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Rune Factory: Frontier

Green NuGreen Nu MemberFull Members
edited December 2009 in Staff Review Blogs
04/05/09

about 14 hours in

I figured I might as well try out doing a review blog for this game. I'm not all about these blogs but maybe I will keep this one up.

People always talk about how they despise the Harvest Moon games, but there must be a solid fan base out there somewhere to support the massive amount of titles in the series. This is my very FIRST "Harvest Moon" game EVER (I know Rune Factory is a little different but it's technically a Harvest Moon). I have never even touched the stuff before. I'm a fan of games that have "simulation" and other more hardcore adjectives in front of the word(s?) "RPG" so I really wanted to try out Frontier.

The most surprising part of my early play is that I became hooked. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of direction for the player, but that makes discovery a rewarding factor. The game also seems to be pretty deep, much deeper than I thought. Tedium does set in when you have a lot of crops to water and pick, but supposedly you can get monsters to help with these menial farming tasks later (I haven't quite gotten any useful creatures yet ... wtb one that will water my plants).

Each day in Frontier takes 24 minutes in real time, and actions take RP (and then HP When RP runs out) so they are limited to a degree. If you run out of HP you will pass out, possibly be given a sickness, and wake up later than normal in the next day. One of the nice parts of Frontier is that if you don't feel like doing something, you can always do something else. Don't feel like watering your plants? Leave them and go to the dungeon. Don't feel like going to the dungeon? Spend the entire day forging, cooking, or fishing. I just wish I could figure out how to get lumber more quickly so I can upgrade my crafting abilities, but I'm sure I will soon. The limits on each of my days can feel somewhat frustrating, but with a little thought there are ways around most of the game's frustrations such as this. Cooking certain foods will replenish my RP and enable me to do more during a day. Watering plants or tilling the ground was taking a while, but upgrading my watering can and hoe thing enabled me to do it to multiple squares at a time.

My first impression of Frontier is pretty good. It's addictive for sure. Though there are tutorials for the basics of everything, many of the game's specifics require a bit more figuring out on my own than I'd like, but that's okay so far. For example, I know that giving town residents gifts will raise their friendship level with me, but I'm not quite sure how to raise love level. Some girls love me and I don't know why. Maybe I'm just a pimp with the hoe.

I feel awful about myself now.

25 hours in

I came here to vent.

What the hellllllllll. The game's town has various areas and each area has a distribution of 4 different kinds of Runeys. Runeys eat each other, die out, multiply, whatever etc. When Runeys flourish, your crops grow better and whatnot. When they die out, it hurts your crop growth. I like this system in itself but the way it is handled is stupid. You cannot view the distribution of Runeys except at a specific building (or by talking to a specific character), so running back and forth to figure out what you should throw where is annoying just to begin with. Second of all, the way these things multiply and die out is not the easiest thing to figure out without a FAQ of some sort, and I'm not a FAQ fan. I know the game explains things but maybe it's not quite as clear as it should be. I'm sure I'll figure it out in 10 minutes and feel stupid for posting this, but whatever. Third, collecting Runeys involves equipping a harvester and moving near the floating creatures and sucking them in, which takes forever when you can only collect 1-5 at a time, though on average it tends to be 1 or 2. System would have been much better if you could always look up what number Runeys are where, if the rules were more clearly defined, and if collecting them wasn't such a pain in the terd.

I'm done now. Game is still pretty fun. If I could just figure out what I'm supposed to do next for the story.

32 hours

I'm going to be playing this game for a long time, it seems. I normally play games for much longer than the average person, and with everything there is to do in Rune Factory: Frontier the game is feeding right into that.

So, the Runey system actually isn't that bad. That's the reason I'm not totally into these blogs, because normally I'll change my mind about something a day later. Anyway, I like the Runey system now, because it fills a hole in RFF's gameplay. If you run out of RP (used to perform actions) and don't have any cooked food handy to restore it, evening out the Runey population gives you something to do that doesn't cost any RP. Plus, as long as you keep an eye on it regularly, it's not hard at all. I look forward to getting all my areas into prosperity.

I didn't know I could chop the large stumps by hitting them about 12 times. I thought I needed to upgrade my axe to the next level to chop those things. Strangely enough, a grizzed 50+ war veteran that comes into the place I work revealed this tidbit of information to me. Yes, he plays RFF and we had about a 30 min conversation about things to do in the game. Now I've got my whole garden tilled and cleared out, with the aid of a rock-eating slime.

