Rune Factory 4 – Slight progress (and slight spoilers)

I had played almost 14 hours of RF4 last time, now I’m around the 23 hour mark – or more like 30 hours if you take lost progress due to freezes into account. Rune Factory 4 is a slow-moving game so I won’t probably be doing too many updates on it. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m playing it and having a fairly good time. Some quick notes:

  • I figured out why the townspeople are so boring: it’s because I turned their portraits and voices off. It’s hard to get a hold of someone’s personality when you can’t see or hear them. They might as well be NPCs. At the same time, turning portraits and voices back on would greatly increase the number of freezes I incur so… uh… dunno, maybe I’ll risk it once I’m done with the story… only I’ll probably quit the game at that point… uh… yeah.
  • Rescued Dolce and Pico, now I’m doing the Rune Sphere quests. I already got the ones in Yokmir Forest and the Water Ruins and just entered the Autumn cave for the first time. According to the placard I should be level 30 and I’m actually level 40 so it’s fine. I just happen to have an Aqua Sword too. This should be a breeze.
  • I’ve been using mainly Short Swords, but I tried out spear recently and really liked it. The nice thing about spears is they keep the enemy away so you don’t take as much damage. I still pull out my sword for boss battles and new areas, but I’m going to try to forge more powerful spears and use them instead. I’ve sworded my way through most RF games anyway, it’s time I tried something new.
  • Summer time! Beach time! But there’s no beach so we go to the lake instead. IT’S JUST NOT THE SAME!! Plus I have portaits off, so I can’t see anyone in their swimwear anyway. I haven’t caught any new fish in a while either. My life is so… empty…
  • I’m not sure I like what they did with seasonal crops this time. It’s nice that you can grow things like sweet potatoes and spinach outside the usual fall season, but this makes new seasons far less exciting. Normally after a full season of growing turnips I’d be seriously looking forward to harvesting new crops in summer, but it’s just the same old things I’ve been growing since day one. It’s closer to real life, I’ll give them that, but from a gameplay perspective, farming is a drag. I can’t wait until my pets like me enough to take over the farm completely.

That’s about all I have to report for now. Unless anything super-exciting happens I’ll hold off on any further reports until I’m done with Rune Factory 4. This will take a while so don’t wait up for me.

Rune Factory 4 -Not fixed but much better

I don’t know how to check play time in Rune Factory 4, but I’ve played a lot more since I last posted about it. About 10, 15 hours more I estimate. It still freezes on me from time to time, but less often that it used to.

Freezing issue: I went into the game settings and disabled everything there: portraits, BGM, voices, sound effects, everything. Rune Factory without the BGM and sound effects is just so weird, it doesn’t feel right at all. But thanks to that I only get one or two freezes per day – real time 24 hour day, as opposed to several freezes per game day. I’m making real progress now.

Circle pad issues: RF4 lets you use the directional keypad to navigate so it’s not a big issue. Even though the keypad on the 3DS feels a lot stiffer and less responsive than the PSP and DS pads. As long as it works, right? The circle pad is actually much better though. It doesn’t stick in any particular direction any more, but it’s much happier going right than left and forget about running in a straight line.

Sticky Y button: Will you believe it actually fixed itself? It bugged me during Stella Glow (randomly undeploying and unequipping units, zooming in and out of maps), got worse during 7th Dragon III (pulling up the Field Skills menu all the time, taking people out of my party). At one point it got so bad I couldn’t run five steps without the Skills menu popping up.

I got so frustrated I… well I didn’t exactly bang on it, but I gave it a very firm, sharp press, like CUT IT OUT ALREADY! …And it did! I haven’t heard a peep out of it since! I haven’t dared touch it since, which means I can only map magic to X in RF4 and not Y but at least now I can play it without text randomly starting to fast forward. Too bad nobody says anything particularly interesting.

Current progress

I’m having a good time, though progress feels much slower than in previous RF games. You need a license for just about everything, then you have to unlock seeds and recipes in stores and then things are so expensive. But it’s a good thing compared to the first Rune Factory where you could be a multi-millionaire in just a few months.

I’m sure things will pick up once I’ve unlocked a few more seeds and fully-equipped my kitchen. At least forging and crafting are easier than before because you can use a fair number of substitutes AND failure rates are very low because of changes to the success/fail system.

And hopefully I’ll get bigger dungeons to explore too. Yokmir Forest and the Water Ruins are just too small! I just finished the Water Ruins, btw. The boss was so cheap, he pretended to be dying and then got up and attacked me again! That’s just not done. I gave him an extra-special beatdown just for that. I rescued the guy within who is kind of cute but an annoying jerk so I’m sticking to Arthur for life. Beside he has amnesia too. That’s my gimmick!

The festivals have all been fun so far, especially the defluffing festival. Fluff fluff fluffity fluff! I won handily with Dual Blades, and now I’m torn between sticking to Short Swords or switching to dual-wielding. Maybe when I have better armor and accessories to make up for the loss of the shield. Seeing all those numbers popping up all over the place is just too sweet. Fishing festival and bean toss festival were all nice in their own way. If I could get lures to attract fish faster I could really get into the fishing in this game.

The only real letdown in Rune Factory 4 has been the characters. Yes, they’re all nice decent people, and they have a lot of different things to say every day, which is great but ehh… they’re so… bland. So… boring. Just, zZzZz… you know? What a bunch of milquetoasts. Marvelous was probably trying to dial things back after going overboard on the crazy in Rune Factory 3, but now they’ve made a bunch of identical bores. I usually go wild at the start of RFs giving everyone presents and trying to learn about them but this time I’m not going to bother.

