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Video Game / Rune Factory 2

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An adventure spanning generations!

The sequel to the first Rune Factory, also on the DS, it was developed by Neverland Co and released by Natsume in North America in November 2008. It introduced message board requests, marriage rivals, and a playable Second Generation (similar to the Agarest games).

The story begins a few years after the events of the first game, with an amnesiac wandering into a small village named Alvarna and meeting a girl named Mana (and her father, Douglas). He doesn't even remember his own name, so Mana decides to call him Kyle. They happen to have a disused farm, and Mana convinces Kyle to live and work on it. Everything else initially falls into the same formula as the first game: you go into dungeons, farm crops and flowers, battle and tame monsters, befriend everyone in the village and eventually marry someone and have a son/daughter. However, after Kyle vanishes one stormy night, his kid sets out to find out what happened to him and becomes the playable character.

This video-game provides examples of:

  • Apathetic Citizens: Subverted during the Second Generation, by Barrett (your teacher), who was content to let you wander around the dungeons so long as you didn't get caught and didn't hurt yourself (he even helped you indirectly)... Until the moment it comes to fighting one of the Elder Dragons, Fiersome. Even though he knows that Alvarna and probably the world will be destroyed otherwise, he is very quick to tell you it's too dangerous and then hides away Dragon Break, the required magic to defeat Fiersome.
    • He does it again when you get Omni-Gate completed with his help. His reasoning is better this time, as Omni-Gate sounds like a teleport spell that works differently (it's actually a summoning spell), and he doesn't know what it will do. For all he knows, it may be something like teleporting the caster to a potentially dangerous place with no way back, and he won't risk anything.
  • And Your Reward Is Parenthood: The First Generation is largely an extended tutorial until you get married and have a child, as your son or daughter becomes the new protagonist afterwards.
  • Back Stab: The battle system encourages this, as the book "The Color of War" in your home (basically the battle tutorial) says that attacking enemies from behind will do a bit more damage than usual to them (though this applies to you as well).
  • Beef Gate: You can run straight to the bosses from the start of the Second Generation. Unless you're skilled and know the bosses' patterns, this is a terrible idea. This also applies to the enemies you fight both old and new. i.e an Orc Viking in Padova Mountains will probably kill you in a few hits at first until you level up significantly and forge better weapons and gear.
  • The Blacksmith: Tanya. She's even said to have a Level 99 Forging Skill, if the status screen is any indication. Jake also wants to be one, and works for Tanya to improve his own skills. They also avert Informed Ability, as while you can make better equipment at the forge/workbench than anything they sell, certain requests from both of them during the Second Generation give you unique weapons as rewards. They're not too strong (granted, they're handing them over to a kid that just did a favor to them), but they can't be obtained anywhere else in the game, even with forging.
  • Boring, but Practical: Several lesser Skill Seals are far more powerful (the spear's L1 Thrust Strike and shortsword's L2 Dash Slash) or useful (shortsword L1 Power Wave, with a quick hand can be used to capture monsters far above your level) than the higher level Seals.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: The "marriages" at the Second Generation are more or less these.
  • Collision Damage: The light magic Shine is this in weapon form. When cast, it creates orbs of light circling your character that disappear after a few seconds or when making contact, causing damage (higher levels create more orbs). The Emperor enemies know this, as rather than using it as a shield, they'll constantly cast it and chase you when low on health.
  • Continuity Nod: Cecilia comes back as a marriage candidate in this game, and she makes a few references to the events and people of the first game. She mentions Raguna (and the time he saved her) when Kyle gets to know her, mentions a few people from Kardia Village in other conversations (Tabatha is the reason she works as a maid now) and even talks about when Raguna and the Elder Dragon Terrable saved Kardia from the Sechs Empire, the ending of the first game.
    • Max and Barrett (on separate occasions) also briefly talk with the player character about the Sechs Empire and the Shifts, the machines that summon monsters in the first game, giving a few more details about them.
  • Covers Always Lie: Though game art and the in-game animation itself suggest that both Aaron and Aria will be included in the game, Kyle and his wife will only have one of the two, at the player's choice.
