There’s a shit ton of mechanics and not only are they pretty good individually, but they all interact with each other in a way that flows so naturally and makes them even better. RF4 lets you live in a small town with a bit more than 20 other characters, and (except for 2 of them that are cameo characters from previous games and have way less dialogue than the others) they’re all really cool and feel like actual characters. In my 46 hours of playtime, i don’t think i saw a single line of dialogue being repeated. And i know you could spend more time in the game and it’ll still be like that, even if you go above 100s of gameplay you’ll still find new lines, new events, it’s crazy. Not only are the characters all cool, but they also interact with each others which apparently isn’t something other games in the genre have and it’s so crazy?? Like you could just go out and see people talking to each other, sometimes it’s just visual (like they’re next to each other and have emotes above their head to show they’re talking), sometimes you get actual conversations between them. The MC is also pretty cool, they’re not a silent character and it’s for the best because i don’t like silent characters to begin with, you still get some freedom in what you say but they also have a personality behind that which i like.
You can take characters with you in dungeons, and the combat in this game is pretty cool too! There’s multiple types of weapons (swords, spears, fists, magic etc..), all with different moves, and the equipment system is pretty neat. You can unlock new crafting recipes by leveling up your crafting level (which is something you do by crafting), this gives the game a real sense of progression since sometimes you’ll unlock weapons you can’t craft because they require components you don’t have access to yet. But on top of that you can upgrade your weapons, and there’s a lot of different materials that’ll give you different effects: more damage, poison attacks, paralysis attacks, etc… there’s a lot of options to choose from.
And last but not least, the farming aspect is really cool too. You start off with only one type of crop, but quickly unlock more. The entire system is pretty simple, you plant your seed, water it every day, and after X days you get veggies from it. But where it gets really interesting is how deep it can get, without ever forcing the player to invest themselves too much into it if they don’t wish to. You can level up your seeds level to yield better veggies, there are items you can buy or craft to make them grow faster, there’s soil quality that can make a seed yield more or less veggies, you can even make GIANT veggies… And all of that is optional, you can also just simply plant seeds and wait if you don’t want to bother.
And in my opinion that’s why RF4 shines so much. It’s a game that understands that not everyone wants to have the same experience nor investment in it, so everything in this game feels like it’s been made to be there if you want to interact with it but also you can just ignore it, and it ends up making a game that feels like everyone will have a unique experience. Nobody will take care of their field the same way. The same applies for your equipment, there’s so many ways to customize! And let’s not even talk about the NPCs, there’s so many lines of dialogue, so many little things you’d have to really try hard to see everything. And on top of that, everything just mashes together in really cool ways: the story and characters are engaging so you want to see more, so you have to go do the dungeons, but then that forces you to make food and healing items so you have to farm, and dungeons reward you with better farming tools etc… There’s a lot of stuff i haven’t even seen (like i know there’s a fucking roguelike mode, i can get married and have kids, etc..) this game is just incredibly good and packed to the brim, and it’s a real shame it’s so not well known.

the best farming/relationship sim of all time i do not take any criticism thank you

1★ - I dislike the game.
I'm going to be a prude. But I was made immediately uncomfortable when an intro cutscene for a female character that looked like they were 10 years old was them turning around and sitting on the camera. The fuck japan.

This review contains spoilers

This is one of favorite game of all time and for me, it’s the best farming fighting game out there. I played the 3DS version first and they played Special when it initially released.
I’ve tried a lot of Harvest moon games in the past, but I just felt like they failed to keep my attention for long and I would barely get past spring on year 1.
But in this game, I feel like there are so many things you can do that constantly keep my attention. I have some days where I focus on my farm and talk to the townsfolk. Other days I focus on progressing the story and fight in dungeons. I love switching up the focus, which games like Harvest Moon never let me do.
Farming also just feels much faster paced than you’d expect. Even with most basic water can for example, you can water and walk at the same time, rather than going to each individual plot to water it. Once you start getting your own monsters to work on the farm, you’ll barely have any farm work to do yourself, which I actually like a lot. Farming can also be simple or much more complicated. If you have a magnifying glass in the game, you can lot at the stats of the soil and object that’s planted there. There are lots of stats for the soil, which is something I’ve never seen any other farming game.
You can also craft and cook in this game. There are so many weapons, accessory armor, food, and medicine to craft.
There is even a post game called Sharance maze. I’ve actually never finished it, the levels of the monsters go even higher than the monsters in Arc 3 of the game.
In terms of romance, I always went for the guy characters. When I first played this on 3DS, I chose Vishnal to marry. But in my second full play though on switch, I tried going for Dylas, but they ended up picking Arthur to marry instead. I originally wasn’t a fan of Arthur’s design, but his personality is cute.
The only thing I thought was not that great was the story (this is the spoiler part). I thoughts arcs 1 and 2 were fine. At the end of arc 2, Venti is gone, and it seems like she would be gone for good, right? Wrong. Arc 3 sets out to bring Venti back, even though this feels like it goes against the original intent of the story. I guess they didn’t want to leave things on a sour note, so they gave the game a happy ending.
I do think RF4S looks gross because they used pixel smoothing, which I’m not a fan of. But that’s the only real issue I have with this game. RF4S makes improvements to how the events are activated and add new new content with newly wedded mode.
I love RF4 and RF4S adds more improvements making this the better version.

A really enjoyable fusion of an RPG and a farming sim, and considered by many series fans to be the best installment. The depth of the in-game systems as well as the variety of crops and equipment make Rune Factory 4 a fun rabbithole to get lost in. Admittedly, the combat is rather simplistic and the villain of the main quest is really forgettable. Thankfully, this doesn't take away from the joys of mingling with the locals, fishing and growing giant veg.