Rune Factory Frontier Review
Rune Factory Frontier box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Neverland Ent. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Marvelous / Xceed Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 17, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Replacing the rock and gem mines of past games, Rune Factory: Frontier features numerous dungeons packed with ore, treasure, monsters, and other mysteries to explore. These excellently designed subterranean caverns serve as the lairs to many small denizens in addition to a large boss creature. Clearing each dungeon out advances the story as well, and you'll have to rid them of all unfriendly inhabitants to access the boss battle in each.

Rune Factory Frontier screenshot

You can obtain various weapons and other items for battling beasties. Exploring and pummeling your way through these lairs is a fun diversion that breaks up the monotony of calm farm life. You can also break rocks to obtain ore resources and pick up dropped items from fallen enemies to use or sell. Animal husbandry is also slightly different in Rune Factory. You must use a special brush to befriend monsters and persuade them to come live on your farm. Some creatures resemble traditional animals like sheep, cows, and chickens, and they function similarly in terms of food and resources production. Other beasts can be persuaded to join you in your journey through various dungeons and assist in battle. There are many more fantasy elements worked into the gameplay that RPG fans should enjoy immensely.

The landscape and scenery in and around Trampoli and the caves beyond are gorgeous. Rune Factory: Frontier sports a slightly more mature visual style that's still very colorful, detailed, and appealing. The village and homestead still retain a familiar country vibe, but a smattering of fantasy elements and added visual flair make the land feel more magical. Anime cutscenes appear at random; it's likely a good thing for anime fans but not so hot for the rest of us. Though the fixed camera angle feels a little tight at times, it affords a good view of each areas and isn't as cumbersome as Tree of Tranquility. Thankfully, load times are also cut to a minimum during transitions from area to area.

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Rune Factory: Frontier gets the core traditional aspects of the formula right, while adding in exciting RPG elements and a fantastic presentation that breathes new life into the Harvest Moon series. Old-school fans who don't mind a little fantasy flavor (a little swords and sorcery never hurt the garden vegetables, right?) will find Rune Factory's firm grasp of the classic gameplay pleasing, and the other additions it throws in changes things up just enough to freshen the experience substantially.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.2
Graphics
The landscape and scenery both indoors and outdoors is simply beautiful. It's a marvelously designed adventure.
3.6
Control
Controls are occasionally cumbersome when switching between items. Motion controls are unspectacular, yet they're far from broken.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The musical score is catchy and pleasant at times and dramatic and dark at others. The voice work borders between good and irritating.
4.5

Play Value
There's simply so much to do that it will take many months to fully explore Rune Factory's true depth. The best part is it's fun to do so.

4.2
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Life-like Interactions: NPCs will come and go based on the player's actions. Want to get along with your neighbor? Want to give something fellow townsfolk may hate? Go ahead! But they may get upset and leave the town. Be nice to attract more newcomers!
  • Natural Ecosystem: Breathe life into the barren wilderness by cultivating it and planting crops. Small creatures (spirits) will gather first, triggering a food chain to later attract larger and rarer creatures. You are responsible for bringing more fertility to the land.
  • Floating Island to Explore: There is an island that floats in the skies. When you see it, you must quickly find a way to get on it as new discoveries await.
  • Intuitive Wii Controls: Use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to do everything! Plow the land, shake hands with townsfolk to strengthen relationships, or even wave it around when you're on a date with a girl (also compatible with the Classic Controller).


  • Screenshots / Images
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