|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Neverland||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Natsume||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
One thing I really appreciated about Rune Factory 2 was the control options. The control is mainly button-based, with most attack and agricultural-based commands tied to a certain button. However, there are stylus input options, which are really useful for navigating long and complex menus. I would traditionally balk at a control scheme that uses both stylus and button inputs, but both input methods work well, and a combination of both works surprisingly well.
The graphics in this title are also very good, and the visual style of the game has the series' trademark anime look with a little bit more of a fantasy-inspired, rustic feel. The graphics use a combination of highly detailed 2D environmental elements with nicely modeled 3D characters to achieve a very unique look. Although the different characters do suffer from a little blurring, the graphics are very solid overall.
Music is also very good, and each area in the Rune Factory landscape has a cute little tune accompanying it. The title song is also very catchy and is an interesting J-Pop number that sounds great. However, the voiceover in this title is not so good. The voiceovers are very infrequent; to the point where you never know if you will get voiced dialogue or scrolling text. The voiceovers are also hit or miss in terms of quality and just don't really cut it.
My one major criticism of Rune Factory 2 is that it is too similar to last year's Rune Factory. Even though the Rune Factory series feels like a huge departure for the Harvest Moon franchise as a whole, I would love to see this series mature and develop. The story, though very charming, bears one too many resemblances to last year's title and a lot of the core mechanics and quests remain identical to those found in the original. Still, Rune Factory 2 is the best Harvest Moon title to come out this year, and if you are just itching to get your agricultural juices flowing, Rune Factory 2 provides the perfect vehicle to do so.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor