Rune Factory 5 Heaven32 review (2023)

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Rune Factory 5 Heaven32 review (1)

ByRebecca Valentine


March 24, 2022 3:12 pm

The current:

March 22, 2022 7:01 am

There's a disappointing trend right now with the classic trio of farming life simulators - Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons and now Rune Factory - all having a hard time making the jump from handheld to console. Last yearStory of Seasons made the best leap, if imperfectly, whileHarvest Moon's Attemptat the same time, it was completely mediocre. Rune Factory 5 fell somewhere in the middle, with the first dedicated Switch game in the series retaining the depth that has earned it such praise in the past. Unfortunately, you can't translate other elements like "looks good" or "works well" into your movement.rune factory 4The top-down perspective of a 3D world, leaving you in a fun but often frustrating place.

The abrupt opening of Rune Factory 5 shows an amnesiac young hero thrown through a portal on the outskirts of the town of Rigbarth, where a community-service organization called SEED assumes him as the newest ranger, basically a scout crossed with a monstrous monster. . police As a SEED forest guard, the protagonist can take care of a huge farm and cultivate tons of different crops, capture and raise a wide range of wild monsters to obtain resources and help in combat, run various errands for the villagers or fight against the monsters that threaten the city. Their community service quickly devolves into a twisty mystery involving powerful creatures, more people showing up with amnesia, dragons, and a whole lot more fluff from more likable anime protagonists.

Rune Factory 5 screenshots

The story itself is surprisingly rich, kept fresh through countless excursions into the monster-infested wilderness by a decent amount of variety in its biomes (including a prehistoric volcano, ice caves, and drug ghost town) and Enemy types ( ranging from small sheep-like dudes to hideous reaper dudes that teleport). Just when I thought I'd explored all there was to see, I'd be sent to another dungeon I didn't know existed, or back to an old dungeon to enter a new set of caves, always with enough upgrades to avoid being a reskin of the lowest levels. higher than the ones he had already passed.

As usual in Rune Factory, you can befriend your neighbors and progress your individual stories through conversations, cutscenes, and gifts, some of which you can eventually get married and have a child with. The roster of 12 bachelors and singles in Rune Factory 5 is pleasantly varied, with excellent art design and plenty of variety in personality types, though almost all options are in late adulthood, with the only options being older. . and the succubus Ludmila. Each romantic character has various story events you can unlock and participate in as your affections grow, and unlike other games with similar features, Rune Factory 5 has handy map icons to make sure you know exactly where to find them when finish. available. Even the townspeople you can't marry are interesting enough and it's worth taking the time to talk and make friends.

Even people you can't marry are worth talking to and befriending.

One way to befriend them is through the task board outside SEED HQ, where the townsfolk will offer rewards in exchange for completing various tasks. A sizable portion of these jobs are glorified tutorials, constantly leading you through Rune Factory 5's many farming, crafting, and combat intricacies and offering rewards for solving them. It's an imperfect way of teaching the basics, as the slow pace of these quests meant that I often mastered a system long before it was introduced via a side quest, or didn't show a useful system until much later because I was stuck in a previous task. But because Rune Factory 5 is so wonderfully open-ended and unconcerned with time constraints, these changes of pace didn't matter much in the long run.

To Rune Factory's credit, you can either progress straight through the main story and finish it in around 35 hours, or take it at a slower pace along with the rest of your activities and stretch it out much, much longer. That said, a strange quirk of the story pushed me further towards the first approach, where I would have preferred the second. An event about a third into the story takes away a key power from the main character, related to everything from catching monsters to ranking up in the SEED organization to collecting certain useful items. You don't regain this power until you complete another 5 to 10 hours of dungeons and story events, though that time gets even longer if you're busy farming, crafting, or hanging out with your neighbors instead of running around. way through the main quests. It's an odd choice that forced me to play Rune Factory 5 in a much more story-focused way than I would otherwise, just so I could restock all my empty barns with Woolys again.

The story speedrun I went through was mostly disappointing because Rune Factory 5's farming, crafting, and relationship systems are so extensive that I always had more things I wanted to do outside of the main plot. As usual in Rune Factory, in-game time progresses over six-day weeks, four per season, with time of day, weather and seasons built in that affect how your crops grow, what your neighbors are doing, what events can occur, and more. The center of Rune Factory 5 is the farm, which you can clear away, cultivate, plant, water and harvest as you please. Crops grow quickly and aren't limited to seasons, so you can grow anything, whenever you want, and you'll unlock new crops over time through certain side quests. But while she's easy to grow, there's a surprising amount of depth to Factors like the seasons, how much you're using the same patch of soil, how you're harvesting seeds, and much more all affect the yield and quality of your crop. Having the flexibility to skip everything if you want or spend hours trying to get the most perfect green peppers you can grow brings the whole system to life.