  • Crutch Character: Kyle has shades of this, stats notwithstanding, as these thankfully carry over to Aaron/Aria. All of his farming tools start at a Lv. 3 equivalent, which makes farming activities and the subsequent money-making initially much easier than usual for a Harvest Moon game. However, there are several options unavailable to him:
    • There isn't a forge, pharmacy, kitchen or workbench available, meaning you can't make/upgrade equipment or make your own dishes/medicine. His farming tools also downgrade to their Lv. 1 equivalents during the Time Skip, meaning you can't charge them anymore until you upgrade them.
    • His equipment itself is very limited. He can get the basic weapons from Tanya, other basic accessories from quests and Tanya herself, 1 spell at its most basic level, 1 Skill Seal and 1 Monster Ability. That's it. Almost all of it will become outdated after the Second Generation begins.
    • He can't access parts of the dungeons that are blocked by fences(As he cannot slip by them) and walls(Due to amnesia he cannot understand them), limiting the areas which he can explore.
    • At least half of the list of monsters doesn't appear at all during the First Generation.
    • Finally, he goes away just before the Second Generation starts. And when you do bring him back, he steps aside and lets his kid work on the farm.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kyle. Though he's featured on the front of all the marketing material, he disappears before the Second Generation, never to be played again, a shock to players expecting a more straightforward plot as per the other games in the franchise. Gameplay in the First Generation is somewhat restricted and many zones are inaccessible to him, so there's really little to do in the first part of the game besides grinding levels, making money, hoarding items, and raising monsters until he gets married for the Second Generation (as stats, funds, stored items, and monster FP carry over), with all the action and plot intrigue saved for beyond that point.
  • Developers' Desired Date: The First Generation's opening heavily features Mana, who is the one who suggests Kyle take over the abandoned farm. While Kyle will have a child with any of his marriage candidates, one of the requirements for moving to the Second Generation is to build a school for Mana, who really, really wants to become a teacher. As a result, Kyle ultimately makes a grand gesture for Mana no matter who he's actually courting.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Longswords are hard to use effectively if you don't notice it's a defensive weapon. Most of the time, instead of just running to the enemy and hitting them repeatedly (the usual shortsword playstyle), you wait for the enemy's approach and time your attack so it strikes as soon as they get within range. If you learn the sword's range, the enemy's patterns, proper positioning for yourself, and the effective use of your charged attacks (that are actually very useful), it's a far more effective weapon than it seems at first glance.
  • Disappeared Dad: The second half of the game has Kyle leave his family for an unknown reason, at which point the player takes control of his son/daughter (Aaron/Aria, respectively) in order to find out why. Once they find him, he disappears again in the game's emotional climax, but the denouement allows them to bring him back for good.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Silver Wolf monster can be tamed as soon as you get the Monster Barn and the Pet Glove. It starts off like a regular one, but if you grind your Communication skill to raise his FP diligently and store enough fodder to ensure it stays like that, it'll easily be the most useful battle monster in the First Generation. It can be ridden and will do most of the fighting for you when you aren't riding it, as every other monster does Scratch Damage to it and is defeated in two hits, tops. The only balancing factors are that it'll take a bit of time, and it's a bit slow when using its Tackle attack.
  • Double Unlock: In the second half of the game, you have to be "taught" the various crafting recipes by either Mana or Barrett before you can get started cooking/crafting things, yet at first, you won't be able to do so until you can afford to make expansions to the school and buy the various things you'll need. Byron is your source for expansions while Yue will sell you cooking equipment and the small/large versions of other things.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Subverted at first, when the first ending involves Kyle being forced to go back to the Forest of Beginnings, leading to a tearful goodbye between him and his child. Afterwards, however, the player can do a series of tasks and bring their father back for good.
  • Fetch Quest: The vast majority of the bulletin board requests in the First Generation are this. They come in two flavors: either you get the item yourself in some way, or the item will appear somewhere after talking to the requester about it (and s/he will always give you a helpful hint about the location). There are some exceptions, and they have a bit more variety in the Second Generation.
