The fifth overall game of the Rune Factory series – as well as the second for the Wii, the first for the PS3, and supposedly the first to feature a female protagonist as an option – Rune Factory Oceans (known as Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny in North America) is the latest console installment in the Rune Factory franchise. Released in Japan on February 24th 2011, and in the US on October 11, 2011, the following details might be, of course, revealing to some. Read with caution - spoilers abound.The story begins when childhood friends Aden and Sonja are enveloped in a bright light, and whisked away to another world. Upon awaking, however, Aden finds his childhood friend nowhere in sight – rather, her consciousness has been transported into his own body. A young lady by the name of Odette soon discovers Aden, and offers him housing neighboring the "Three Sisters" inn that she and her two siblings, Lily and Violet, run. Sometime thereafter, though, a giant rises from a large, sudden rift in the ground – the result of a seed that Aden and Sonja had planted previous to their current circumstances – and descends upon the land. Finding the being cute, Sonja names it Ymir, who then permits the two to ride on him as he walks about the ocean. With this, new islands are upturned, sea monsters are fought, and the strange place Aden and Sonja are stranded in is slowly uncovered.Through all of this, the player may either control Aden or, after her body is recovered, Sonja, in addition to Ymir, who battles the larger enemies to be had in the game and raises upward of thirty lands - some of which may be farmed in lieu of a traditional field. Combat is once again conducted in real-time, though rhythm will factor as a larger part of success. Item synthesis, monster rearing, and relationship-building also remain as staples, and the ability to jump has been added. Portraits, however, have been swapped out in favor of "more-expressive" in-game models when talking with a character, though the player can now change the accessory displayed on that character with the press of a button when speaking with him or her.
This installment includes:
Action Girl: Sonja, obviously being a protagonist, is this.
Aerith and Bob: This is clearly in effect when there's an Aden, who talks to both a Kilt and a Knit (In the Japanese version only, Knit and Kilt are renamed to Quinn and Kelsey for the English release), who then talk to a Sonja, who then speaks with a Violet and a James. There are others too, of course, and they likewise fit into this diverse spectrum.
The Alcoholic: Applies to the pub-frequenting Bacchus, who, admittedly, appears to drink simply because he enjoys it, and not for emotional reasons.
Artificial Atmospheric Actions: In addition to the main characters, various N.P.C.s will come and go through Fenith Island, following their own schedules and discussing what they will with either Sonja or Aden.
Bifauxnen: The local general store owner, Sierra, is this, in addition to Mikoto, a guard hired to protect Fenith Island. The latter fits this better than the former, however, as even in-game characters mistake her for a male.
Big Bad: A mysterious robed individual by the apt moniker of the "Masked Man◊" serves as this.
Big Eater: Beatrix is this, largely seen when acting as the host and head judge of the annual cooking competition.
The Blacksmith: Elena. In addition to her smithy work, she also makes and uses partially-mechanical golems - one of which runs the weapons shop, "Chronos," for her.
Body Language: Owed largely to the new in-game models, characters now display a good variety of expressive gestures, allowing the player to infer what's being said even if the language is not entirely understood or surmise the personality of a specific individual from his or her on-screen actions.
Cel Shaded: The graphics have a decidedly "storybook-like" feel to them, and help to further accentuate the tropical, Greek-inspired scenery.
"To the Harbor? This must take me down to the harbor."
"It's a streetlight. It's doing... pretty much exactly what you'd expect a streetlight to do."
Sonja is particularly fond of this while trapped in Aden's body, spouting off the time of day and the weather when it's clearly visible and shouting "Monsters!" whenever monsters are nearby. Strangely enough, she does that last one during boss battles, too; even during the fight with her own possessed body.
Character Customization: Way overdone. There as many stats for you to work with as there are monsters. There are even seperate stats for fighting different types of monsters, or for jumping, double jumping (which isn't any harder than jumping) and swinging your sword while jumping.
Childhood Friends: In one of Odette's heart events, Aden says that he and Sonja have known each other since they were born.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Beatrix's general personality and habits can lean toward being rather bizarre at times.
Color-Coded Characters: Aden? He's the one with light silvery-blue hair. Sonja? She's the one with pink. Shocking.