Closely tied to farming is Rune Factory 5's robust crafting system. Indeed, crafting is at the heart of everything in Rune Factory 5: it leads to stronger weapons and armor for dungeon crawling, better farming tools, higher quality meals prepared with cultivated crops that you can sell or give to your neighbors and much more. . Rune Factory 5 goes a bit overboard on the sheer chaos of how many unique crafting tables you need to make everything you want, and learning new recipes unfortunately depends on a certain level of luck, as you learn a few random recipes each time. consumes a "bread recipe" item for a given trade. But just like farming, you can spend a minimum amount of time crafting if you just want to get the stuff you need for the specific trade you're interested in - you can acquire just about anything you'd craft, certainly with a little more luck, simply by running around. and hitting enemies long enough, or as a gift from your neighbors. Or, you can dive right in and try to master each recipe.

One small detail that unexpectedly stands out is the writing in Rune Factory 5's item descriptions. Almost every item has an amusing synopsis explaining what they are and what they do, and almost all of them are not only useful but also fun, like o Safety Spear's reference to the song "Safety Dance" in his description, or the blunt explanation. that "Spider Thread" apparently "Comes from a spider's tail". These clever lines were a small touch that often made me laugh and are especially impressive given the sheer number of items I was able to find and craft.

In addition to farming and crafting, the other core pillar of Rune Factory 5 is its combat, which has a surprisingly wide array of weapon options (from short swords to magic fists and staffs), spells and physical weapon abilities to customize your game. equipment. Much like farming, Rune Factory 5's combat is something you can get a little or a lot involved with, depending on your interests: you can focus heavily on weapon types and upgrades through crafting, stats, and abilities. of weapons to really hone your technique or you can grind and push buttons on everything on a lower difficulty and no one will bat an eyelid about it. It's a great system on paper, but both combat and farming can be extremely frustrating due to how bad it feels to play Rune Factory 5.

Simply put, Rune Factory 5 runs terribly on Switch.

Simply put, Rune Factory 5 runs terribly on Switch. Controls are slick and imprecise, a problem that's further exacerbated when playing docked, where significant input lag causes actions to take longer than expected. This often made me go beyond the land I was trying to irrigate, where I wanted to place a piece of furniture, or the monster I was trying to hit with my sword. This technical clumsiness is especially frustrating during combat, with the input lag making it difficult to dodge enemy attacks and the slick controls making movement awkward and chaotic. Because Rune Factory 5 offers so much freedom and so many options for taking on enemies and getting better weapons, I was thankfully never stuck in a situation where poor controls made a fight impossible, even on hard mode. But they made what could have been one of Rune Factory's main draws significantly less fun. (Rune Factory 5 is also alarmingly sensitive to stick drift, something I experienced surprisingly often even when using the generally beefier Pro Controller.)

These issues are not limited to movement either, as Rune Factory 5 also has cosmetic issues. While not the first 3D Rune Factory game, the jump from top to bottom to third person was difficult here, leaving Rune Factory 5 without much of the charm and detail for which its game worlds were praised. . Factory special 4 on the switch. The character design is still stellar, especially its dialogue portrayals and animated bachelor and maiden intros, but the world itself is full of flat textures and long stretches of undefined empty space. The city of Rigbarth and the surrounding landscape feel excessively large and empty, with objects popping up regularly and frequent frame-rate stutters whenever there's too much on screen at once. And sure, when I play a sim like Rune Factory, I can still enjoy it without stellar technical prowess or cutting-edge graphics. But with a ten year gap between games, I was hoping that Rune Factory 5 would try to be something a little more impressive than "Rune Factory 4, but clumsier".


Rune Factory 5 has a lot of the mechanical depth that made its predecessor so enjoyable, but none of the improvements one would expect from jumping to a new, more powerful platform. Its farming, breeding, combat, and relationship systems remain varied and nuanced, satisfying enough to keep me hooked as someone who loves the relaxing nature of farming and life sims. But I'm disappointed that another game in this genre has created such an empty and technically pathetic 3D world, especially when the studio behind it clearly has excellent artistic skills demonstrated in the occasional cutscene and character portraits. Its poor performance didn't necessarily stop me from enjoying the 45+ hours I put into it, but it did make that time that much more frustrating, and it's a shame that Rune Factory didn't make a grander statement in its dedicated Switch debut. .

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