E3 2008: Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Hands-On Impressions

Turn your swords into plowshares and back again in this new farming adventure.

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Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon once again returns adventurers to the kingdom of Norad for more fantasy farming action. Much like the original, this game features a blend of Harvest Moon-style life-simulation gameplay and traditional Japanese role-playing game mechanics.

We scooped up the game to try out at Natsume's E3 booth, and the first thing that jumps out about the game is the visuals. We were roaming around town in the spring, and the gray stone buildings were framed in cherry trees in full blossom, with the occasional petal drifting across the screen. The backgrounds are quite attractive, and that was a good thing because it took us a while to get our bearings. Fortunately, the Nintendo DS's top screen displays a map that you can use to maneuver your way to your destination.

A few aspects have been changed around compared to the original. The first is that instead of pressing the start button to swap around your gear, there are new tabs on the touch screen that you can tap with your stylus to quickly and easily move items around. The second is that this is actually a multigenerational game; your character Kyle can attract a wife and marry, and then for the second half of the game you'll play as your child in a Generations of Doom sort of situation. Another new feature is that the townspeople will now give you short miniquests that will raise their affection for you if you complete them. It seems as if the game will be fleshed out more in the RPG area than its predecessor.

Other mechanics are still the same. You'll still rely on your meter of rune points to farm, fight, and perform other strenuous activities. To help extend your life in dungeons, you can plant crops in dungeons for later harvest that will supply you with rune points. You can still befriend monsters, who will aid you by producing materials (milk, eggs), taking care of some of your farm chores, or helping to guard you as you explore the world. You can gather materials that drop from monsters in the world and use them to craft items for yourself. Of course, you'll still be able to farm as well.

Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon appears to be a pretty little handheld game that adds some additional RPG elements while keeping the core spirit of Harvest Moon intact. Fans can expect to see this sequel arrive in fall of 2008.

Discussion

24 comments
Aoifey
Aoifey

I love the idea of two generations. I hate constantly playing HM for 6 months, then you get married and suddunly there's nothing to do. I'm adding this to my Christmas list. Hopefully I can get it shipped over. RF isn't even out over here yet.

_AbBaNdOn
_AbBaNdOn

Geez I dont understand how nobody heard of or played the first one. Its freaking awesome. Its not klassic rpg either, its action based like a old school zelda game, hit your button and swing your sword or hold it down to charge it up. Monsters dropping loot is also awesome because thats how you make new weapons, armor, and tools. If you have a DS this series is MUST OWN. Its not all perfect, there is less focus on actually farming but overall its a REALLY fun game.

red_sovereign
red_sovereign

never played the original but i will buy it and purchase this one also...new copies

Peach100
Peach100

I enjoyed the first Rune Factory so I should enjoy this one as well.

gir42
gir42

After my disappointment with Island of happiness, I'm glad that Rune Factory 2 is coming so soon afterward. I had a lot of fun with the first title, and was actually a little worried this one wouldn't be localized.

bluej33
bluej33

I never got to play the original, which is something that still disappoints me. But I'll be sure to pick this up when it releases -- I love Harvest Moon and Rune Factory is really the only game in the series that is good on the DS.

Jameseylefebure
Jameseylefebure

I enjoyed the first one and really think that with more of an RPG element it would be amazing!!!

omishboy4831
omishboy4831

the original just needed a little push to be better maybe the rune points should be able to be increased or maybe allow people to upgrade their guy the way that want wheather they want to increase their health, rune points or other stats such as strength or intelligence. All it needs is a that small push towards rpg and it could be a very enjoyable game.

shadoxnova
shadoxnova

Sweet the first Rune Factory was pretty awesome. and i cant wait for the squeal to come out.

tyzwain
tyzwain

Looks interesting. Could be good, I'll wait and see.

gmax
gmax

Not sure about gathering materials that drop from monsters, but maybe something for the Harvest Moon fans...

km1498
km1498

I never played rune factory one but heard good things of it, so I might give this a try.

GirlUntold
GirlUntold

"The first is that instead of pressing the start button to swap around your gear, there are new tabs on the touch screen that you can tap with your stylus to quickly and easily move items around" Actually, the first one had shortcuts to getting gear and items as well, but it was through L+A and L+B. Start wasn't the only way to get items.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

Haven't tried Harvest Moon, never heard of Rune Factory 2... sounds kinda good but I think I'll skip it anyway.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

i tried the first one and i kinda like it. hope this is as good

lettuceman44
lettuceman44

The first one wasn't to bad. Lets see how this does.

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

If it has Harvest Moon properties, what can go wrong?

grambyte
grambyte

Hmm, nice never heard of it. Not even the first one. Looks interesting.