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Insanity Prevails
Jun 16, 09 9:02pm

>> Initial Impressions

Video games certainly open up a realm of possibilities to us...

Insanity Prevails blogged
Jun 05, 09 8:42am

Figured this might a nice addition to my user reviews - providing some thoughts on first impressions I get from playing games, and seeing if my opinion stays the same as I continue to play.

The one thing that concerns me right now about Rune Factory 2 is the fairly poor NPC interaction. One of the strengths of Animal Crossing was that the NPC villagers were varied. There were limitations, but they did cycle through quite a number of phrases and would randomly mention different items or people. By comparison Rune Factory 2 feels very weak, as most people so far just seem to repeat the same phrase or two all the time. Granted they do say other things if I give them something or pick a bulletin board task, but I want more variation when I just chat to them, so that chatting to them feels more than being something I have to do.

Must admit that the actual range of tasks seems more impressive than the traditional Harvest Moon game. An issue I'd had with past HM games is the lack of stuff to do outside outside of farming. It's not that they didn't have other activities, but rather that they were very limited and most tended to get as repetitive as the farm work could. RF2's RPG elements may not be as fleshed out as more focused RPG elements, but it's a worthwhile distraction, and then mixing in farming, mining, cutting, fishing and running errands for the villagers and I'm seeing a more widespread choice of tasks to accomplish.

Was kinda hoping the touch screen would make item management easier, but apparently it's harder than it looks to click onto onfield objects to interact with them. Seems easier just to use the button layout once I got used to it. Dual screen hasn't been that helpful thus far either. The overworld map isn't very telling aside from displaying the location name, which could have been done on a single screen. Dungeon maps are limited by the fact that right now the dungeons aren't that complicated, although I note that various paths appear locked off so that might be subject to change later.

The pause subscreen is very handy in here. I can keep track of various aspects like items, relationship levels and settings in here. A bit odd that it doesn't remember my preferences for relationship sorting but otherwise it helps to see stuff here. Button layout is more friendly than FOMT too, so I don't accidentally give an item to the wrong person when they are close together or end up throwing a precious item away. The targetting cursor also makes it clear where I'm aiming.

In short the gameplay's running smoothly so far, but I haven't played long enough yet to determine if the game can keep the pace going well enough. I'm hoping NPC interaction picks up. Maybe if I start taking on more bulletin board tasks I might start to care more.

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