The Harvest Moon series has been very successful and a lot of games have tried to use its base gameplay formula. Rune Factory has always been about farming and sticking pretty close to that mold. The newest game called: Rune Factory Oceans see us farming but this time there is much more emphasis put on fighting, monster collecting and more of an RPG style than before. The graphics are pretty bright and the character animations are typical mange drawings. The backgrounds do look really lovely at times and other times do get a bit blocky. The sounds are what you would expect with mellow tunes mixed with guitar solos. The controls are simple yet complex at the same time, fighting is very basic and will annoy some gamers whilst others will like the simple button bashing and moving style.
We will be looking at the PS3 version and I believe this is the first time that the series has been ported over to this platform. This game is also PS Move enabled meaning you can use your Move controller as you see fit. The controls are pretty basic and both Dualshock 3 and Move controllers are easy to use. I did find the Move controller to be a bit clunkier so I stuck with the Dualshock 3 wireless controller. You move with the left analog and the right analog calls monsters to aid you. The map is viewed with the L2 button and the R1 and R2 buttons are used to pick up/ put away items and access the quick equip menu respectively. You attack with the square button and the X button is your main button as it does everything such as talking, investigating and jumping. Once you are in the menu you have some options including the memories tab where you access cinematic sequences you unlocked, comparing scores with others and of course continuing your game.
The story is typically a crazy one, your two friends a boy called Aden and a girl called Sonja. We see our two friends praying for crops to grow and as they are walking a brilliant light hits them and they are both put in Aden’s body. To make things worse you wake up in a strange town and it’s your job to find out what happened and to split the two people up. A local girl shows you around and gives you a basic tutorial for the game and all the aspects. Get ready for a good while of learning and listening as this part of the game will drag out a lot. However push on and you will be rewarded with a pretty decent game. As mentioned this game is more about fighting, exploring and catching monsters. The farming aspect is there but is mostly handled by the monsters you get. The town itself is vibrant, cool and interesting; there is a lot to do and lots of people to interact with and quests to get on the notice boards. As you play you build relationships and friendships. The more tasks you complete for people the more gifts you get and maybe even find yourself a love interest. The notice board is located in the Three Sisters Inn and is like the hub of quests for you.
As with other games in this genre there is the market and it’s open every Thursday from 12pm to 6pm. This is where you can use the chests you find during gameplay and see what’s inside for free. You can also buy any upgrades for your house as well as those all important Rune abilities. One of the most novel and fun aspects of this game is the way in which you travel across the seas to different islands. You ride a giant plant golem called Ymir. As you’re traversing the seas you will also encounter monsters which Ymir must fight and this is done with the square button as normal combat dictates. The main part of this game is the monsters; these monsters can increase your stats, improve faming and you can also take some of them with you as a party that aid you in battles. The way you catch them is typically cute, you simply brush them and groom them. The tamed ones then are sent to Ymir’s barn where you can sort them out. Some monsters will also produce items for you like milk or fleece, sort of like healers. One thing you will notice is that this whole game is not very difficult, in fact most aspects are downright easy, the combat is easy to win and even the boss battles are not that hard. The farming has been decreased in difficulty as well as the monsters do most of it. The story is told well and the characters themselves are unique and actually quite funny. Its very text heavy as with all games of this nature but you can fast forward through everything if you so choose.
Rising Star Games and Neverland Co have given fans of the series what they like. This is more of the fun farming JRPG that fans will enjoy. The characters and story are addictive as is the game itself; the simplistic nature allows it to be accessible to more gamers rather than just the hardcore fan base. Some gamers will be annoyed with the simple farming and fighting aspects but most likely they are not the people that bought this game. Most likely a niche game for specific fans I would say. I am a fan of this game as the story has pulled me in and it makes a refreshing change to just explore and relax with a game rather than be constantly on edge or shooting something until it dies. This game will calm you down and relax you as you play. Give it a try and who knows you may like it as it has over 70 hours of gaming that may just be worth it to you. The Move controls for the PS3 are fine but for me it didn’t really make a difference. Even though this title does not push the PS3 in terms of graphics they are still delightful and this is a game you should enjoy.
- The characters and story are addictive as is the game itself
- Accessible game for casual and hardcore alikes
- PS Move controls are clunky
The characters and story are addictive as is the game itself; the simplistic nature allows it to be accessible to more gamers rather than just the hardcore fan base.
- Format: PlayStation 3,
- PS Move Support: Yes,
- Publisher Neverland,