Title: Rune Factory 5
Developer: Marvelous Inc.
Release Date: July 13, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: XSEED Games
Genre: Role-Playing, Simulation, Action
Ahh, Rune Factory. A game that can only be described as “Farming Simulator meets RP,” with the hecticness of action combat combined with the laid-back nature of farming. Today, we will look at the fifth mainline entry in the series, Rune Factory 5, which has received a PC port by XSEED.
In Rune Factory 5, you play as an amnesiac protagonist whose gender you can choose between male and female. After fending off some monsters attacking a young girl, you end up in a small town called Rigbarth.
Then, one thing leads to another, and you join SEED, a group of rangers tasked with keeping the peace. But the reality is that you’re actually an Earthling, a gifted human with an abundant amount of rune power. You are encouraged to tend the land and complete tasks for the townspeople, as well as battle monsters to maintain the peace.
I suppose I shouldn’t beat around the bush this time, however, and talk about what you probably clicked on this review, to begin with, and that is, of course, the game performance. After all, I’m sure you might’ve heard of the horror stories of how poorly this game ran on the Switch, as that was one of its main negative points all across the board. XSEED had always had a good track record with their PC ports, which shows here, with the game running way better than it was on the console hybrid.
Upon starting the game for the first time, you’ll be greeted with the Configuration Tool, which allows you to tweak everything: from anti-aliasing to texture tweaking and even shadow adjustments. All of that can be set up however you like, with images that guide you through the differences. You can even have the game run with an uncapped framerate if you have the capable hardware for it. So hooray! The performance nightmare is over, which makes this game instantly great, right? I mean, not entirely, but it is one less growing pain to deal with.
Honestly, I was disappointed when I found out the amnesia plot point was going to be utilized once again. While I know it helps keep that “know more about yourself,” in Rune Factory 5, it just sorta happens, and the main character just vibes along with it. Even the previous number entry gave you a reason for your amnesia. The story gives a sense of progression, but I felt it was a tad linear and can be described as: discover a new dungeon, explore it, and defeat the boss at the end. That’s it. Maybe throw in some new character meetings while you’re at it.
That being said, you’re offered flexibility on what to do next after the first few days of the tutorial. There are no time limits, no restrictions. Grow crops, fall in love, and explore dungeons. That said, the overworld feels very bland at the beginning, and as you wait for the next story plot point to trigger, there might be many times where you’ll be done with your farming chores and battling before the in-game clock hits noon. Due to the fact that the story does not have a specific time lock. So, you must be at a certain season to progress. I even got past the first act of the main story before I reached the Summer season of the first year.
If you were expecting anything new regarding the gameplay, then…I suggest you keep your expectations reasonable, for there is little to no innovation when compared to previous games. A lot of mechanics are direct lifts from previous entries without much change. And, of course, the balance hasn’t changed either. Eating dishes continue to be the most broken way to restore your health, and what kind of items you can find in treasure chests is completely up in the air.
I have to give credit where credit’s due, as this is the first entry to receive the addition of same-sex marriage. The 3D environments are colorful and varied, even if some textures look outdated. But hey, I guess if you were looking for an accessible entry point in the series, then it checks all the boxes, but for series veterans, you may be left wanting more, as I did.
Rune Factory 5 offers bouts of fun, but unfortunately, it ultimately feels like an outdated experience no matter which platform you play it on. Still, the unforgettable characters keep you invested, but the sluggish combat and empty world keep gameplay largely uninteresting. Performance is far better than the Switch release, so players can look forward to that.
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