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    jp's Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (DS)

    [June 5, 2009 08:35:02 PM]
    I feel weird saying that after playing this game for approximately 12 hours, I don't have all that much to say. There really isn't all that much going on in this game that is compelling. All the right elements are there, but for some reason they didn't gel with me.

    Actually, I do have some sense of what's going on. RF is a very open game in the sense that you don't really have many game-imposed goals to follow. It's similar in this sense to Animal Crossing, and not so similar to say, a GTA game (where the story mode is much more prevalent). Similarly to Animal Crossing, the characters you interact with you plant goal seeds that you can take up or not. For example, a character might mention that there's a baking competition coming up in two weeks and that you should compete. It doesn't matter if you do or don't, but it gives you a target to aim for.

    And THAT'S the main problem I've had.

    I've felt that I've spent most of my time playing taunted by goals I can't achieve (can't participate in the baking competition if you can't cook, don't have recipes or the money to buy a kitchen, and there isn't enough time to make enough money to get everything you need in time). Seeing how most of the goals I was presented with were unattainable, I opted for self-imposed goals. I wanted to farm and I wanted to improve my farming implements. (this was sort of a suggested goal as well...actually). However, I wasn't able to figure out how to trigger certain events that would make certain characters (I didn't know which ones) provide me with the items I needed in order for me to actually do what I wanted to do. Sigh. In my particular case, I wanted to improve the watering can which meant I needed some iron which I knew I had to get from a cave. However, I didn't have the tool necessary for mining and I had no idea how to get it because you can't until you've met an unknown pre-requisite condition that triggers the particular character into giving you the tool when you talk to them. Phew. So, I spent a LOT of time talking to people and doing random stuff. I don't know what worked, but eventually got the tool.

    So, I guess I got bored of a game I wasn't willing to play the right way. I'm supposed to give presents to the characters but I found that I was too busy farming (you can only do so much in a day before your character collapses exhausted) to do anything else. In fact, it's interesting to note how the activity cycles of the villagers essentially shoehorn you into the farming, which I then felt I couldn't abandon. (if you don't water your plants they won't grow...). Everyday starts at 6am and all the stores don't open until 9am (some much later), so you have to pass the time somehow... Interestingly, rainy days are a relief because you don't have to water, and thus have more time! However, there isn't much to do until 9am anyways! (and you don't actually want to do anything, because that will sap your strength and leave you weakened to do other stuff!)

    I was also surprised by stormy days. On stormy days you can't leave your house. In my case, that meant I couldn't do anything at all that day! I think it might be a sly way to encourage players to start doing things in the house (cooking?) but I wouldn't know because I always went straight back to bed.

    Oh well...I guess it's time to move on to another game.
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    [May 27, 2009 03:04:43 PM]
    The difference between reading (a lot) about a game and playing it will always be significant. That's something I've had to come to terms with as I've written about my experience playing different games for the past 5(?) years. At least. It's also something I've had to come to terms with as I've played games that have been critically panned (which I enjoyed) and games that have been lauded (that I didn't enjoy).

    As its name indicates, Rune Factory (A Fantasy Harvest Moon) is part of the Harvest Moon series. A series I had never played, but have read about for a long time. There's a lot of games in the series, so "a long time" is really just that. A long time, and a lot of games. While I wouldn't be able to say anything meaningful about specific games in the series, I feel I have a pretty good feeling for what the series, as a whole, is about. I would summarize that as follows: Harvest Moon is about farming and relationships. This game is also about that, although it's incredibly frustrating in many ways. Surprising ways. At least to me.

    For a game that's about farming, I've found the practice to be incredibly boring. As for the relationship aspect, so far it seems incredibly out of reach.
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    jp's Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (DS)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Got Bored

    GameLog started on: Monday 18 May, 2009

    GameLog closed on: Monday 8 June, 2009

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Pace seems rather slow, but I'm not sure I've hit my stride yet. It's not exactly engaging, but it can be mindless in many ways.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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