  • Foreshadowing: During the First Generation, a few big earthquakes happen on Alvarna on certain days, and you see the entire town comment about it and getting increasingly worried. You eventually discover the reason behind the earthquakes near the end of the game. It's because Fiersome, the Elder Dragon of Fire, is sealed under Alvarna, and the seal is gradually breaking.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Sometimes, for no apparent reason, reading some signs (especially the one in front of your barn) will cause the game to freeze.
  • Golden Path: Despite Mana being the girl heavily featured in the opening, Rosalind has some unique dialogue with Kyle after marriage, and Max will acknowledge you as his nephew or niece in the Second Generation. The other girls have the same generic marriage dialogue.
  • Guide Dang It!: The villagers' special birthday gifts. These gifts give a great FP/LP boost when you give them to the villagers on their respective birthdays, and they tell you the days when you get 4 LP with them. But there aren't any hints to which particular gift the villager loves, unless you happen to give it to him/her anytime. Yue sells the gifts for the First Generation villagers (the only way to get them in the First Generation), and it's listed in the very same order as the villagers on the Friendship Levels screen when set to ascending Auto (Fried Rice is Douglas', Roasted Yam is Mana's, etc), but the game doesn't tell you this and you have to make the items yourself for the new Second Generation characters, adding even more guesswork.
    • Inquisitive Waltz. It's a Monster Ability that makes your monster search for items in the area of the dungeon you're currently in. But you need to defeat every enemy and gate first, and it will only find items on a specific part of the area (otherwise, it fails to find anything and implies there's nothing there). The Guide Dang It! part is that using it on certain areas of every dungeon is the only way to obtain certain materials, and not only all of them are vital for Item Crafting, you got these items as War Trophies in the first game from enemies that return in this game.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: The fences strewn about in the dungeons. In the Second Generation, Aaron or Aria can slip right past them. Even if they're riding an animal much bigger than themselves.
  • Item Crafting: The first game to introduce the option of upgrading your equipment, but it works differently from later games. Instead of each material adding different stats to the equipment when used for upgrading (allowing customization), there's a separate recipe for upgrades involving the equipment and certain items, so you'll use the same materials repeatedly to make your equipment stronger (and the bonuses are fixed). Equipment can't go past level 10, and while you can still "upgrade" it, it won't change anything except giving you skill level experience.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Subverted. Katanas are treated as longswords and require slightly higher skill levels to forge them (the Steel Slicer has the highest required skill level to forge of all longswords, at 92), and are easier to use because of a slightly better range, but every single one of them is outclassed in strength by longswords of similar respective levels.
  • Kissing Cousins: In what is probably an oversight, marring Rosalind or Alicia makes Leann (daughter of Rosalind's brother, Max) or Sera & Serena (Twin daughters of Alicia's brother, Ray) your child's cousins, but doesn't stop said child from courting them.
  • Money for Nothing: Zigzagged with actual money, as even though it's easy to have a lot more money than necessary if you know what you're doing, there's always something to spend it on, like items exclusively for cooking or equipments for easier forging. Played straight with wood, as after you pay for every upgrade to the barn and school, some specific forge recipes are the only thing left that uses it (and they use 1 piece at a time). By then, you'll probably have thousands of useless wood pieces.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The school's Dojo is a Type 1. You fight some enemies from every dungeon, always one at a time. It gets harder with each subsequent win until you're fighting 10 enemies. By clearing these challenges, Barrett gives you Skill Seals. Time also doesn't pass while you're inside, making it a good way to level up and learn patterns of enemies you'll eventually see if you go as soon as possible.
    • Palermo Shrine has a Type 2 featuring enemies from the dungeon (and the occasional new enemies) required to progress.
  • Nerf: The delay on shortsword attacks is obviously this, since there's no intuitive reason for it aside from the fact that the previous game's shortswords attacks were near instantaneous, and thus, faster than every other weapon.
  • Official Couple: Kyle and Mana, as shown by the first opening.
  • Port Town: Alvarna. You can even use a boat on its port to access Blessia Island.