Continuity Nod: Candy, Anette, and Tabathavisit Fenith Island with roles similar to those had when still residing in Trampoli - the exception to this is the formermost, who is now a student at the Royal Magic Academy of Norad researching local spiritual phenomena. Furthermore, various musical themes from the preceding title also return.
Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Applies to Jocelyn, as she has to be, at the very least, somewhat learned in order appraise the various and random items brought to her.
Expies: Daisuke is the local treasure hunter? Rin is James' younger sister? Tsukasa is aspiring to be the main protagonist? Preposterous!
Expressive Clothes: Pandora's floating scarf often reacts to her emotions, hovering casually when she is calm or twisting slightly when she is angered.
Fancy Gown: Electra certainly has one of the more extravagant dresses seen on any character, of which has tools and various clothier paraphernalia spread about her person, likely used for her accessory crafting.
Failure Is the Only Option: Trying to create an item with a significantly higher crafting level than yours will list the item as "Can't Make Yet". Trying to make it anyway will get you a crafting meter that is completely red: your attempts to make that item will be doomed to failure until you can raise the appropriate skill level.
Fanservice: On the menu screen where you can check your relationship status with the bachelor/ettes, a press of a button shifts their profile image from fully clothed to bikini-clad.
Fetch Quests: Make a return, though require Aden or Sonja to travel across miles of open sea to complete.
Friendly Enemy: Pandora to both Aden and Sonja. The three can strike up a nice, somewhat friendly conversation, for example, only to have Pandora easily turn their chat around into a dark and menacing exchange, then back to amiable banter again soon thereafter. She also proves relatively helpful later on in the game. Additionally, she seems to be on relatively good terms with Fenith Island's younger citizens, one of whom addresses her as "Devil-chan."
Friendship Moment: Aden and Sonja have one early on in the game, where they declare they care deeply for one another before being enveloped in a mysterious, white light that serves as a catalyst for the plot. Later on, after the final battle has ended, Aden protects an unconscious Sonja as the two free-fall back to earth.
Gadgeteer Genius: Elena is this, to some degree, given the partially-mechanical nature of the golems she builds, though sometimes her experimentations fail her. Otherwise, her expertise knowledge does not seem to deviate from this area much.
Grand Theft Me: Sonja has this happen to her at the beginning of the game, largely as a result of the Masked Man's meddling.
Green-Eyed Monster: Because of their current circumstances, Sonja will become increasingly more jealous as Aden develops his relationships with those of the opposite gender. The same can be said of him, too, though.
Green Eyes: Both Sonja and Anette have shades of these.
Hands-Off Parenting: Arguable with Beatrix; while she is not terribly neglectful, she spends the better part of the day in the family's backyard, attempting to dig up a buried fortune, and therefore leaving her daughter Electra not only to her own devices, but also those inherent with being Fenith Island's representative. Additionally, Fenith Island's Descended Dragon, upon laying its egg, promptly departs back to the Forest of Beginnings.
Healing Spring: The hot spring, open once daily, fully restores any HP and RP lost due to battling or more mundane activities, such as farming and fishing. Unlike previous installments, however, it is a free utility.
More specifically, he gets a free resurrection and protection from the boss's That One Attack from each islander he has maxed Friendship with (level 6), plus Sonja and the Goblin Chief.Needless to say that for someone who took their time towning around, it becomes a cakewalk.
The final boss's trash-the-whole-field-from-the-sky attack seems to invoke this (forcing The Power of Friendship to come in and save the day).
Hot-Blooded: Joe can be interpreted as this, as well as Aden, though to a lesser degree.
Humongous Mecha: While not explicitly a robot, Ymir the giant golem qualifies as this, since it is big and lumbering, and you 'pilot' it to travel over the ocean. You can even engage in battle against giant monsters with it.
I Choose to Stay: After the final battle, the arch-dragon offers to send Aden and Sonja back to their time period. Obviously, they refuse.
Important Haircut: After having a heartfelt conversation with Aden concerning her past, Mikoto receives one, considering it a symbol of rebirth and a declaration of self-confidence.
Improbable Hairstyle: In a setting where the majority of folks have rather sane hair, Odette arguably stands out the most, with a few others - such as Pandora, and perhaps even Joe - following closely behind.