Another game (soon to be revealed??) is going to be taking up the majority of my play time for now, but I'm going to try to pop into RFF to keep things up and to possibly beat it by the end of the year grinning.gif



You must gather your party before venturing forth

Comments

  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited April 2009
    Reading this filled with a lot of joy. I definitely had a good laugh and I'm glad your enjoying this game. Also games that allow you to be a virtual pimp is awesome!

    And I think you've inspired me to get off my butt and try finish Rune Factory 2. tounge2.gif
  • RebochanRebochan Who needs Rinoa anyway? Full Members
    edited April 2009
    I played this one hoping to do a review audition with it, but that's been right out due to time. I still enjoyed the game.

    Pro-tip - watch your Runeys! Once Kanno and his granddaughters move into the Clock Tower, you can keep a count of Runey distribution and they'll give you a device for harvesting them (you also need this for getting milk/eggs/etc. from livestock later). Watch those Runey numbers and keep them even. If they die out, your crops will start turning into duds. On the upside, if you grow the Runey numbers over time, eventually you get bonuses for each area with all the Runey types possessing populations over 35.

    I'm saying all this right now because the game is not nearly clear enough in its explanations on Runeys.
    "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited April 2009
    I played this one hoping to do a review audition with it, but that's been right out due to time. I still enjoyed the game.

    Pro-tip - watch your Runeys! Once Kanno and his granddaughters move into the Clock Tower, you can keep a count of Runey distribution and they'll give you a device for harvesting them (you also need this for getting milk/eggs/etc. from livestock later). Watch those Runey numbers and keep them even. If they die out, your crops will start turning into duds. On the upside, if you grow the Runey numbers over time, eventually you get bonuses for each area with all the Runey types possessing populations over 35.

    I'm saying all this right now because the game is not nearly clear enough in its explanations on Runeys.
    Does Runey population matter in areas other than at my homestead?
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • RebochanRebochan Who needs Rinoa anyway? Full Members
    edited April 2009
    I played this one hoping to do a review audition with it, but that's been right out due to time. I still enjoyed the game.

    Pro-tip - watch your Runeys! Once Kanno and his granddaughters move into the Clock Tower, you can keep a count of Runey distribution and they'll give you a device for harvesting them (you also need this for getting milk/eggs/etc. from livestock later). Watch those Runey numbers and keep them even. If they die out, your crops will start turning into duds. On the upside, if you grow the Runey numbers over time, eventually you get bonuses for each area with all the Runey types possessing populations over 35.

    I'm saying all this right now because the game is not nearly clear enough in its explanations on Runeys.
    Does Runey population matter in areas other than at my homestead?
    Yes, actually - every area that has all the Runeys die out affects your crop growth. On the upside, every area with the balanced count increases your crop growth.

    I was shocked to find out how deep the Runey system was. It's not too terribly hard - raising them on the Homestead is easy since they multiply every time a crop is ready for harvest, and then you just start distributing surplus Runeys. It's just a little tricky early on if you don't know about this mechanic and do what I did and blow them off.
    "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited April 2009
    I played this one hoping to do a review audition with it, but that's been right out due to time. I still enjoyed the game.

    Pro-tip - watch your Runeys! Once Kanno and his granddaughters move into the Clock Tower, you can keep a count of Runey distribution and they'll give you a device for harvesting them (you also need this for getting milk/eggs/etc. from livestock later). Watch those Runey numbers and keep them even. If they die out, your crops will start turning into duds. On the upside, if you grow the Runey numbers over time, eventually you get bonuses for each area with all the Runey types possessing populations over 35.

    I'm saying all this right now because the game is not nearly clear enough in its explanations on Runeys.
    Does Runey population matter in areas other than at my homestead?
    Yes, actually - every area that has all the Runeys die out affects your crop growth. On the upside, every area with the balanced count increases your crop growth.

    I was shocked to find out how deep the Runey system was. It's not too terribly hard - raising them on the Homestead is easy since they multiply every time a crop is ready for harvest, and then you just start distributing surplus Runeys. It's just a little tricky early on if you don't know about this mechanic and do what I did and blow them off.
    Crap I knew they were important but I wasn't sure I had to balance them everywhere. I guess I'll get on that now. So much to do in this game.........so little time to do it in...........



    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • RebochanRebochan Who needs Rinoa anyway? Full Members
    edited April 2009
    Crap I knew they were important but I wasn't sure I had to balance them everywhere. I guess I'll get on that now. So much to do in this game.........so little time to do it in...........
    Well on the upside, it's not like you have a time limit. You could take five years of gametime without setting foot in a dungeon and the story will just stay in place, twiddling its thumbs.

