This game is very disappointing.
It starts off slow, which wouldn't be a problem if it didn't continue to be slow. One of the major selling points of the game is the ability to find islands with your giant golem, but the process can take forever, and all islands that aren't quest-given are plagued with monsters that are insanely difficult.
Character interaction is nice; I appreciated the ability to switch on and off the accessories I gave villagers for speaking scenes. But after a while, you will end up rapidly pressing X to skip through the repeated dialogue. Giving gifts in the beginning is IMPOSSIBLE, as there's no way to have a definite in-flow of whatever item you want to gift (more on that in a bit). If you've played Harvest Moon/Rune Factory games before, then you'll be able to pick out the cut-and-paste personalities that are used to make these characters.
Farming is GONE; rather, it's been replaced for a completely uninvolved process in which you can't choose what crops you want to grow. Everything is left to monsters that you befriend in dungeons and, other than waving around a little wand, there is no player involvement in the farming process.
And the final bit that a lot of people are angry about: you can not unlock the ability to play as the female character until you have beaten the game. And even then, you have a whopping THREE bachelors to choose from, as opposed to the nine bachelorettes that the male has. There is no way to switch between the genders; when you choose, you choose. (Luckily, you can have up to 15 save files!)
Overall, the game could have been a lot better.
Instead, it turns into a dungeon-crawling grindfest and frustrating "farming" experience.
posted by Vsonic (EAST STROUDSBURG, PA) Jul 5, 2012
Member since Jan 2010
Rune Factory Tides of Destiny is a JRPG that "gets it"...mostly.
This game is LOADED with things to do. Fishing, monster raising, dungeon crawling, gardening, exploration, and of course, being "social" and interacting with NPCs. Unlike most JRPGs, every NPC in this game is a unique character, and has tons of things to say. Like characters in Majora's Mask, they have their own schedules and walk around town - it's far more engaging than your typical JRPG non-player characters. You get to learn their likes, their dislikes, what they want from you, what they can do for you...the entire atmosphere is wonderful in this game.
The combat is shallow at first, but you learn some abilities as you go about your quests. Actually, you level up CONSTANTLY, for everything. Walking, running, and talking even - it's quite rewarding. Exploring the ocean in your stupid-looking golem is fun too. There's tons of islands out there; and each brings new monsters to fight, monsters to raise, farmland to grow crops on, and ponds to fish.
The problem is just that Natsume/Neverland don't seem to have ever seen a western RPG, or a contemporary JRPG even. There's still signs of "SNES design" all over this game. From conversing with characters (done "cardboard cutout" style), to the fact that you can only accept one sidequest at a time, to the fact that you won't be able to find anything in the ocean UNLESS it's explicitly part of a quest you're already on (even though you'll see these places all the time). It's odd for a game this generation, and just adds a layer of clunkiness to this title.
But man, it gets so much else right! It's colorful and charming, all the characters are likeable, and there's so much to do. Unlike Rune Factory Frontier, which I couldn't get into, the day/night cycle and stamina do not limit you much at all. And everything else has been expanded wonderfully.
An absolutely charming, worthwhile adventure. And a perfect game to play in the summer.