GamingReview: Rune Factory 5

Review: Rune Factory 5

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After ten long years of waiting, the Rune Factory franchise has been reignited for Nintendo Switch. The release of Rune Factory 5 has been long awaited by hundreds of fans ready to dive into dungeon crawling. With farming sims currently taking the internet by storm, Rune Factory 5 has been released outside of Japan at the perfect time. 

If you’re searching for a sweet, simple pastime, then let’s explore what Rune Factory 5 has to offer.

Rune Factory 5 is available now on Nintendo Switch.

After awakening in the midst of an unknown land, you are diagnosed with amnesia. Your protagonist will struggle to remember who they are and how they arrived in the location. Obviously after some lengthy introductions, it’s your job to uncover these truths. You’re quickly taken in by a team called SEED, and taken on a tour of where you’ll stay for the next length of time. Several characters are also introduced, which may seem overwhelming to begin with, but throughout the title you’ll learn more about them. Making them far more memorable than your first interactions. 

A stylish set of hello’s

Rune Factory 5 walks you through a lengthy tutorial to help you get to grips. At the beginning of the game, things feel quite slow in terms of pace. But as any good farming based simulator goes, this is the best way to get to grips with your homeland. You don’t learn Pelican Town off by heart during your first interaction in Stardew Valley, nor Mineral Town in Story of Seasons. Plus in Rune Factory, there are a huge number of people to meet. Starting off by walking around the town to introduce yourself is necessary. 

However despite its stylish animated introduction sequence, the map itself feels a little empty. There are several large spaces with no selling point across the map and rather than bulking it out with uninhabited buildings or natural beauty, textures are flat. Which goes for the majority of the map. It just feels like it’s lacking a lot of promised detail. There is a mechanic which allows you to sacrifice a few frame rates for a higher quality look, but even then it doesn’t feel much different. 

It appears that the majority of art perfection has gone into character design, which can be said for the majority of previously released Rune Factory titles. Specifically, dialogue portraits retain a certain level of detail which the core game misses. The same can be said for the frequent animated cutscenes which mirror the intense opening number of RF5. They certainly look the part, and are beneficial for players looking to get their romance on. Several cutscenes will also follow the romancing of certain characters so be sure to check the map to see where these are. They can’t be skipped though, so maybe take this as a break to get some snacks. 

Farming & becoming familiar

As mentioned already, farming plays a huge part in what makes Rune Factory enjoyable. It’s praised for its farming factor, but upon completing the tutorial, it’s pretty similar to any other encounters you’ll have with farming in an RPG game. You already have access to money making through shipping items, and you’re told when to grow certain crops. Also, you’ll learn the frustrations of tool upgrade for what feels like the hundredth time, so those pesky boulders will have to stay for a little while longer. 

Once you get to grips with the map you’ll notice just how much Rune Factory 5 has to offer. Even hours into the title, dungeons and areas of a map start to appear which you may have originally missed. Disregarding a few graphical errors, the game does have an extremely rich storyline and is far from lacking in content. It’s a shame that there are several elements of gameplay which cause input delay, which results in a pretty poor approach to combat. 

Input delays and a skills for days

Combat is one of Rune Factories unique selling points. Unlike its competitors like anything from Story of Seasons, there’s a lot of combat involved in leveling. It’s not integral to having a good time with the title, and players are able to pick it up when and if they please, but it isn’t exactly worth picking up either. If you’re playing this title in handheld via Nintendo Switch, you’ll probably have a more beneficial time in combat. But if you play the console docked, then prepare yourself for several instances of button delay which will cause frustrating mishaps. It’s a shame, as some of the enemy design in this game is truly beautiful. But if there’s one thing to put you off engaging in combat, it’s lag. 

Alongside leveling through combat, Rune Factory 5 has an extremely overwhelming skill set. There are almost too many skills to master. And far too many different crafting tables to memorize in order to pursue them. They’re scattered throughout your hometown to make sure you’ve always got easy access to them. Eventually you can place them in your own home. But for the beginning of the game, try and learn as much as you can. As you progress, you’ll eventually lose the ability to use base weapons and need to upgrade. But in order to do so you’ll need to understand how to do that. It’s all explained simply to you during the course of the game, but it’s worth spending some time mastering when you can. 

A soundtrack to swoon over

If there’s one extremely notable feature to Rune Factory, it would be it’s charming soundtrack. Every adventurer needs a score to explore alongside. And this game certainly delivers. Several areas are accompanied by a set of wonderful tunes. They aren’t repetitive and in-your-face either, so you can quite happily go about your day without really noticing it. I thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack. So much so I’ve had it on in the background when going about my own real life tasks. 

Final thoughts

As a whole, I struggle to say that Rune Factory 5 was worth the 10 year wait. You’d expect such a sought after title would show some development since it’s previous title in 2012, but I can’t say this game delivers. There are definitely elements which are thoroughly enjoyable. The more time you put into the title, the more fun you’ll have. If you’re bored of every other farming sim and release from Rising Star, maybe this game could suit what you’re looking for. But if you’re searching for something a little more groundbreaking then you may want to keep looking.

SUMMARY

In the sleepy border town of Rigbarth, mysterious events are unfolding, affecting the runes that govern the balance between humanity and nature…

+ More than enough content
+ Expansive map to sink teeth into
+ Art style is charming and cute
- Input delay really dampens combat
- Graphics make the map look bland
- Doesn't really move smoothly on Switch
- Nothing stands out or feels different to RF4 from 2012

This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
Kara Phillips
Kara Phillips
Fell in love with gaming after receiving a Nintendo DS for Christmas in 2006, which lead to pouring her heart and soul into the world of Nintendo since.
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Review: Rune Factory 5In the sleepy border town of Rigbarth, mysterious events are unfolding, affecting the runes that govern the balance between humanity and nature… <br /> <br /> + More than enough content <br /> + Expansive map to sink teeth into <br /> + Art style is charming and cute <br /> - Input delay really dampens combat <br /> - Graphics make the map look bland <br /> - Doesn't really move smoothly on Switch <br /> - Nothing stands out or feels different to RF4 from 2012 <br /> <br /> This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.