Rune Factory 3: Good points

I finished Rune Factory 3 a few days ago! Well by finished I mean I killed the weaksauce last boss and got married, but I didn’t grow every crop or make every item or have kids or anything like that. The storyline of RF3 was the shallowest of all three, but for today’s post I’m going to focus on the good stuff.

1. The girls are pretty cute. They also have very different personalities, some better than others. It’s a nice variety. For the record I like Touna best.

2. There’s a lot of forging, pharmacy and cooking to do. Each successive Rune Factory game has more and more things recipes to play with, which I think is wonderful. Unfortunately…well, we’ll get to the ‘unfortunately’s in the next post.

3. The battles are easy, but not too easy. You can’t just tap A mindlessly, but you won’t be seeing the Game Over screen often either.

4. All the game characters have differing schedules and a range of things they do from day to day. They won’t be standing at the same spot at the same time every day, though you can predict where they’ll be from time to time. It livens things up a lot.

5. Growing and leveling up crops is much easier and faster this time. You even get free seasonal seeds from the ground sometimes when you hoe, yay. Also fertilizers are cheap and easy to make in your workshop.

6. The animals on your farm are very helpful. This time even produce animals like woollies can help out on your farm, and they don’t just water. They’ll also clear the ground of weeds and debris and harvest your crops too. Nice!

7. You can find Runeys (or whatever they’re called) left behind occasionally when you harvest, and they’ll give you random stat ups. This makes leveling up even easier!

8. This is a big one: Items you carry can stack! Remember how in all the other Harvest Moon games you pick one turnip, put it in your rucksack, pick another turnip, put it in the sack? This time you can pick and hold 9 items in a row, pop pop pop, and then put them in the bag or the shipping bin together. You can even leave them on the ground and they’ll be neatly piled as one. Awesome!

9. As I said, you can put stuff on the ground and it won’t vanish. Not only won’t it vanish immediately, but it will stay on the ground for hours, or unless you leave more than 9 items lying around on the same screen. To the best of my knowledge only Grand Bazaar and Rune Factory 3 have that ability (haven’t played Rune Factory:Frontier yet). Double awesome!

10. Drop rates are way better in this game. Just about everything drops, and drops frequently from the monsters in the field, so there’s none of that killing 2000000 monsters just for a 1/90million chance drop. It was so bad in RF1, got better in RF2 and I think they’ve hit the right rates in RF3. Good show.

And other assorted little details. My next post will be on the not-so-fun parts of this game, but even if I get negative don’t let that discourage you. I still played and finished this game with glee, so it can’t be that bad, okay?

Playing so many games!

I haven’t posted in a while, have I? I’ve been busy actually playing the wealth of games that have come out recently: Dragon Quest 9, Saga 2, Love Plus (a disappointment), Mana Khemia 2, etc. I’m also looking forward to the new Ar Tonelico 3 just announced, and Rune Factory 3 is coming out next week, woo-hoo! So that’s why I haven’t been posting, though I’ll be getting round to writing up those things soon enough.

But first I want to migrate this blog to my own domain so I’m investigating hosting right now. I’m thinking of Bluehost or something, but we’ll see how it works out. Anyway, no new posts until I move, but look forward to the new domain! Ja ne!

Avalon Code – too fussy

I just started this DS game called Avalon Code; it’s about the end of the world and the boy who has to go around recording everything so it can be ported to the next world. This includes people, plants and other relevant items. I normally shy away from action RPGs, but this one had Yoshifumi Hashimoto’s prints all over it, and being the huge Harvest Moon/Rune Factory fan I am, I decided to give it a try.

…About 5 hours in so far, I’m bored as hell. First off, the premise that the world’s going to be destroyed anyway is a great one. So great, in fact, that this should’ve been a story-based RPG. Start with the story, stick with the story, focus on the story, develop the story, why, when, how, who. I’m sure the game will get around to all that eventually, but so far all I’ve done is run around a few fields, record a few people and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT random monsters ad nauseam. They’re wasting a perfectly good story.

