Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny
NA Release: October 7th, 2011
How bad would it stink to be trapped in your best friend's body? How about trapped in his body for what could be, forever? Just ask Sonja, one of Tides of Destiny's protagonists on how that's going.
Starting off any ordinary day on Fenith island, Aden and Sonja are enjoying a quiet, Spring day doing their normal every day things. A bright flash of light from nowhere abducts Aden and Sonja and drops them off nearly a century in the future. Unfortunately, after the event, Sonja's soul is trapped within Aden's body for an unknown reason and can control him at will. Though the story is explained poorly to the player and with every character "just going with it" it all feels generic.
The RPG elements really shine. I found the combat to be really interesting and the challenge very fair. The addition of having statistics for walking, running, jumping and pretty much anything you can think of is unique. Even bathing has a leveling system. Crafting is a big part for a more convenient experience with Tides of Destiny. Crafting furniture, potions, and weapons is quick and easy. Your stamina bar (a.k.a. Rune Points), can be replenished by making food dishes like fried fish, sushi, desserts, and even pizza!
Unlike previous installments in the Rune Factory franchise, Tides of Destiny has a new game play element: exploring the ocean. A huge part of this is by the help of a giant Golem named Ymir. Exploring the ocean results in finding islands on the ocean floor, to pull up and, you named it, explore. The smaller islands aren't too different from one another. You will endure the same smaller islands and wrecked pirates ships throughout the adventure.
Along with the ocean concept comes being a friendly neighbor. Completely optional to an extent, being nice to your neighbors results in leveling up their Friend Points. Talking to them, giving them gifts they like and even doing quests (some required), will result in their friend points increased. After leveling up the character you can have a private chat with them, learning more about who they are and what makes them intriguing.
Unfortunately the majority of the quests are the same quest repeated to no end. Which is a huge complaint. Talking to your neighbors can be migraine inducing. The reused dialogue isn't likeable and even the more interesting dialogue is still uninteresting, if not redundant. Every day you will encounter the same greeting and the same conversation from the day before.
The farming is also watered down (pun intended). Capturing monsters to do your dirty work in exchange for cheap monster cookies takes away the fun. Certain monsters plant certain types of vegetables, trees, and minerals. Over a course of four different seasonal islands (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter), helps filter which monster goes where. After the crops are done growing, you simply harvest them to do with your own free will.
Another potential plus to having monsters is the choice to have them fight with you throughout the game. They honestly do provide a nice ace-in-the-hole and even help distract enemies/bosses. Though their flawed AI is a struggle but when they do cooperate they can provide you with the upper advantage.
Graphically, Tides of Destiny doesn't awe. Being a port of a Wii game, the resolution and textures do look better but that's not saying much. The anime cut scenes are absolute eye candy. I was thoroughly entertained every time they showed up which wasn't often enough.
For the most part, the soundtrack is bearable. With an enjoyable tune here and there, I found myself very annoyed by the same songs everyday. Throughout the entire day on Fenith island you will only hear a few songs, depending. Every other island has the same song playing and the temples have bland layouts with even more bland songs. It's the one aspect of the game I found least enjoyable beyond belief.
I never got to try the Move controls with this one, but with this game being the way it is, I can't help to think it wouldn't change much. The random storyline, reused dialogue, annoying soundtrack and rehashed quests weigh Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny down to the bottom of the ocean.
Unless you're a fan of the series, stick to your current RPG, there's nothing to see here.
6- Decent This game has flaws or major flaws such as, poor controls, bad gameplay elements, poorly implemented gimmicks, minor sound or graphics issues etc. But can be fun, but not necessarily as fun as you'd hope.
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