The protagonist is suddenly teleported into the world of Rigbarth through a gate, with monsters coming through similar gates. You start from scratch as your character has, sigh... amnesia (of course. of course they have amnesia!) and you grow your farm, interact with townsfolk and marry. Rune Factory 5 continues its evolution of the farming simulation genre with its action-RPG integration but this time, with a fleshed out 3D world.

The Good

Something that always frustrates me about farming simulators is not having enough time in a day. In many of these games, you tend to spend a large portion of the day tending to crops and animals that you then barely have enough time to explore, fulfil requests and interact with townsfolk. Rune Factory 5 gives the player much more time in each day and the fast travel that is available to you from the very beginning.

The farming felt a little awkward at first but once I got the hang of it, I genuinely found it to be very intuitive. Many farming games require you to perform an action on a square, move your character and then again, rinse and repeat. This is especially arduous at the start of a game when you have yet to upgrade any of your tools. While Rune Factory 5 does do this as well, the controls allow you to easily shift the characters direction automatically to the next farm square, meaning that you don't have to reposition yourself which each one. This saves a lot of time and makes the process far less gruelling.

Rune Factory 5 introduces being able to farm on the backs of dragons, which is quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever said in a review. These farms act as additional farms to your starting farm on land but up here, your crops will grow to be much higher quality. You'll unlock them as you progress through the game's story, with five in total to unlock.

Rune Factory 5 is a huge graphical improvement over Rune Factory 4 which saw its initial release on the Nintendo 3DS and then later on Switch. The upgrade is to be expected of course, the improved horse power improves the quality of the action-RPG aspect, as well as the various cutscenes.

TL;DR

  • A lot of time in a day
  • Intuitive farming
  • Farm Dragons
  • Graphical improvements over Rune Factory 4

The Bad

For the most part, the frame rate is fine, or better yet, serviceable, but it suffers when entering new areas and exploring more populated areas. And while the presentation is much nicer with the game being built from the ground-up on a more powerful system, it lacks a lot of substance.

The cutscenes are nice but they are incredibly short, often to the point where I just don't see the point of them. Implementing them comes across as jarring when you're suddenly pulled out of in-game gameplay with low textures and lifeless models, to bright and colourful 2D anime scenes which last for five seconds, and then back again.

The character's insistence to say something with every farming action very quickly becomes insufferable. I feel as though after the third seed they've told to "grow big and strong", it can be assumed that they wish for every crop to grow big and strong; they don't have to say it every. single. time.

Seriously, amnesia?! There are a lot of story tropes but none are more played out than the main character suddenly being transported to a new world with amnesia; they even did it in Pokémon Legends Arceus! It's a cheap plot excuse that was played out in video games decades ago and I can't believe fully-priced games are still using it today.

TL;DR

  • Performance issues
  • Pointless cutscenes
  • Farming dialogue repetition
  • Amnesia?! Really?!

Final Score: 5/10

Rune Factory 5 is fine, but its technical shortcomings turns an average game into a headache. The implementation of Farm Dragons provide a lot more depth and variety into the classic farming simulation and is enough to warrant its new iteration aside from new system/new game and money. However aside from this, it's an overall underwhelming attempt in a series that is losing its unique flare.

Thank you for checking out our Rune Factory 5 Switch review, thank you to Marvelous (via Decibel PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

For more reading, check out our review of Chocobo GP.