Rune Factory 3 Special (Switch, PC)

I reviewed the original Rune Factory 3 WAY back on the Nintendo DS around 13 years ago!  (Yeah I’m old) Now you can play it again on Switch and PC (reviewed on Switch here) with enhanced graphics and new gameplay modes.  The Rune Factory series combines the farming simulation of a Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons game, but also lets you fight monsters in fields and dungeons in real time action based battles.

Rune Factory 3 Special starts out like any other Harvest Moon game. In this one, your farmer suddenly appears in town one day and has lost his memory. Later on you’ll learn that you can transform into a monster, but more on that later. Anyway, your character starts working on a run-down farm, and earns a living growing crops. Everything is time based, so you’ll have to harvest crops at a certain time to get money that day, and make sure to take care of your plants and animals daily. Luckily they kept the farm activities pretty streamlined. Keep track of time so you don’t miss an important event in town either, whether it’s a festival or a shop’s hours of business. Make friends with people in town by doing favors for them or giving them gifts they like. You may even win the heart of a lady this way and eventually marry.  They even added a Newlywed Mode in this version with extra content after you marry someone.

That all sounds like typical Story of Seasons type stuff. But what separates Rune Factory is that in this game, you can fight monsters in dungeons. At times you’ll want to put down that hoe and pick up a sword and venture off to four different dungeons, each one representing a season. You can even find patches of farmland in each dungeon so you can farm crops from all seasons! In the dungeons are monsters to fight and quests to take on. The way you acquire farm animals in Rune Factory 3 is by befriending the monsters in the dungeons. Some of them aid you in battle, while some provide help on the farm. Later on, you can even turn into a monster yourself and visit a hidden village and discover other secrets. Everything you do in the game has a skill you can level up, whether it be fighting monsters, using tools, or simply walking around.

There is so much you can do in this game that I can’t put it all in one review. You can learn to cook, fish, and much more. Sometimes the button placement for actions feels a little awkward, but it just takes some getting used to. And placing things where you want is a little squirrely, too.  The only other problem I had with this game was the clock seems to move too fast, so it feels like you have less time to do all the things you want to do. And it starts out a little slow and I seem to remember liking the DS version more back then.  Since it’s an earlier Rune Factory game, it’s a bit more primitive, but if you are a fan and want to replay it or experience it again for the first time, it’s still pretty decent.

Kid Factor:

Rune Factory 3 Special is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Use of Alcohol, and Mild Suggestive Themes.  You can purchase wine in the game and cook with it or drink it. Even though you fight monsters with swords and other weapons, they only disappear when defeated. Plus, the game’s story explains that your weapons are imbued with magic that doesn’t really kill the monsters, but teleports them back to their home in the Forest of Beginnings. And you are encouraged to befriend monsters, too. Even though there is spoken voice, reading skill is a must because of the heavy text.

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