Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Tides of Destiny

A number of players have asked for a review of this game, so I am going to oblige them with a brief note about it.

Tides of Destiny will not disappoint fans of Rune Factory who would like to see all of their favourite elements incorporated in every game in the series, yet it is different enough to satisfy those who want something new.

Instead of suffering from the traditional case of amnesia, your Character and his best friend are transported to another era and are forced to share one body. It is the body of the Male Character, but one of the goals in the game is to lift the curse that keeps the poor Female Character locked inside her best friend's body. Once this is accomplished, you can move forward in two different games if you so choose. You will be able to play as the Male Character and as the Female Character.

It is an interesting premise and one that can be by turns both amusing and annoying. The female Character does not remain mute even in the presence of others. The little dramatic exchange that occurs when a female Voice pipes up in an introduction to a new Character does become a little tedious although, after a point, even the protagonists become bored with the business and settle for a dialogue along the lines of: 'It's a long story and I'll tell you all about it later.'

As in every Rune Factory game, your Character must hone his combat Skills as fighting and taming Monsters is essential. Fishing is included in the game as well. As is usually the case in Rune Factory, most of your essential Tools (and your first Weapon) will be Gifts. They are sold at local shops, however, so if you are not patient enough to WAIT for the Gift Event, you can purchase them. You can find a Brush and a Harvester on the floor of your Barn and the Fishing Pole is a gift from Joe but Joe sells both Harvesters and Brushes and the local Smithy sells the Cheap Fishing Pole.

The biggest differences in terms of gameplay are the seafaring element, the enormous Earth Golem named Ymir who takes the place of a Ship and the way that farming is organised.

You cannot farm on your Home Island and indeed, your Character does not tend Crops himself but must instead tame Monsters in the Crop Group to tend them for him. He can 'find' sprouts on specific Islands through use of his Spirit Wand and then set Monsters ashore on that Island to tend them. It is an interesting change.

Seafaring is a big part of this game. Important Requests tend to deal with exploration of the Ocean and 'X Marks the Spot' is the way that it works. The Character who makes the Request will place an X on your Sea Chart and you then must control Ymir and 'set sail' for the location. Once the location is reached, Ymir must raise the Island for you.

There are Sea Monsters that appear randomly in the course of these expeditions. The location of the Sea Monsters is not random, but the actual type of Monster that appears on any given expedition will be chosen randomly in many cases. When fighting a Sea Monster, it is not your Character who performs the combat but rather Ymir, controlled by your Character.

Cooking, Forging, Crafting and Mixing Medicines are available from the start as your Character can use his Neighbours' facilities. Only simple Recipes that require a maximum of two Ingredients can be made in another Character's facility. To make Recipes that require more Ingredients, you first must expand your Cottage to include a second floor and then purchase the Crafting area. James sells Expansions and Crafting Areas. The House Expansion needed in this instance costs 10,000G.

You will not have any trouble making money in this game. Many of the early Requests have good monetary Rewards. Buffamoo and Woolies can be found on the first Island you explore and when tamed, yield Milk and Small Fleece respectively. You can sell Items to any local Merchant. There is a bargaining option in some cases and there are 'selling trends' that will boost the value of certain types of Items on specific days. The same Bulletin Board that posts Requests posts the Weather, Selling Trends and Local News.

There are a number of little mini-games that occur at specific Festivals or as Requests. This, too, is familiar to fans of the series.

There is another interesting aspect to Island exploration in that some Islands can be raised only temporarily. While Ymir holds them in the air, you can explore them but then must allow him to toss them back into the sea. They can be found again, however...

I will add to this review shortly but for now must return to actual guide-writing!

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