Rune Factory FrontierTHE GOOD: The dungeons are larger Graphics and animation are well done More of a plot than most HM games Voices are good More than 80 hours of gameplay Characters seem more realistic You can fight the bosses as again as much as you want
THE BAD: Lots of short loading times Runeys can be a pain
SUMMARY: Rune Factory Frontier is part of the Harvest Moon series that involves fantasy and mild violence, the perfect game for those who like the series, but want more action. I can honestly say that this game is remarkable. Rune Factory Frontier easily became one of my top 3 most favorite Harvest Moon games, with only a few minor faults bringing it down. I've only played a few games from the Harvest Moon series, but on most of them, I'd run out of things to do before the clock hit 3:00 in game time. But Rune Factory Frontier gives me a big list to do. This is probably the largest game I've ever played; 80 hours of game time is barely enough to finish this.
I'll start off with the plot. Our hero, Raguna visits the village of Trampoli looking for a missing girl, which turns out to be Mist from the first Rune Factory. The plot is expressed more as you continue the game, and Raguna must now stop a floating island from crashing down into his village. Sounds better than collecting bells and trying to save the Harvest Goddess, right? You can even understand the story line just fine without playing the previous game.
Rune Factory Frontier has a very unique cast of characters. There are elves, ghosts, people from foreign countries and even a neighbor that wants you to get out of town! The characters can also be seen doing chores, like laundry, cooking, or cleaning, even humming! This gives the characters a more realistic feel, which is something I haven't seen a lot of in the past Rune Factory games. As a plus, the characters don't say two things over and over again until you raise their friendship level, but they say a variety of things which will change as you go in the game, befriend them, or if you experience one of the events. Really, it's great that there aren't those sudden changes in what they say.
Events have gotten much more unique. In some cases, you can even get a short animated movie which can be viewed again in the 'Memories' option at the start screen. Even though there is a lack of festivals in the beginning of the game, the small events that initiate from time to time or as you progress makes up for it. You even get more festivals as you progress, so that eliminates this fault.
Some events take place in the dungeons. The dungeons are much larger this time, and they even have a maze-like quality. Dead ends, simple puzzles everywhere, free items and such; somehow the dungeons seem more whole. Even though there are only four dungeons, their size makes up for it. The seasonal dungeons haven't changed; they've even added an all-seasonal dungeon! This way you can grow spring and fall crops in the same place without having to travel as much as you would have in the past games. This means more time for you to do other things than running around the whole game trying to water your crops.
One of the bosses in Rune Factory Frontier.
As usual, the dungeons are full of monsters and they respawn from Monster Gates. There's a wider variety of them this time, instead of just changing the color and giving the monster a new name like they did in Rune Factory 2.. They perform a small range of different attacks; some might cause status effects, which will have you coming more prepared and stocked with Energy Drinks. Bosses now have a large health meter at the bottom of the screen, a great help to to see how much damage its already taken. You can finally fight the bosses as much as you want now! A nice touch, but the bosses don't give any experience points.
Good equipment is vital to survive and fight in the dungeons. Unfortunately, the Blacksmith only sells low quality weapons. That's why you have to make your own, which adds more to the game instead of just buying. You can cook and concoct potions too. However, you'll need to buy the utensils and ingredients but it'll al be worth it once you've made what you want. The forge, lab and the kitchen aren't the only things you can upgrade! You can also upgrade your house to have more furniture, and even get a second floor.
Despite all that, this game has one flaw. It's a small one, but it can grow into a huge problem that'll make some players quit playing. That's right; Runeys. Runeys are spirits that go through a food cycle where the constantly eat each other. Water runeys eat Rock runeys, Rock runeys eat Tree runeys, Tree runeys eat Grass runeys and Grass runeys don't eat anyone while Water runeys don't get eaten, but die on their own. You have to constantly balance them, and keep them from killing each other or you'll suffer the consequences. The consequences? Your crop growth will decrease up to 4.5 times as much, and the crops in the dungeons will randomly die. Unfortunately, raising crops, especially ones that need to be grown in the dungeon, are needed to finish the game. It's time consuming to balance them, and they're tough to revive once they've declined too much in number. On the other hand, if you have have a lot of runeys, your crop growth will increase and you'll be able to harvest them faster. Rune Wonders require runeys to be performed and they can help you with your farm work and other things in the game.
Harvesting Runeys and balancing them.
Other than that, there are no there major faults in the game. I haven't seen any glitches either, aside from the one where the whole screen freezes randomly when you check your barn stats and you're forced to pull the plug. The graphics are good and the voices are clear. Most of the text is read aloud by the character, instead of the short "Good Morning!" they say and the rest is all just typed out like in previous games. There is even a mild animation while you're talking to them. Controls take a bit of getting used to, but the shortcuts are definitely helpful and easy to use.
I love this game, but the runeys are a constant pain, plus there's not much replay value. Adding Wi-Fi would've eliminated this problem. Although, the uniqueness, quality, events and things to do make up for it. I'd advise anyone to buy this; a 4.2 out of 5.