Rune Factory holds a special place in the hearts of many, being a comfort series melding farming, crafting, combat, and dating. I don’t have a history with the series, but I thought there was no better time to begin my adventure than with Rune Factory 5. The systems of these games compelled me, and after playing, I’m sure as hell not regretting it. After sinking a few hours into Rune Factory 5, I can confidently say this is an addictive and continually rewarding experience.
Throughout Rune Factory 5, players are acquainted with the citizens of Rigbarth, a quaint town housing numerous memorable characters. The player character, who can be chosen to be either male or female, suffers from amnesia, resulting in them residing with the people as the story progresses. Further, they become a member of SEED (not Gundam), essentially an organization of townspeople protectors.
Following this introduction, players engage with various mechanics and undergo several tutorials. There’s a good deal of components to grasp. Still, it’s rarely overwhelming. The game boasts a clean, straightforward UI and informative menus that excel at providing their intended tasks.
Unexpectedly, as someone not too familiar with farming in games, I spent a good chunk of my beginning hours doing it purely out of the satisfaction I derived. Rather than being an incredibly gradual process, you can plant multiple seeds simultaneously while watering crops. As an early assessment, this system caters to modern crowds seeking convenience, but not to a degree that negates the efforts themselves.
So far, the characters have certainly made lasting impressions. From shopkeepers to closer neighbors, everyone has a fair share to say. In addition, the amount of dialogue has been impressing me, though it makes sense given the game’s simulation-esque nature.
Simone, Rigbarth’s residential doctor and mayor, definitely stood out the most, primarily due to her design. Alas, it seems she can’t be romanced, though I’m still looking forward to learning more about her and the rest of the cast as a whole. Given the unique exchanges already present during the opening hours, my expectations for later, more involved conversations are rather high.
Regarding combat, Rune Factory 5 arguably focuses on this aspect amongst the highest next to other mechanics. In fact, the game begins with a combat tutorial, so there’s evident focus on this mechanic. I can’t quite go into details since I haven’t yet unlocked a staggering amount of skills, though the fighting foundations are solid. Weapon swinging and evading are responsive to perform, and there’s an absence of animation lag. Still, encounters are too effortless for my liking, with the first boss being almost mindless in difficulty. However, there is boundless potential awaiting within these systems beyond the confines of the first few gameplay hours.
As joyous as the experience has currently been, frame rate and overall performance are likely to be a persistent fault. When entering and exiting screens, the game suffers from immensely noticeable frame drops that almost hurt to look at. Thankfully, these instances only last a few seconds at most, but hopefully, these issues become ironed out closer to release.
Rune Factory 5 is slowly becoming my new addiction, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite only having spent a handful of hours in the charming town of Rigbarth, I’m already growing attached to several dynamics, gameplay systems, and progression rewards. If you’re a Rune Factory series veteran, I have a feeling this entry will be worth the wait. Whatever the case, for now, let me get back to tilling some soil.
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