I loved the original Rune Factory game, and in fact, in many respects it represented the ultimate fantasy fulfillment for me, combining as it did swordplay and role-playing adventure with Harvest Moon activities. I was not certain how similar Rune Factory 2 would be when I began to play it.
In fact, the characters and landscapes are as exquisite and romantic as the first game in the series but the creators appear to have approached this game with a more light-hearted attitude. Apart from the sometimes sly references to Kardia and the first game, there generally appears to be more playfulness in the dialogue and interactions between characters.
A new twist is the manner in which one obtains tools and necessary items. In a way, it reminds me of 'Animal Crossing'. One consults the village bulletin board, where 'requests' or quests are posted. Choose a request and complete the task to earn a variety of rewards, from money to tools to other useful items such as Empty Bottles for Potions. It is a chance, obviously, to learn the map and the schedules of the characters in the game, a very clever 'tutorial' as it were, combined with the fun of a treasure hunt.
In fact, you can obtain a Fishing Rod, a Hammer, an Empty Bottle and 4000G in a matter of hours or less in the second day of the game. If you are determined, you can acquire even more money and items.
As always, the Fishing Rod is a lifeline at the start of the game, allowing you to make enough money to purchase your first sword almost immediately. A reward of 4000G for delivering a portion of spinach to some one is not unwelcome and will allow you to purchase defence items such as a shield and bracelet as well as some crop seeds.
On the first day, when I saw the prices of items in the shops, my heart quailed but by the second day, I had accomplished a great deal and felt that the world was my oyster. That does not mean that the game is easy by any means. It simply means that one can begin to embark upon the real adventures fairly early...