Reader Review: Rune Factory 5 (Switch)

I’m no stranger to reviewing Rune Factory games.  In fact, I recently reviewed Rune Factory 4 Special on PS4.  Unfortunately I was not able to review the recently released Rune Factory 5.  But luckily my brother Benjamin Woodham decided to review it on Switch, so check out his review below!  –Cary

Rune Factory 5 – Worth the Wait?

Rune Factory has been a staple of the portable Nintendo consoles since the Nintendo DS in 2007. Similar to the Harvest Moon series, but with combat, the series built itself of farm simulation, RPG combat, monster catching, and dating simulation. Players have been able to farm, fight, catch, and find love in this typically 2D series.

The difference between this game and the other ones is that this game is now in 3D instead of 2D. And let me be honest, the game did not stick the landing. Environments are simple – resembling something from the era of the PS2 but somehow worse looking. The framerate chugs really hard frequently, and the character models are more interesting in portrait form than in their 3D form.  The only other addition to this game is same sex relationships. To call that a huge stride forward would be an exaggeration.  The biggest issue this game has is the fact that it thinks the Nintendo Switch is primarily a portable game system. While it is true that it is portable and many people play it that way, a lot of people play this on big televisions, and this game was clearly not made to be played that way. The game suffers because of this.


The farming is nothing new or inspired. You get up every day. Plant seeds. Water crops. Later more advanced things are introduced like monitoring soil or assigning your pets to do the farming for you but the amount of time it takes to get to that point is a bit ridiculous, as the game makes you play through in game days. So most of the time you are slowly building your skills up, waiting for an event to happen that will allow you to use a new tool or expand your farming operations. Randomly, at the beginning of the game, during your first dungeon, you are given a dragon which you can plant a farm on. This was a huge surprise to me. While this is welcome, it does feel like this happens a bit early. Some of the farming things like building a cooking table are poorly timed, so you can get your cooking table very early, then a few days later the tutorial about cooking will pop up and it feels odd. The game also isn’t aware of how much things cost or what time it is with the tutorials it gives you, so it tries to get you to buy crafting tables all at the same time, creating a huge financial burden on the character all at once instead of pacing it out. This is a huge problem because a lot of events or abilities are locked behind these requests. I give the farming a D- so far due to the overcostly crafting tables and the poor timing of tutorials and equipment drops.

Rating: D-

Adventuring and Capturing Enemies

The combat of this game is not great. A lot of gear is expensive, so at first you are locked in with whatever the game gives you for equipment. You just have to hope a good weapon randomly drops from enemies until you build up enough blacksmithing skill to craft your own. And even then, the way to learn more recipes for any craft… is by eating bread? I’m not even kidding. So if you want to have a good weapon, you just have to hope that the weapon bread you eat gives you the weapon you want. The combos are simple, some spells can be used, and you can use one or two special abilities. Making this combat system very…. very clunky. It’s very easy right up until it isn’t, and then suddenly it becomes incredibly difficult to impossible. The combat has very steep climbs in difficulty in some places… due to some attacks stun locking you or adding a permanent effect like poison that constantly drains your HP until you cure it. The areas again, aren’t inspired either, so this makes finding new areas rather bland or even disappointing sometimes.

You can also do a few missions where you track down wanted enemies, basically you’ll be looking for a glowing red enemy that is placed somewhere on the map in an area listed on the wanted enemies request page.  The issue with this is…. The names of the places in the overworld aren’t on the overworld map… and the game doesn’t tell you at first that the enemies are glowing red. This makes the first time trying to find a wanted creature absolutely infuriating. The other thing is that you can capture the same type of enemy and it won’t count towards the wanted enemy. So I was very confused for a long time trying to accomplish this mission. I had to look it up to accomplish it.

Rating: D-


I cannot really speak about romance in this game with any authority, but I will say this… the romance system is there, and it starts showing up as missions to do with certain townsfolk that might be interested in your character. There’s not really been any rhyme or reason behind these events and there are no signs of romance between my character and any townsfolk. You can watch the romance level go up between yourself and other characters in the menu. Despite the bar going up, there have been little to no signs of affection coming from the bachelorettes or the bachelors so far – save for a wolf-girl telling me I have pretty eyes and a princess trying to pinch my face-cheek upon the first meeting.  This could be a well-developed portion of the game and it seems to be it might be the main reason some people play this game. The characters are interesting and have their own stories, so that alone could be the saving grace of this game…. However, this is a very long-drawn-out process compared to other elements of the game…. Meaning getting this content is difficult and a big-time investment.

Rating: B

Summary and Overall Score

Overall, this game might be enjoyable to its built-in audience, but it has some big, glaring, flaws. The visuals aren’t great, combat is clunky, there are random difficultly spikes and bad pacing. While that is true, the game also provides a variety of content you might not be able to find in other games, giving it an inherit value because of its niche audience. So, I’d give this an overall score of….

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Or a C- if you want a grade letter.

–Benjamin Woodham

Kid Factor:

Rune Factory 5 is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Use of Alcohol, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Mild Language.

One Response to “Reader Review: Rune Factory 5 (Switch)”

  1. Hmm… I almost exclusively play the Switch on portable mode… I guess I’ve done some LEGO games co-op on the TV lately…

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