An existential experience for Wii.
Let's cut to the chase. Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny's plot involves a fighting farmer who must tear the soul of his deceased friend from the depths of his body in order to restore her to life. To accomplish this, he must farm with the assistance of monsters, and ride through the seas on the back of a giant clay golem named Ymir.
In our hands-on preview of Tides of Destiny, we saw what happens when what started as a relatively simple farming series in Harvest Moon, spirals into infinite complexity. The Rune Factory games have always been complex, as they are Harvest Moon games that involve the addition of dungeon crawling mechanics. During our short amount of time with the game, we witnessed the exploration, farming, item management, monster recruiting, and dungeon crawling portions of the game, and we didn't see nearly everything Tides of Destiny has to offer.
While there certainly isn't a lack of features, Tides of Destiny seems to be complex in the wrong ways, or at least it didn't seem to streamline everything that should have been. The act of farming has been mostly automated, but now players must worry about placing the proper monsters in their fields in order to grow certain crops, which must still be manually harvested. Players can place multiple seeds, but these seeds won't start to grow unless the correct monster has been assigned to the job. The player can feasibly end up spending the same amount of time menu diving that would have been previously spent in the fields harvesting.
Another example of misguided depth in the game is the fighting system. The player has a large array of weapons to choose from, but the combat itself felt shallow.
The most interesting element of Tides of Destiny was the exploratory mode. Highly reminiscent of Wind Waker, players roam the ocean atop a golem and can visit over twenty unique locations in addition to tens of smaller, less consequential locales. Certain areas are locked from the start, and the golem must be upgraded to facilitate access. Since players can establish a foothold on multiple islands, there's no telling how far reaching the scope of this game is. We didn't get the chance to see if each location was populated by deep or interesting characters.
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny arrives on Wii and PS3 this fall, and from what we were told the only features left out of the Wii version are sharper graphics and online leaderboards. By the looks of the PS3 version, the graphical gap between that and the Wii version isn't all that wide. Both platforms allow the player to choose between motion or traditional control, but the classic controller is not supported on Wii.