Rune Factory 3 Special was provided by Marvelous/XSEED for review. Thank you!
There were a couple of games I had always carried around with me on my Nintendo DS. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Pokemon Pearl, New Super Mario Bros, and Rune Factory 3. There was something magical about a game that felt so open-ended, where you could farm, meet unique people, fight monsters, level up, and learn about an engrossing world. Now, Rune Factory 3 Special is here to bring us back to the good ol' days and introduce a new group of gamers to the world, which I fell in love with.
Of course, much has been updated since the original release in 2009. Other than the visual and HUD updates to accommodate for the lack of a second screen, there is also a brand new game mode to continue standalone adventures depending on who you marry and a new harder "Hell" difficulty.
Rune Factory 3 Special is a fantastic farming sim/RPG that shines when you lose yourself in the world. The story is a little weak, but the cast of characters you can interact with, learn about, and marry are all very memorable in different ways. As a farming sim, you will wake up each day and tend to your farm, which can feel wonderful when going at your own pace. As an RPG, you can go out, run around, mine, fish, cook, partake in events, and fight monsters alone or with party members in real-time combat. Each activity you do has an experience bar, which, when leveled up, will give you some stat boosts. I loved this personally, and it makes each action feel like there's a reward.
Some aspects of the game do feel dated, like how you move items around in your inventory and tediously needing to cook one meal at a time, but it doesn't feel overwhelming against what makes the game so great. Rune Factory 3 Special is a fantastic game overall, and it's a blast to enjoy it just as much as I did before on the Steam Deck.
Without any changes at all, Rune Factory 3 Special runs flawlessly on the Steam Deck. Just booting up the game, I got 60 FPS with around 7W - 8W battery drain, giving this a solid 6+ hours of battery life. There isn't a ton of surprise here, seeing as this is a remaster of a DS game from 2009, but I have seen much worse from similar remasters, so I am pleased!
Luckily, we don't have to configure any settings to get the best performance, but if you want to, you will need to launch an external configuration tool. It does come with the game, and you just select "Launch Configuration Tool" when you press Play, but it's an extra step I feel unnecessary and obnoxious. In-game, you can change text and audio language, as well as control stick sensitivity.
Rune Factory 3 Special doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, but it does have controller and cloud save support. Text size is relatively readable too, but there are no options to enlarge it further.
Rune Factory 3 Special is a wonderful welcome back to a fantastic game. It didn't need much change since it did so well on the initial release, but the new mode and difficulty are welcome additions to the experience. There could have been a couple of quality-of-life changes to make the experience feel more modern, but that doesn't change how fantastic the game is. And without any changes needed to enjoy it to the fullest, Rune Factory 3 Special is a Best on Deck game I am happy to recommend!
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Rune Factory 3 Special is a great remaster of a fantastic farming sim that runs wonderfully on the Steam Deck.