Rune Factory 4 Special Review (for PC)
The Rune Factory series is a spin-off of the old farming and life simulation games Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons. It captures the spirit and style of these games, but adds more fantasy and hack-and-slash combat elements. Like the games that came before it, Rune Factory 4 Special is an amalgamation of farm management, life simulation, and action elements – the combination translates into a relaxing, addicting, and admittedly repetitive experience. Rune Factory 4 Special is a solid port and a good title to add to your PC games list. It doesn’t change or rearrange anything from previous versions, but it also doesn’t claim to be anything more than a slightly superior re-release of a classic 3DS game. It costs just $ 29.99, is brimming with charm, and comes with content.
A big package
The story of Rune Factory 4 Special follows you, an amnesiac envoy to the picturesque town of Selphia. You must replenish your memory, while saving the city and its Guardian Dragon (Ventuswill) from internal strife and external warmongers. And besides all that, you also have to take care of the town farm.
The game uses chibi-style, slightly distorted character models, simplistic textures, and a top-to-bottom isometric camera view to bring its world to life.
Don’t let Rune Factory 4 Special’s cutesy appearance and simple visuals fool you. It is a bestial game, dense in content. You have a large field to cultivate and cultivate, as well as dungeons to loot, monsters to tame, a huge map to explore, tools and equipment to craft, and, of course, intimate relationships to maintain.
On paper, the game appears to have an overwhelming number of systems to learn, but the demand system helps you familiarize yourself with its various mechanics. Requests are tasks or goals that you undertake just outside of your residence and serve as in-game tutorials for all Rune Factory activities. You start with basic farm chores, such as plowing and planting, as well as household chores, such as moving and placing furniture.
As the days go by, the demands get more advanced. For example, a subsequent request gives you an ax, which you use to remove stumps and wood debris from your farm to make room for more crops. Later still, you tame the animals and give them the management of basic tasks on the farm. You also begin to accumulate an encyclopedic list of tools, weapons, and recipes. Despite this wealth of content, I never once felt overwhelmed or rushed. Rune Factory 4 Special is very accommodating, so you can play and progress at your own pace.
You can choose to reduce your days by ignoring the story and just running your farm. Some days I would hunt a particular animal to tame, while others would spend fishing or cooking recipes I collected. If I was feeling particularly motivated, I would grind easy monsters and bosses to earn Prince Points, a currency you use to develop the farm and town.
Hack-and-slash combat is straightforward, but there is a good variety of weapons and magical attacks to unlock and master. Rune Factory 4 Special doesn’t have crazy, high-flying action, but the progression of abilities, spells, weapon types, and townspeople party members all help create a rich action system that keeps me going. reminiscent of Legend of Mana.
Once you’ve gotten used to the basic Rune Factory mechanics, it doesn’t take long to settle into a beat and start fooling around in whatever way suits you. Rune Factory 4 Special is a simple game to begin with, but it can be incredibly deep if you choose to invest the time in it.
Relaxing but repetitive
No matter what you choose to do, the game is quite relaxing. Still, a fair amount of repetition is inherent in all games under the Story of Seasons umbrella. As such, you perform certain chores over and over and often, especially at first when you don’t have animal buddies to take care of the household chores for you.
Rune Factory 4 Special can be tedious, so you need some repetition tolerance to be able to enjoy it. If you can look past that aspect or you don’t mind, underneath you’ll find a beefy game to enjoy with elements of farming, crafting, cooking, and endless dating.
A lot to like
Relationships are at the heart of the Rune Factory 4 Special experience. As a light-hearted fantasy life simulation, the game encourages you to bond with city dwellers and singles and singles of the same age. Talking, trading, gifting, and flirting with the people of Selphia is as much a mainstay of the game as farming, crafting, and combat. In fact, Rune Factory 4 Special brings this aspect of relationship building to the fore with the Newlywed Mode as a bonus unique to this Special Edition – it’s a new story episode for your spouse in the game.
Because you have 12 potential spouses to choose from (six for men and six for women), you have a significant amount of bonus stories to unlock. Likewise, Another Episode is a fully narrated epilogue for each of the characters that takes place after the main storyline. These charming events are worth playing or watching if you like the cast.
Writing and dialogue
The writing has a few fourth wall-breaking gags and is generally light and humorous, although it also has its share of dark spots. Much of the game’s charm comes from the relationships you build with the townspeople and how they help you throughout Rune Factory 4’s three major story arcs.
The game is partially dubbed, much like the 3DS Fire Emblem Awakening game. The selected lines are fully doubled, but most scrolling text is punctuated with a few words or exclamations. The minimalist approach doesn’t bother me; Given the game’s 3DS origins, the voice work is surprisingly good overall. My only gripe is that there is no way to quickly scroll through the text or have it automatically advance. I could also do without the annoying, thunderous sound sequence that plays with the text to signify when a character speaks forcefully. Fortunately, the game does not use this effect frequently.
Can you run Rune Factory 4 Special?
To play Rune Factory 4 Special you need at least 64-bit processor and operating system, Windows 10, Intel Core i5-6400 processor, 8 GB of RAM, an Intel HD Graphics HD530 graphics card and 5 GB of disk space. For the best experience, your PC should have an Intel Core i5-9300H processor, 16GB RAM, and a GTX 1650Q GPU. Rune Factory 4 Special is not demanding, so there is no need to purchase a game processor or graphics card to run it.
On a desktop PC with a Ryzen 5 3600 processor, Nvidia RTX 2080, and 16GB of RAM, I enjoyed Rune Factory 4 at 1440p and 60FPS without a hitch. I haven’t experienced any game crashes, frame rate issues, or bugs.
Rune Factory 4 Special’s game speed is directly related to its frame rate, but Vsync is on by default, so you should get smooth 60FPS at all times. Disabling Vsync runs the game at the refresh rate set on your monitor, which in my case was comically fast turbo mode. You can switch between screen modes as well as change resolution, textures, and keyboard layout in settings, but that’s about it. The only thing that the game is noticeably missing is the ability to quit at any time or return to the main menu. You can only return to the main menu from your save log, which you have to physically travel to and access your bedside in the game. Keyboard functionality is good and fully customizable, so Rune Factory is easy to play. 4 Special whether or not you have a gamepad.
Rune Factory 4 Special is a nice game if you like cute sims with old school charm. It’s packed with fun and relaxing gameplay, tons of depth, lots of character interactions, and a huge amount of content. If you can’t stand the repetitions or the dated visual style – as an upgraded 3DS port it doesn’t have the wow factor of many modern RPGs – you might want to ignore it, however. But if you’re even a little curious about the game or the Story of Seasons franchise as a whole, Rune Factory 4 Special should be your thing.
Rune Factory 4 Special (for PC)
The bottom line
Rune Factory 4 Special offers all the life simulation, farming and action RPG of the original 3DS version – it’s perfect for fans of the Story of Seasons series or Stardew Valley.
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