Hands-on Preview – Rune Factory 5

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since Rune Factory 4 Special released on Nintendo Switch. Granted, I suppose that was also a port from an older game, so maybe it’s not too surprising that it’s time for the next entry in the series. Rune Factory 5 is due out at the end of March, and luckily I’ve gotten a chance to spend some time in this new world and seeing how it compares to Rune Factory 4 Special. It even convinced me to go back and spend some more time farming and killing monsters there in preparation.

Rune Factory 5 Visuals

This looks like a huge upgrade from Rune Factory 4 Special.

From the get-go, there are some significant improvements that come from bringing this game from a portable to a home/portable console. First off, a fair amount of dialogue is actually voice acted. Not all of course, but there are some lines of dialogue and a good majority of cutscene dialogue. On top of this are the game’s 3D models. What an improvement over what RF4 had to offer! Again, this is clearly because of the improvements in the console it’s being released on, but it’s a nice step up for Rune Factory 5. Another big improvement is that there is a clear understanding that not everyone cares about the story. For those who don’t, you can actually skip most cutscenes and dialogue.

Rune Factory 5 Cutscenes

Beautiful design in the cutscene animations.

Visually, Rune Factory 5 is on a whole new level. Graphics look as good as something like Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and the cutscenes are beautifully animated as well. Enemy designs feel noticeable and obvious. There’s not many times you’ll come across something and wonder “will this attack me, or am I meant to just pass it by?” The world in Rune Factory 5 also feels much more sprawling than it did before. This is likely thanks to the change in character designs, but it’s much easier to immerse yourself in the world.


One thing that hasn’t changed, being able to run around with a stack of turnips.

If everything feels like too much for anyone coming over from Rune Factory 4 Special, there are some key things to note. First off, the controls are largely the same. It’s a pretty easy transition, even if this game isn’t top down, and is a bit more of an ARPG than the last one. Secondly, the main idea of the game is also largely the same. Farm, get vegetables, make food, go on adventures, and clear dungeons with bosses. The amount of things there are to do around Rigbarth is crazy, but of course it all starts with farming and introducing yourself to the locals.


Combat feels much more like an ARPG than a simple top down slasher.

I’m more than excited to dive further into Rune Factory 5, especially after tackling the game’s first dungeon and boss. With how big of an improvement this game is looking like it’s going to be, this may be the next thing to absorb my life until further notice.

Rune Factory 5 is set to release on March 22, 2022.