  • Power Up Letdown: Possibly thanks to an oversight with some recipes, some equipments become worse when forging them.
    • Forging the Fire-elemental Raventine into a (also Fire-elemental) Sunspot is a bad idea, because the Sunspot has less Attack, doesn't give as much Forging experience because you need a lower skill level to forge it (38, when Raventine's skill level is 45) and it doesn't do anything different from Raventine.
    • The Chaos Blade is the strongest shortsword with the Darkness element, but the Soul Eater needed to forge it may be far more useful in the long run, because its secondary effect is absorbing HP from the enemy with each hit (it's the only shortsword that does this, no less), while the Chaos Blade's effect is a chance to paralyze the enemy with every hit. This is particularly weird, as the Chaos Blade did have Soul Eater's effect in the first game.
    • The strongest longsword in the game in terms of sheer power is the Heaven Asunder, a longsword that needs a Forging skill level close to 33. Other longswords' required skill levels go all the way into the nineties (see Steel Slicer above), making most of them this if you're going solely for the Attack boost. The only time it may not be the best option is when facing Wind-elemental enemies, and even then the extra strength may probably outweigh elemental affinities.
    • Subverted with the Balmung. Like other examples, it's weaker than the Punisher required to make it, but when traded after reaching Level 10, it becomes the Omni-Elemental, the strongest longsword after the Heaven Asunder and the only Light-elemental longsword in the game.
    • The Magical Shield can be upgraded into a Element Shield... and the Element Shield gives less magic defense and less protection to status ailments. The Magical Shield protects against all 3 main ailments, while the Element Shield only protects against Sealing. And unlike the first game (and what its name and description implies), the Element Shield doesn't give actual protection against elemental attacks.
    • The non-elemental spears' progression gives you the second best non-elemental spear (Trident). The best non-elemental spear (Dragon's Fang) needs two other spears in its recipe, both of which aren't any of the spears needed to forge the Trident nor the Trident itself.
  • Relationship Values: Like the first game, this game has two, Friendship Points (FP) and Love Points (LP). Everyone in the town has FP, and the marriage candidates have LP. LP usually grows along with FP, and the max for both is 10. Alicia is an exception, as she outright tells you that gifts won't win her over (you need to pay for her readings). Monsters have FP too, and raising them by taking care of them is how you make them stronger.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Alicia wears a stripperific variation of it. Bonus points because unlike Melody, she actually has magical powers.
  • Socialization Bonus: The only way to get certain weapons is to upgrade some other weapons until Level 10 and then trade it with a friend. Some of these happen to be the strongest weapons in the game, like the Rune Blade or the Magic Broom.
  • Starter Equipment: Weapons wise, this applies to what Tanya sells you in the first half of the game. They are solid enough for Kyle's fighting needs, but they quickly become outclassed by what Aaron/Aria can forge in the second half of the game. In fact, they all serve as a common crafting component for some of the games better weapons.
    • Subverted by the farming tools. They are all Level 3 with a Level 2 charge making them more than adequate for all of your farming, mining, and fishing needs. In the second half however, they haven't aged well downgraded to Level 1 tools with no charge. Thankfully, you can upgrade them back to their former efficiency and eventually make them even better than that.
  • Theme Naming: The dungeons (Trieste Forest, Blessia Island, Messhina Valley, Padova Mountains and Palermo Shrine) are all named after Italian cities, though some are similar names (likely due to translation errors), like Blessia (the city is named Brescia).
  • Timed Mission: Sort of. Most girls have a certain marriage deadline, and if you don't propose to them until said day arrives, whether you're married to someone else or not, they'll marry their respective marriage rivals (unless you steal them, see more below). The exceptions are Mana, Alicia and Yue (if every girl with a rival gets married to them).
  • Time Skip: 7 years pass between the First and Second Generations.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Can you say bride-stealing? Should the player choose to see a rival marriage, they have the option of stealing the bride from the altar (as long as they can marry her themselves), at the cost of losing all FP with the rival.
  • When Trees Attack: The first boss in the game is the Dead Tree. Many of its attacks are apple-themed and it'll start moving when it Turns Red.