Improbable Weapon User: One iteration of the twin blades weapon is... giant fireworks. One axe weapon that is available is called "Passion", which is...an electric guitar.
Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Appear once again. Many are especially jarring, however, considering that they are neatly located upon previously-sunken islands, which are raised from the ocean depths then thrown several miles before coming back to rest.
Insecure Love Interest: After beating the main storyline and choosing to continue the game as Aden, you may come across a scene where Odette laments about the scar on her face. Later you may find her at the General Store, trying to buy some foundation from Bismark. If the player marries Odette, she will ask Aden if he's satisfied with her, saying that she wants to be perfect for him but her scar won't let her. The player will be given a choice—either one will make her feel better about herself.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Bearing in mind you can double-jump in this game.. even if you can happily walk either side of a low wall, you will not be allowed to leap over it.
Intrepid Merchant: James is this in part, selling a wide variety of wares ranging from house expansions to lottery tickets he presumably obtains elsewhere.
Island of Adventure: Fenith Island seems to have an unhealthy habit of attracting all things peculiar, and yet no one seems to think any of this as out-of-the-ordinary. Possessions, physical deities, giants bursting from the earth, talking statues, and a young man with a disembodied soul in his head? It's all good.
Item Crafting: As mentioned previously, this ability makes a return, offering the player with improvable cooking, alchemy, forging, and carpentry skills.
It's Always Spring: Averted and played straight. The seasons change accordingly on Fenith Island, as could be expected, often drawing the attention of the townsfolk, who will comment on the weather. However, certain isles and elemental temples retain a specific season throughout, regardless of what is occurring elsewhere.
Justified Tutorial: Upon his arrival, Odette takes it upon herself to guide Aden around Fenith Island, giving brief descriptions of various locations as they stop and introducing him to both residents and concepts of the game alike. Furthermore, Aden and Sonja both discuss battle tactics and the like with one another while similarly incorporating rules of play into their conversations.
Katana Are Just Better: The katana and similar blades allow for quick, often devastating blows, despite their narrow line of attack.
Mikoto uses one, and is wearing the sheath upside down.
The Klutz: Lily is rather clumsy, causing her younger siblings to take care of certain chores, such as cooking. She is quite adept at playing the lute, however, and so functions as Fenith Island's bard, often playing at the bar at night for the patrons.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Pandora, a mysterious figure with the assumed form of a young woman, introduces herself as "the dark lord," though she quickly corrects herself and states she's "merely a witch." Later on, however, she is not entirely shy about discussing her true title.
Lethal Chef: Lily. Her cooking is so bad that it paralyzes Aden in one scene.
Limited Wardrobe: Subverted. The player can't change Aden and Sonja's clothing, but he or she may create accessories for the protagonists (and any other villager) to wear.
Mad Scientist: Elena often forces Aden into being a test dummy for her newest golem creations. It is also suggested that she urges Aden and Sonja to let her dissect Ymir.
Magic Music: Sonja, as well as Odette, Lily, and Violet, are able to sing the Spirit Song, which was previously touched on and heard in Rune Factory Frontier. As can the Masked Man. A variation of it is sung at the Dragon Shrine, as well as at the last stage of the monster arena and during the final battle.
Meaningful Name: Ymir, generally speaking, is a giant from Norse mythology. Additionally, Bacchus is named after the Roman god of wine and revelry, while Pandora is related to the Greek woman associated with releasing evil upon the world, albeit accidentally. Violet is a Shrinking Violet.
The Medic: Violet, naturally, given that she is Fenith Island's resident nurse.
Medium Awareness: Some of the characters display this when they are giving out explanations of different gameplay aspects. For instance, Violet will explain Rune Points to you by pointing out the RP gauge in the upper-left corner of the screen.
Meganekko: Both Maerwen and Jocelyn are this, though the former takes her glasses off during certain situations.
Miko: Odette is this to Fenith Island's Descended Dragon, and often dutifully accepts a wide range of monetary donations for its shrine, as well as cares for its egg once it departs back to the Forest of Beginnings.
Minigame Festivals: Quite the variety, with a portion of previously-seen events returning and a few new ones added as well. These range from various beach activities, to fishing, to a lottery contest, and to a... fake-marriage day?
