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Best Harvest Moon Game Ever? Maybe!
Let me just start off by saying that I hadn’t been addicted to game in quite some time until I played Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon. I own another Harvest Moon game, and even that title didn’t keep me enthralled as much as this spin-off has. Maybe it’s the fantastical setting where monsters lurk, but I have found myself enjoying this game far more than any other sim that I’ve ever played. Let me continue taking you along for my journey across Sharance.
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Combat Training in Oddward Valley
I didn’t spend too much time in Sharance before I set off for the next area in the game. Oddward Valley was a nice grassy area with some not-so-nice monsters. It was here that I met some of the strongest monsters yet. Luckily, I brought along my buddy Rush to help out (fighting alongside a monster a la Pokemon is just another thing about this game that brings me joy). Together we took down dozens upon dozens of monsters and leveled up a great deal.
I also took advantage of the fact that the first area of Oddward Valley had an overabundance of chicken monsters. I tamed three of these bad boys and sent them back to my farm so they could produce some eggs. Even with this little side task, I didn’t lose focus; I was training at Oddward Valley, and I planned on increasing two of my stats: short sword combat and brawling. There are a number of weapons in the game, but I chose to focus my efforts entirely on the short sword as well as my brawling skills as a wooly.
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Back at Sharance I was approached by two fellow townsfolk who had been attacked by a giant lion monster. This creature apparently got hungry and stole a specific dish from the two. I had to put my culinary skills to the test and cook up a salted char. I did a good amount of fishing (if Zelda has taught me anything, it's that fishing sidequests are awesome), leveling up my fishing stat in the process, and finally managed to get a char. I cooked it up and held onto it.
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Traversing Oddward Valley
I headed out to Oddward Valley with my would-be Pokemon Rush at my side and went through several different areas which were all brimming with aggressive beasts. There were tortoises, poisonous insects, buffalos, and even a few hobgoblins. Though these creatures were harder to take down than other monsters earlier in the game, I managed to get by nearly unscathed due to the massive grinding I did in Sol Terrano and the first few areas of Oddward Valley.
I got to the boss area and saw that it was completely empty. This was the cue for me to put down my salted char to lure out the beast. It turns out I was dealing with two massive lions! At first I was pretty nervous about this encounter. The two boss battles I had engaged in previously required some serious level grinding, and I was certain that the same rules would apply here. Sadly, Rush fell in battle (fainted, not died), but he managed to deliver some serious damage to one of the lions. It was up to me to finish the job. I was surprised when I defeated them on my first try. I guess all that leveling up really paid off.
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Raven's Cold Heart
In between all of my adventuring and farming I made sure to set time aside for Raven, the shy redhead that I decided to woo. If you’ve played a Harvest Moon game before, then you know that marriage is a major part of the game later on. I had been giving Raven gifts, talking to her frequently, and I even celebrated her birthday with her. And then the unthinkable happened: She ended the relationship. I was pretty shocked at first, and then I thought about how the game’s plot would adjust to this event. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy challenging situations in the games I play, so I looked forward to seeing how this breakup would fit into the underlying tale of Sharance.
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Fishing, Romance, Boss Battles, and Level Grinding
I’ve spent a great deal of time playing Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, and every minute of it has been enjoyable. The level grinding isn’t tedious; the story is paced ever so smoothly; and the whole in-game world is a joy to explore. Join me next time as I try to patch things up with Raven and head to the icy Vale River.