Haven't played the game yet. but it seems strange for gamespot to take off so many points from the score for only 3 things being wrong about the game... i've seen them give higher scores to games with far more problems then this... maybe they're being biased... wouldn't be the first time.
Tides of Destiny makes several good changes to the Rune Factory formula, making for a fun adventure in fantasy farming.
- Addictive, easygoing gameplay
- Nice style and personality
- Can last a long time with tons to do.
- Combat is only button mashing
- All side activities involve the same action
- Boring fetch quests.
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny starts with a battle. That may be surprising for a series that bills itself as a fantasy farming simulation (a spin-off of the popular Harvest Moon franchise), but it sets the tone for a game that maintains everything fans love about the series while embracing more of its action role-playing trappings. The result is still a game that blends farming, monster taming, and simple dungeon crawling, but one with more emphasis on the latter. It's still simple, often slow-paced, and potentially monotonous, filled with systems that will turn impatient players away, but Tides of Destiny deviates from the formula just enough that it feels like a solid new entry in the series, rather than a simple repackaging of old ideas.
The main story puts you in the shoes of Aden, who lives on the island of Fenith with his best friend and potential love interest, Sonja. The two find themselves mysteriously transported to an entirely different and unfamiliar Fenith, with the catch being that Sonja's soul is now trapped inside Aden's body. Sonja can speak and be heard by anybody nearby (which doesn't faze citizens of Fenith nearly as much as you would think), but she is essentially along for the ride for however long it takes you to get her body back. Thus begins a surprisingly long story setup for a plot that has some potential but is ultimately not very interesting or involving. It does its job of giving you a goal to work toward outside of personal wealth or happiness, but little more. At least it's a step up from the typical story of a boy with amnesia.
During each game day you have a lot of options for what you want to do with your time. You can talk to neighbors to become better friends with them, fish, cook, craft items or accessories, check the request board for tasks (most of which are simple fetch quests, but they reward you with items and recipes), or leave the island to explore. There's a lot of variety in what you can do, except many of these actions revolve around a simple timing-based minigame to determine success. You are presented with a bar that has good areas and bad areas, and you want to hit the action button when your icon is over a good area. Everything you can craft or catch has a level associated with it, and you can level up your skills in each category to make the task easier and to allow for more crafting options. These actions also deplete your rune points meter, which serves as your energy. If it runs out, you will pass out and potentially catch a cold, so don't try to do too much in one day.
For all it lacks, the story does provide an interesting setting. Your island home is small and consists entirely of shops and houses--you don't even have room for any farming. For real adventure you need to journey across the ocean on a massive golem that obeys your every whim. The golem can raise long-lost islands from the depths, giving you new areas to explore and new monsters to either fight or tame. When fighting, you have a lot of options as to what weapon you are going to use, including dual swords, katanas, and hammers. Each weapon type functions a little differently (for example, dual swords attack quickly but in very close range, while spears give you a little breathing room), but you don't have much incentive to switch between them. Since you level up your skill with different weapon types the more you use them, you are encouraged to pick one type and stick with it, with the exception being that you may want a little proficiency in a backup weapon for some enemies or bosses.
Combat itself is extremely simplistic but can still be addictive. With few exceptions you mash on the attack button to cut enemies down as you explore dungeons, sometimes backing away to replenish health or RP. Occasionally, your golem gets into a brawl with a giant monster while exploring the ocean, but these fights are not as exciting as you would hope. You also have the option to tame monsters by brushing them gently as they try to murder you. Once tamed, up to three monsters can accompany you in battle or stay behind in your monster barn, conveniently located in your golem's torso. Some monsters provide items regularly, such as milk or eggs, but most of them are used for farming.