Developed By: Marvelous Inc Published By: XSEED Games Categories: RPG, farming, life-sim Release Date: 09.05.23 Price: $39.99 *Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review.
When it comes to farm-sim RPG’s, nothing comes close to the likes of Stardew Valley or Harvestella, but when it comes to series, Rune factory Is my favorite by far. It all started with Rune Factory 5 on the Switch because I wasn’t too interested in the game but when I saw the Earthmate Edition, I knew that I had to get it as a collector. I thought the game itself looked good from the trailers but I was really impressed by this version and all the things that it came with, even saying that it’s the best Collectors Edition that I ever owned in my review.
After playing 5 for a while, I thought it was decent but it really made me want to play the older games in the series, so I picked up Rune factory 4 Special and it quickly became one of my favorites. The gameplay of these types of games is always lots of fun with a ton of content for a decent price and Rune Factory 3 Special was no exception. I wasn’t too much a fan of the special edition in this case, but I really enjoyed the game itself and ended up playing it for nearly as long as I had played Rune Factory 4.
Despite the game being a farming game, that was the aspect that I spent the least amount of time on since my main focus was with the characters. I personally feel like the Rune Factory games have the best character systems of any farming game that I have ever played. I have played many Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons games along with many one-offs in the genre and none came close to me. Sometimes I would even go long periods of time not even doing any farming, I would just wake up, interact with the characters that I liked, and go back to bed without doing anything else.
I would do this for a few in-game weeks because I had so much fun getting to know each character and working on growing my relationship with them. For the first few hours of playing, I would grow a batch of toyherb and then give them to the characters I liked and then rinse and repeat. I went through an in-game month in less than an hour but was able to get multiple characters to really high relationship levels as a result. I know that’s not really what you should do, but I had so much fun with this because the characters really are the lifeblood of the series. There’s so many characters to interact with and they’re all well thought out with a ton of great personalities and story stuff.
Every time you interact with one of the bachelorettes, you gain love points and that increases their relationship level with you. Increasing that level allows you to unlock more dialogue with that character and you can start dating, towards the end of the game you’ll be able to get married to them too. In total there are 11 bachelorettes to work with and once you’ve gotten married and beat the game, you can start Newlywed Mode. This is basically an additional chapter that takes place after the main story with your chosen wife. During my main playthrough, I went with Raven and for the Newlywed Mode, it was a few quests with a lot of additional dialogue and content. These chapters are really just so sweet.
When it comes to visuals, the game looks amazing. The enlivenments look pretty good but the backgrounds and many of the extra textures look fantastic. There was a time when I left the village and stood at the edge of a cliff, and I was just so impressed by the view. The buildings also have really nice textures, and the character designs are nice. The only complaint would be that the 3D models were a bit rough but that’s to be expected since the original game that this remastered is nearly 15 years old. That opening animation was sick though.
As for the sound, it was quite a mixed bag. The voice acting was really jarring at times because there were moments where a character would go dozens of lines while being silent or giving one-word statements and then they’d have one or two fully voiced lines before being silent again. I wasn’t really a fan of that, though the voice performances themselves were pretty good. The music and sound design were pretty good as well, there were a few nice songs and there was a ton of ambient noise.
The story of Rune Factory 3 Special is pretty standard, you literally fall from the sky into the middle of a village. Without any questions asked, you’re given a house for free and are put in charge of the only farm in the village. You’re also half-monster but that side of the story is more of something you should experience yourself. It’s definitely an interesting story at times but the gameplay and the character relationships took precedence for me.
There were only two minor issues that I had with the game. The first is that the controls when farming seemed to be a bit off. I was playing with a Pro Controller, and I always seemed to miss the spot that I was trying to click on and overshoot the area when moving. So instead of interacting with the item or plot that I was aiming for, I would miss it or accidently throw what I was holding instead. The other issue I had was that RP depleted way too quickly near the start of the game. This made things challenging because I could only attack a handful of monsters before I needed to head back home. This made exploring difficult during the first few hours.
If you’re playing just to interact with the characters and you don’t even care too much about the other stuff like I did, you’re still going to get many hours of playtime because there’s so much content. If you love the entire package of story, farming, combat, exploration, and characters, you could spend 50 to 70 hours playing the main game before even getting to the 11 Newlywed Mode chapters. This game also has a lot of content that the original game didn’t have like the Newlywed Mode’s but also animated cutscenes and a hell mode. That’s great for a game that only cost $30. Personally, I didn’t like Rune Factory 3 Special as much as 4, but it’s still an amazing game that you should pick up.