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 [Official] Rune Factory Frontier

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ndoto

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PostSubject: [Official] Rune Factory Frontier   Wed May 05, 2010 8:36 pm




Genre: Simulation/Action RPG
Developer: Neverland Co.
Publisher: JPN - Marvelous Entertainment
NA - Xseed Games
EU - Rising Star Games
Players: 1
Release Date: JPN - Nov. 27, 2008
NA - Mar. 17, 2009
EU - Apr. 1, 2010

US Trailer:


Opening Movie:


In 2006, Marvelous published two new spin-offs to their popular Harvest Moon franchise of farming simulation games: "Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon" for the PSP (developed by ArtePiazza, the studio who designed the DS remakes of Dragon Quest IV-VI) and "Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon" for the Nintendo DS (developed by Neverland, the studio who created the Lufia series of games). Although Innocent Life was given an enhanced re-release on the PS2, it was the Rune Factory series that truly caught on, spawning 2 sequels for the DS and 1 for the Wii. The spin-off's success was great enough that Marvelous and Neverland dropped the "Harvest Moon" subtitle from subsequent games in the series, wanting to develop Rune Factory into its own franchise.

The latest Rune Factory game to see a release outside of Japan is "Rune Factory Frontier" for the Nintendo Wii. The game builds upon some of the main characters and events of the first Rune Factory for the DS: you are Raguna, an amnesiac boy who was taken in and cared for by Mist, a strange (and slightly spacey) girl. Rune Factory Frontier builds upon an alternate timeline wherein Mist suddenly disappears, and Raguna tracks her down to a village called Trampoli where she has seemingly settled. After finding Mist, Raguna decides to settle in Trampoli as well, in an attempt to find out what it was that drew Mist to this place. Raguna is given a field and a farmhouse to stay in, and begins to try to make a living by working the land.

For anyone who has played a previous Harvest Moon title, the farming aspect will be mostly straightforward. For those who haven't, the basic formula is to use your starting money to buy seeds dependent on the season, clear the fields, till the soil, plant the seeds and water and care for them until they are ready for harvest. The amount of activity you can manage in one day is determined by your "Rune Points", or RP. Actions (such as tilling a square of field or watering a plant) cost a certain number of RP to perform, and once you're out, you must either find a way to replenish your RP, head to bed and advance to the next day, or begin using your HP to perform actions instead - and if you faint from exhaustion, you will wake up late the next day and be sick from overexerting yourself. Between your farming endeavors, you can meet the townspeople, make friends, try to woo a number of different girls, and eventually choose one to marry.

What really sets the Rune Factory series apart is the introduction of action RPG elements with dungeon exploration. In addition to spending time farming and interacting with townspeople, Raguna can don armor and a weapon and head down into a number of different dungeons to fight enemies and level up, increasing his HP and stats. If playing with the Wiimote+Nunchuk rather than the Classic Controller, you can swing the remote to perform your attacks. Attacking costs RP, however, so it's important for the player to balance the need to take care of the farm with the need to explore the various dungeons. This can be eased somewhat by the fields that exist within dungeons. If seeds are planted and cared for in a dungeon field, then upon being ready to harvest, the field will generate a Rune which can restore your RP. These Runes will reappear daily as long as the grown crops are not harvested (they will not wither in dungeons once grown).

Crop growth can be influenced by collecting different spirits from all over town known as "Runeys". Runeys come in four elemental varieties - Grass, Tree, Rock and Water - that prey upon each other in a sort of "food chain". Water Runeys eat Rock Runeys which eat Tree Runeys which eat Grass Runeys. The complexity of this system is in the fact that Grass Runeys do not need to eat and Water Runeys have no natural predator, so if ignored, the ecosystem will become unbalanced and your crops' growth will suffer. Using an item called the Harvester, the player can take Runeys from a given area and move them somewhere else to try to "balance" the ecosystem. A harmoniously balanced ecosystem bestows great benefits upon crop growth, both in and outside of dungeons. This is the aspect of the game that is most challenging to manage properly, and there are many FAQs about proper Runey placement and ratios to maintain a perfectly balanced ecosystem.

The amount of activities in this game will never leave you without something to do. Beyond farming (both outside and inside dungeons), interacting with townspeople, and the dungeon exploration/progression itself, players can also fish, craft items (by cooking, forging weapons/armor/tools, synthesizing potions/medicine/fertilizer for crops), and even collect monsters from dungeons to care for. These monsters can be taken along with you into dungeons to help you battle, can provide raw goods for your farm (e.g., a cow-type monster can provide you with milk if cared for properly) and some can even help you with chores such as watering plants and harvesting your crops!

I wanted to create an official topic for this game seeing as how it is still a relatively new release in Europe especially, and since I first picked the game up about a month ago, I have not been able to put it down! I'm sure the Harvest Moon farming sim type of game is a sort of niche genre, and this game might not be for everyone. But with so many fun activities and gameplay, good graphics, nice music, good voice acting and even some anime-style cutscenes, if you ARE a fan of the genre or have been interested in trying out a Harvest Moon game, I can definitely recommend you give Rune Factory Frontier a shot!
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PostSubject: Re: [Official] Rune Factory Frontier   Thu May 06, 2010 5:37 pm

awesome official topic, ndoto! ^^ I've been intrigued by this game quite a lot :3 I think I'll grab it as soon as I get the chance and probably will review it as well! ^^
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ndoto

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PostSubject: Re: [Official] Rune Factory Frontier   Thu May 06, 2010 7:28 pm

Heehee, thank you, Sparky! :3 I'm glad you approve!

And, awesome! Very Happy I think it's a very fun game, so I hope you'll enjoy it as well!
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