Monster Allies: Monster rearing plays a more notable role in this installment, allowing for three monsters at a time to be taken adventuring with Aden or Sonja during any one expedition.
Monster Arena: Upon completion of the game, one such one becomes available to either Aden or Sonja to test their mettle within.
The Napoleon: Elena, though whether her ill-mannered behaviour stems from her height - or lack thereof - or otherwise is not quite known.
Nice Hat: Aden. Beatrix and James may count as well, though how much sarcasm one uses in concerns to this will depend. Then there's Sonja's headband-thingy and Candy's zipper-beret...
Non-Idle Rich: Amongst other duties, Electra takes up part-time jobs and does the housework, which she doesn't necessarily mind, though much to Maerwen's chagrin. Beatrix isn't idle either, being acting mayor (though it's implied that she does little work at this) and busily attempting to mine the hillside in her back yard.
Although Electra and Beatrix aren't rich themselves; they just come from a rich family.
Not the Fall That Kills You: After the final battle, Aden and Sonja freefall toward the earth and are stopped suddenly by the power of the spirits. One could say they saved them, but it's still impossible.
Older Than She Looks: People still give Elena candy on Halloween due to how young she looks, but she's at least old enough to marry.
Our Demons Are Different: While Pandora can, at times, exhibit more stereotypical traits associated with her race, such as intolerance of holy objects, she has no issues dwelling within Fenith Island's church once she has been fully revived from her petrification. Furthermore, she's capable of being rather amiable and even helpful, as previously mentioned.
Our Dragons Are Different: In Aden’s and Sonja’s world, dragons - specifically called “Descended Dragons” in-game - seem to roam free, and at least four of the same species can be seen flying overhead at one point. Despite this, this seems to be a somewhat disconcerting matter, as neither Aden nor Sonja seem too pleased about the occurrence. Once they are transported to Fenith Island, however, one of those same dragons and its young, which serves as the Dragon Gods, are often interacted with and command more reverence than fear.
Our Elves Are Different: Maerwen and Tabatha are two, both of whom seem to be a part of a growing trend in the Rune Factory universe, though neither minds her position in life. Additionally, Maerwen frequently makes a direct reference to "Dark Elves," even mentioning that her odd name means something to the affect of "white flowers on the water" among her people.
Patchwork Kids: The physical characteristics of Aden's or Sonja's children largely depend upon whom they marry; for example, should the former be-wed the latter, their son◊ will inherit his mother's pink hair and turquoise eyes.
People Puppets: Lily becomes subjected to this as a result of possession, as well as Odette, who soon thereafter comes to her sister's aid. Additionally, Pandora becomes possessed by her own father several times, as he disapproves of her being in a relationship, as well as for other various reasons. Oh, and then there's Sonja's body in the guise of the Masked Man too.
Physical God: Fenith Island's Descended Dragon is this, being that its kind is normally abundant elsewhere.
Plucky Girl: Sonja, certainly. Despite being forced to live in another's body as a virtual spirit for an unspecified amount of time, on top of being trapped in a world that's not her own, her naturally bright disposition is rarely dampened.
Pointy Ears: Maerwen has these, though unlike previous representations of those of her race, her ears are at a more perpendicular, somewhat down-facing position upon her head. Tabatha's, on the other hand, are more standard in shape and position, though are often hidden by her bonnet.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Some of the better items in the game are some of the more ridiculous looking ones. One of the best pieces of head gear is an elephant mask for instance.
Raised By Grandparent: Joe lives with his grandfather, Bacchus, off Fenith Island's local pier. The two tend to clash over the validity of his profession.
Really 700 Years Old: Pandora is at very least 400 years old, but still appears to be a young woman.
Saintly Church: The church on Fenith Island is multifunctional, acting as a religious center, an infirmary and drug store, and a place to be wed. It also serves as a home of sorts for the orphans Quinn and Kelsey, as well as Pandora later on.
Scars Are Forever: Odette has a slim scar under her right eye and an arguably more prominent one upon her upper right arm, of which is partially concealed by an armband. Grey, too, has one on the left side of his face, and Bacchus has many on his arms. The extent, impact - if any - and circumstances of or behind these injuries are currently unknown, though, of course, they might just be there to look cool, too.
