Rune Factory 4 Special Review

by Jessica Kersey
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Before I start this review I just wanted to say thank you to XSEED with every fiber of my being. Rune Factory 4 was originally introduced to me by my lovely fiance as a Christmas present over seven years ago. At first, I had no idea what to expect but he told me that it was a game he felt I would really enjoy. Not only did I enjoy it but it made me fall head over heels in love with the franchise! I went on to play Tides of Destiny, Rune factory 2, 3, and 4 for another time completing it again! When news got out that the original company that brought this happiness into my life declared bankruptcy I truly cried. I think a lot of time from people who don’t have a game or even a series they are passionate about like I am toward all Rune Factory games you might think I am crazy but for those who understand the absolute beauty and just for those who also fell in love with this game then you’ll understand.

Rune Factory 4 Special Review
PublisherXSEED Games
Available OnNintendo Switch
Reviewed OnNintendo Switch
Release DateFebruary 25, 2020
Time Spent Playing70 Hours
Game Provided by XSEED Games for the Purpose of This Review

So here it is the Nintendo Direct that changed everything. It took me to see the airship to know that Rune Factory 4 Special was happening and now after playing it I am the happiest person in the world! This is really the game that trumps all games and that was before the remake even came out! So again XSEED thank you so much for rereleasing this game and not giving up on it or the fans of the series! Since I have to do a review and not from a personal point of view (in my opinion this game deserves an 18/10 but Bryan said it is not possible so Rune Factory fans, just know I am head over heels with this game and I already was before I even played it and I will continue to be as I continue to play this game. So let’s dive into this review and as one of the biggest fans of this series I will do my best to stay unbiased and give an honest review!

So right away, once you get to the main menu screen you’ll notice that there are now more options you can select to play different styles of the game. Now I originally thought that this whole honeymoon phase with your partner of choice was going to be included in the main story of this game. I was wrong. It’s its own separate section and definitely feels like DLC instead of getting a newer game. Which honestly was pretty upsetting because, yes we fans wanted to have a longer and deeper relationship with our NPC romance of choice but having to step away from the game to do it? Just feels thrown in. Don’t get me wrong I do appreciate the developers still doing that because honestly I would have been fine with the game itself and being able to play it on the big screen was enough to draw my attention and pre-order the game.

Another thing you’ll notice is that there are mini-episodes. I know a lot of people wanted to have Ventuswill as a romance option and I mean I guess we kind of do? You can marry Ventuswill but only on an extended menu and it is about 4-5 minutes of reading with pictures. So for those of you who were hoping to romance and date the Divine Dragon you’ll be more on the disappointed side. I was not able to dive into more on that section of the game. I do think it will be worth looking into it because I think that any extra content you can get in a game is worth checking out.

In Rune Factory 4 Special you play as Earthmate Lest or Frey. You are on a ship to deliver earthstones to someone. You get attacked and fall off an airship. Conveniently falling on the Divine Dragon of Wind: Ventuswill. You have amnesia from the fall but have no fear because everyone in town takes you in and you even become a stand-in Prince or Princess for the time being! HOW LUCKY! Ventuswill and yourself build a strong friendship and as you live your life you start to explore the land outside Selphia. I don’t want to give up more of the story because that’s stepping toward spoiler territory and I don’t want to do that. One of the things I truly love about Rune Factory games is you can play at your own pace. You can power through the game if you want or you can spend your time tending your farm, forging, crafting, cooking, and more. Plus you might get a town event and those are always fun to experience.

As for the game itself, one thing that made me love Rune Factory 4 over the others is that you get to actually pick if you want to play as a male or a female. Lest or Frey? I personally always pick Frey at first and get all my romances up with the men and then I’ll go through and play as Lest. Now there were two pretty big differences that stood out to me almost instantly.

First was ALL THE SAVE FILES! We officially have more than three save files! I mean for having so many different romance options, it was ridiculous trying to fit all of that on three saves so thank you for giving us more! Another thing I noticed was that when you are farming, some of the tools work differently. Like when you’re watering a plant you can keep walking and press B and you can continue watering your plants. It helps to save RP so it’s very convenient.

I would normally spend my time leveling up a skill or trying to advance the story. I have an issue of not checking on my farm but you can befriend animals and once you become closer to your animals they will help you out on your farm which is nice. Especially if you’re like me and sometimes forget to tend to it. I think cooking is definitely an important skill to focus on because you can use the food as gifts and also help give you health and RP while in battle. Once you get into the routine of everything you’ll notice that the days never get boring because there is always something to do. Need more RP? For $300 you can take a bath (which also raises in skills) so you can continue on your day! Obviously the more time you spend exploring everywhere, advancing in the story, and building friendships you’ll unlock new events and start to fall in love with everyone in the town and their stories.

Being a Special Edition (or, for the lack of a better way to put it, enhanced edition), I did, unfortunately, have a bit more hope in terms of the way the game was going to look on the Nintendo Switch when it released. Rune Factory 4 Special is basically just scaled up to fit a different handheld screen or actual TV set this time around, seeing as the original came out on the 3DS seven years ago. Touching up a few graphical things here and there, fixing some of the glitches that were present the first time around (they’re all still there), and just making the game look a bit more modern would have gone a long way to convince those on the fence about picking up this game into possible buy territory.

I will always recommend this game and I already always do. As I said before this game means so much to me and the fact that XSEED brought it back and is even working on Rune Factory 5 is enough to keep a big smile on my face! I think if you were a first time player buying this game online and getting the $39.99 copy would be perfect for you. I personally got the Archive Edition to help support this game and so we can continue to get more Rune Factory games in the future. So thank you XSEED for brining back this loved and underappreciated series!

Final Words
Rune Factory 4 Special revitalizes a once-thought-dead franchise and while it still has some flaws, gives fans of the series just enough extra content to help ease the wait for Rune Factory 5.
The Good
Great voice acting
Newly added content is fun and exciting
Perfect blend of Story of Seasons and Stardew Valley
The Bad
Graphics could have been improved
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