Also Ventuswill is doing that stupid “I know what’s going on but I’m not gonna tell you because then the game would end after 2 hours” nonsense I hate so much in RPGs. Booooo, hisssss. I make sure to fire a few fireballs in her general direction every time I go in there. It’s not like Rune Factory games ever have fantastic stories anyway, just tell me already!

Aynywayz, a luta continua. I’m on standby until the next bit of story unlocks/doesn’t unlock. In the meantime I’m doing quests and buying tools and growing crops and all the other stuff people play RF for. See you with another update in the near future.

Rune Factory 4 – Randomly f-f-freezing

Before I start, hands up anyone who is sick and tired of hearing about my 3DS hardware troubles. One, two, three… four hundred thousand people. Okay fine, I’ll just whine to myself. ZOMG Self, you won’t believe what the 3DS is doing this time! I worked around the circle pad issue, the Y button seems to have unstuck itself, but now Rune Factory 4 is freezing every five minutes. It wasn’t doing this before, it just started the day before yesterday and now I can barely make any progress at all!

Most recently I woke up, watered some plants, went to the general store to buy seeds and it froze. The time before I’d caught some good fish and was heading home to cook them when it froze. Before that, Forte and Frey had extensively explored the Water Ruins and had just warped out to save when bzzt, you guessed it, another freeze. That was particularly painful because I found Cooking Bread in a chest on that run through and when I loaded the next time there was just junk in the chest 🙁 So sad.

Actually… come to think of it… I haven’t had freezing problems with any other games, and I was playing Stella Glow and 7th Dragon III just a few days ago. Could it be a Rune Factory 4 thing? Brb, Googling…

Ugh… It is a Rune Factory 4 thing. The 3DS is innocent, for once. But from my googling it seems most people only suffer from the occasional freeze. Mine freezes really really often. I can barely get through a game day normally. I thought the SD card might be on the fritz, but after testing it with both Windows and a testing app, it seems to be just fine. What am I supposed to do? :-<

Well… I’ll figure something out. I really really want to play this game. For now, a progress report. Frey is level 11, got her revenge on the butterfly boss in Yokmir Forest and has been plying Arthur with turnips every morning because the way to a man’s heart is through his love for veggies. I was planning to get Doug at first, but I realized I don’t like his smile (am I petty or what?) so Arthur it is. TBH I’m regretting playing as a girl a little bit because the girls are so much better than the guys. Forte, Margaret, Xiao Pai, Lumie, Amber… The guy list is just… who’s on it again?

Also I recently bought a refrigerator, a cooking table, a knife set and a chemistry set. My room looks like a disaster zone, or something from Shepherd’s Crossing. I need a bigger room. My progress is being blocked by a lack of Cooking Bread so I can’t learn recipes as fast as I want to. I bought bread the other day and I couldn’t even eat it because it was too advanced for me, what gives? Luckily enough it seems I can skip the Porcoline racket and get all my recipes from an online FAQ. Ha! Take that! My current goal is to save up for a forge and a crafting set and update my equips before taking on the boss of the Water Ruins with Forte.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a story beyond “You have amnesia, therefore you must develop our town.” I can’t even remember how the former led to the latter, but somehow Frey is the Chosen One so that’s how it goes. I’m not too hung up on stories in RPGs these days anyway. It’s fine if they just get out of the way and let me get on with it. After all, I already know how all Rune Factory games go. You kill all the bosses in all the dungeons then you kill their boss when he comes to complain and then you win the game. Now if only the game would stop freezing so I could actually do all that stuff.

I’ll google around a bit more for a possible solution. If that fails, I should be able to play Legend of Legacy now that the Y button is behaving. Fingers crossed!

7th Dragon III: Code VFD – Everybody’s talking at me

It’s not even a dungeon-crawler any more, it’s just another RPG where the characters just can’t shut up. Except your actual party is made up of mutes, so you just stand there while the NPCs pratter and blather. They tell you when to get up, when to go to bed, when to turn left, when to turn right, they just won’t leave you alone. Every once in a while they let you make some cosmetic choice, but I’ve been around the block often enough to know that this won’t make a whit of difference in the long run. Everybody just shut up!

Nothing much has happened in the story so far. Except we’re wasting time dealing with some ISDF fellows who are all going to die or join my party by the end of the game so I wish they wouldn’t even show up. Acting all tough just makes it more pathetic when the tide turns and dragons take out everybody’s headquarters. Yuma is probably going to turn into a dragon and make me have to kill him. Either that or he’ll do some kind of heroic sacrifice. He’s a goner either way so I don’t know why they’re bothering to build him up. Who’s going to be the traitor from Nodens? My money’s on Julietta for now. Whatever, just let me fight!!!!

This is where I would normally add something like “I’m still enjoying 7th Dragon III anyway” but this time I will add no such line because it’s not true. But it is early days yet – I’m only in chapter 2, just finished killing the High Dragon in Cladeon – so there’s still a chance for things to look up. After all 7th Dragon 2020 was even worse than Code VFD, but by 2020-II I had earned my stripes and got far more respect and autonomy from the higher-ups. Also I killed at least one of the people bossing me around, that always helps.

About the new classes and 2nd/3rd party systems… no me gusta. Me no like. Simply because they don’t introduce all the classes straight away. I’d made up my mind way back in the trailer stage that I was going with a Banisher and possibly a Rune Knight, but instead I have to waste time creating, equipping, leveling and learning to use throwaway classes instead. What for? Don’t you know I’m busy?

Ahem. I’d better stop before this post gets too whiny. It’s not Sega’s fault I’ve already played the earlier 7th Dragon games, and this is a good introduction to the series for newbies. I’m grateful to Atlus for bringing it out in English too, wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from playing it. I’m certainly not going to quit playing it any time soon. Time for another assault on Atlantis!