    When I put it down, I was just out of Spring and I still hadn't finished the first dungeon since I was mostly focusing on getting the farm running and getting my dungeon crops ready. I also had to play emergency conservationist with the Runeys. I'll admit to being a little evil - I had a few spots where certain Runeys were almost dead, so I sucked up the remainders, dumped them on my farm, and let the excess population starve off until they were manageable. I am such an evil farmer devil.gif
    "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited April 2009
    That's true, the time limits are pretty much artificial outside of growing season-specific crops on the Homestead.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited April 2009
    updated
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • RebochanRebochan Who needs Rinoa anyway? Full Members
    edited April 2009
    Right, here's what you need to know about Runeys.

    They have a very simple eco-system. Water eats Rock, Rock eats Tree, Tree eats Grass, Grass eats nothing. So long as they're all in balance, they'll grow. If they get far enough out of balance, they'll start dying out as the predators eat away their food source.

    Each area except the Homestead has a native Runey type that encourages their growth over the other three types. The Homestead is neutral. Every time a crop ripens for harvest, it gives a big boost to the Runey numbers on the Homestead. Since this is the easiest place to raise Runeys without one of them overwhelming another, it's best to use this place as a "breeding ground" and spread the Runey love to other areas. I usually grab any Runey type that has more than 35 pop and whittle them down.

    Yes, this requires checking the computer and writing down or memorizing the numbers. Sigh.

    The biggest problem with Runey population is the easy overpopulation of Water Runeys. Water Runeys have two areas that give them a huge boost, and they get additional boosts from rain (even on the homestead). If you used water runeys to make a rainy week, stay on top of their numbers. The Water Runeys are the easiest to grow out of control, which causes them to cannibalize Rock, which lets the Trees get out of control and devour Grass.

    I've actually found the most evil solution for dealing with overpopulation is also the easiest. If you have an area with overpopulation significantly out of whack, just drain the food source type and drop them either in your inventory or your homestead. They will die out a little every day. It may sound evil to actually starve Runeys to death, but its for their own good! Really! It also save you a billion headaches of trying to drain enough in one day, which can kill a lot of your time. Eventually they'll be low enough that repopulating the food source won't be as much of a hassle.

    The good news is there is a population cap - there can't be more than 60 Runeys of the same type in a zone. If you do eventually get an area up to 60 of each type, you're pretty much set for the rest of the game.

    So, as for the story mode: have you progressed through the dungeon in Whale Island? That's your first dungeon of the game.

    Oh, and one more thing on the girls - most of them also respond to certain activities you undertake along with gifts. Mist gains hearts just by you *tilling soil*. Rosetta gains hearts when you ship vegetables. These two are hands down the easiest girls to date and marry.



    "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited April 2009
    I've gotten to level 3 of Whale Island and talked to the guy there. Just been into the Green Ruins and am going to go about finding the next place to go now.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited April 2009
    updated
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited May 2009
    My wife just started playing this game a few days ago and cannot get enough of it. She doesn't normally stick with games that don't have "Sims" or "Ultima Online" in the title...so we'll have to see what happens with this. But, for now, she totally loves it
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Green NuGreen Nu Member Full Members
    edited May 2009
    My wife just started playing this game a few days ago and cannot get enough of it. She doesn't normally stick with games that don't have "Sims" or "Ultima Online" in the title...so we'll have to see what happens with this. But, for now, she totally loves it
    I kind of love it too, but the problem is that it feeds my "play games for longer than usual" need. Already 45-ish hours and I don't think I'm nearly done.
    You must gather your party before venturing forth
  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited October 2009
    I'm playing this now. After ~70 hours I gave up and consulted a FAQ. Progressing much faster now.
    I am having a real tough time finding Little Crystals. I haven't found one! They are needed for the best tools and weapons in the game. I think it's time to open up those doors in the final dungeon and see if any are hiding behind them.

    It took me _forever_ to figure out that using your hammer special attack on rocks results in <span class="spoiler">higher quality</span> ores/gems. Using your hammer special attack on cornucopia trees results in <span class="spoiler">higher quality</span> fruit. It also took a little trial and error to figure out how Greenifier works. It doesn't make your crops grow faster like it says in the item description. I read a FAQ to figure out how runeys work, but I still can't manage to get all the areas to prosperity.

    It takes _forever_ to grow the 120-day flowers. Forever! I haven't even got the 40-day flowers yet.
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited December 2009
This discussion has been closed.