Actually, Odette does, indeed, explain her scar. Sonja asks about it and Odette is surprised she had just noticed. She goes on to awkwardly explain that it had come from a time when she was a child, sharpening a knife, and tried to cut a rock with it. Hilarity Ensued.
Sea Monsters: Come in several varieties, and often serve as the main adversaries for Ymir when out on the open ocean.
Sharing a Body: What Aden must do with Sonja. Of note, however, is Sonja's ability to take control of Aden somewhat, which allows her to accomplish tasks she otherwise would not be able to do, given the circumstances; others can also communicate with her, to some degree. Nevertheless, it still proves to be awkward for Sonja, of course, as she must comply with Aden's rules during various - and sometimes uncomfortable - situations.
Shrinking Violet: Violet has a tendency of being unable to speak and blushing furiously when around Aden, though raising her Relationship Values assuages said problems. Kelsey, too, is debilitatingly shy, particularly so around none other than the aforementioned Violet.
Spell My Name with an S: In the Japanese version, Sarah and Maerwen are subject to this, given the way their names are written and due to the conventions surrounding katakana; as such, the former can be referred to as Sera or Sela, amongst other iterations, while the latter can be referred to as Merupurin or Melpulin. Furthermore, Elena is occasionally referred to as Helena, Lily is often referred to as Lili, Electra is often referred to as Elektra, Jocelyn is often referred to as Jaslyn or Juslyn, Bismarck is sometimes referred to as Bismark, and Pandora is technically supposed to be Pandra - at least according to the pre-order material - but that's not nearly as cool. A couple of them have had completely different Dub Name Changes, including Sarah to Sierra and Melprine to Maerwen.
Stable Time Loop: As typical for this trope, understanding this one will cause quite a few headaches:
Aden and Sonja were summoned into present-day Fenith from their own time 200 years in the past, though they are not quite aware of this for most of the game. Months later, towards the end of the story, they attempt to summon the Wind Dragon Priestess from 200 years in the past, only for the summoning to be intercepted and the priestess gets stuck in some other unspecified time period. As it turns out, Sonja is the Wind Dragon Priestess, and the “unspecified time period” she got stuck in was the time several months before, at the beginning of the game. So Aden and Sonja were dragged out of their time in the past by themselves, trying to drag who they didn’t know were themselves from their time in the past, after having themselves been dragged out of their time by themselves trying to unknowingly drag who they didn’t know were themselves from their time in the past and so on and so forth.
As a bonus, they were attempting to do this because the lineage of the Wind Dragon Priestess had died out 200 years before. In truth, the last Wind Dragon Priestess had been yanked out of her time before she had any children, by the very ritual they were performing, which in turn was only necessary because the priestess had been yanked out of her time before she had any children. Time travel is fun!
Tsundere: Mikoto - so much so that she even threatens to slice Aden in two should he, supposedly, attempt anything "unwholesome." Additionally, Odette is this in part, and Elena goes so far as to call James an "idiot."
Turns Red: Played straight, both literally and figuratively.
Unlucky Childhood Friend: Should the player decide to have Aden or Sonja become betrothed to any other possible marriageable candidate.
Unusual Ears: Pandora has these, which widen at the top and are slightly segmented by ridges, perhaps reinforcing her demonic background.
Unusual Eyebrows: Maerwen has these, which, at first glance, almost appear to be tattoos of some sort. As to why they are like that has yet to be explained.
Verbal Tic: Bonaparte has a peculiar propensity for ending certain words with random suffixes, while Lily has a tendency of saying "Oh my," somewhat indiscriminately, during conversations.
Why Did It Have To Be Water?: Upon asking her why she is rarely seen on the beach despite her fondness of the ocean, a flustered Mikoto admits to Aden and Sonja that she does not swim. After a conversation further concerning this, she offhandedly alludes to her possible aquaphobia. Seems like she overcomes her fears◊ somewhat in the end, though.
World Domination: Dialogue reveals this is Pandora's ultimate goal, despite her initial denial. She then goes on to induct Aden and Sonja as her chief followers, discusses her strategical tactics with them, and recruits Quinn and Kelsey to her cause.