PIcked up Rune Factory Tides of Destiny!

Remember when I told you guys that I was looking for Radiant Historia the other day? Well not anymore! It turns out that GameStop released the newest Rune Factory game a few days early, and that was something I COULDN'T pass up!

So what is Rune Factory Tides of Destiny? Well Rune Factory, for anyone who hasn't heard of it before, is actually a part of Harvest Moon. Rune Factory takes the Harvest Moon gameplay, farming, interacting with the people of the town, taking part in town events, getting married, having kids, etc, and mixes them with an RPG!

There's MANY stats to level up, including the stats of walking and jumping, and the game has a big focus on exploring and crafting items. Everything you do will level up some kind of skill/stat (I'd say there's around 30 or so catagories which range from talking to people to actual skills you'll use), and the more you do things, the better you get at doing them. Need to cook a really good meal? Well you better practice! Want that really strong weapon? Hopefully you're good at foring! There's a lot of things to practice, and a lot of skills to master.

Tides of Destiny is a little bit different from past games, and it throws in a bunch of new features. To sum it up, this is Harvest Moon + Legend of Zelda Wind Waker + Kingdom Hearts. There are many types of weapons to create, which you have to get material for, and the battle system plays in real time just like in Kingdom Hearts. You'll learn both basic combos, and advance skills as you use your weapons more, and you can freely switch between weapons as well. You do NOT have to stay with a single weapon tree.
The world in ToD is also a fully 3D world, which is a first in Rune Factory, and the world is pretty lively. People will walk around the island, ask you to do favors (you can also take on side quests from a Request Board), and there's a huge ocean for you to explore with 100s of islands. By riding on the back of a huge rock monster, you can travel between islands, fight sea monsters, and discover new areas. Sometimes islands are mini islands with monsters to fight and items to find, other times they're "temples" like you would see in Zelda. If you have ever played Zelda Wind Waker, you'll feel right at home.

Farming is also a lot different, and it mixes in elements from Pokemon. In this game you can befriend pretty much every monster which will then send them to your "barn" like area. Here you'll be able to give your monsters jobs, or even invite them into your party. For the first time in a Harvest Moon game you cannot farm yourself, or even pick what kind of crops you want. This is all monster controlled.

Throughout the game you'll come across islands which allow you to farm, or harvest other items (such as rocks), and these are the islands you'll be sending your monsters to. Each monster is able to grow a different type of crop, and they will do so randomly. Sure you can group monsters together to get a higher chance of growing the crop you want, but you still don't have complete control over it. All you have to do is plant the seeds, which is done by using a magic stick, and the monsters will take care of the rest. (You can also expand your islands by dropping spirits that you can find. They'll allow you to plant more seeds after you've dropped enough of them.)

One thing I REALLY like about the game is the fact that you're always making progress. Every step you make gives you EXP into walking, and every item you make will end up helping you in the long run. No matter what you do, you are ALWAYS moving forward. It really gives you a lot to work at, but its nice.
The game does have a lot of freedom, and it lets you play it however you want to play. You could go do the main story, or you could go fishing. You could upgrade your house and build furniture for it, or you could go to the message board and take on some side quests. Want to explore the ocean and become friends with everyone in town? Go for it! It's just endless, and the game doesn't force you to play one way or another. However if you want to get married and have a kid, you do have to finish the main story.

I would like to do a full review over this game later on, but there's just too much for me to cover. I think it'll be awhile before I've seen enough to actually review it... I'm already 20 hours into the thing, but I'm not even close to the 1/4th way point lol. I've got a LONG ways to go.

Anyway, if you like Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, RPGs, or any other type of simulation game, check this one out! Yeah the farming isn't as deep as Harvest Moon or the past Rune Factories, but the game expanded in just about every other area.

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