Secondly, and probably a bigger problem for me, is that working with Codes is too fiddly and fussy. Your job is to record people’s, animals’ and plants’ codes in your little book. Think of a ‘code’ like DNA, only you can readily manipulate it. But flipping through the book is hell. For example, let’s say you want to modify a particular spider’s DNA. You have to go through the content page -> monsters -> type of monster -> particular page before you can find the spider (or hunt it down and re-scan it). If you want to put another code on it, you have to flip through the book to find a person/monster with the code you want, strip it from them, go back to the spider and rearrange its code to fit the new one in there. It takes forever and completely destroys the rhythm of the game.

Thirdly, I already complained about too much fighting, but even that would be okay if the fights were interesting. Instead it’s all slash-slash-slash-slash, charge up big move and use, or use the so-called Judgment Link to whack the monster into the air for points — rinse, repeat. And it gets worse because the enemies on a particular map respawn repeatedly, forcing you to fight at least 3 or 4 waves of pesky monsters that only need 5 or 6 lucky hits to take you out for good.

I’m not enjoying this. I’m not enjoying this at all. I’m giving it another 3 or 4 hours to pick up or I move on.

Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side 2nd Season (3)

Harry! I got his ending this time! If you’re wondering whether I’ve been playing the game over and over again each time the answer’s no. I had a save after Christmas the first year so I just use that to continue and try and get other guys. Still enough time to meet and date most of the non-secret ones. Since I’d already gotten my social stat high to try and woo Hikami, Hariya was a cinch.

He’s a really sweet guy, but I’m not sure what to think. First, even though he does say he loves you at the end, everything about the relationship felt more like really good friendship to me. Or maybe he’s just the kind of guy I’d like to have as a friend and I’m extrapolating? I just didn’t get that madly-in-love feel from him. Also I felt a bit odd about him because he’s non touchy-feely. It’s one thing when he doesn’t like you, but even at full on Tokimeki mode he’s very likely to have a burst of blue hearts when you try to kiss him (or touch his hair, go figure). Do you think maybe…he doesn’t like women? Or even worse…he doesn’t like me!? Ow…

But he’s a sweet guy, I think his route was the most heartwarming just because he’s cool to be around. Wakaouji has all this drama and Saeki’s just a dick, it was good to be with someone normal for once. Next, I finally feel like completing the Hikami playthrough. After that I’ll play something else because I’m getting a bit sick of this. Might go back to TMGS1 (somebody stop me!!) or place my order for L2 LovexLoop or something.

Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side 2nd Season (2)

Subtitled: “He hits me, but I love him!
This time I went for the “true” ending of sorts, i.e. solving the ‘mystery’ of who the little boy was and whether the prince ever found his mermaid princess. Yes, Saeki Teru. The default guy, and an all-around first-class ***hole.

First off, he says mean things all the time to you, then tries to cover them up with “just kidding” type remarks. I hate that. And when he doesn’t like you yet he doesn’t even bother to pretend to be nice. Secondly, he hits you. They call it a “chop” but anything that makes the main character go “ouch!” counts as hitting in my book. So he’s verbally and physically abusive. Thirdly, he’s not that good-looking. I mean, yah, he’s alright, but he’s not God’s gift to women the way the game tries to make him come across.

Fourthly, and related to the third one, since he’s not all that, it’s annoying that you have to get excellent stats all around just to get him to confess. He’s not that smart, not that athletic, not that artistic so why do I have to be goddamn near-perfect to get him? Lastly, and most importantly, he’s just not that into you. I admit I wasn’t paying 100% attention during his ending, but I never heard him say the word “I love you.” Everybody else says it except him. He wants you, he needs you, but he’s never going to love you, so why bother?

If I was rating the guys in Tokimeki Memorial Girls’ Side 2nd Season, Saeki would get a solid 1/5, only rating above playboy Tarou and Komori. What a loser. >:-(