Rune Factory 4 Review: Bachelors: Part 1
It's no secret that I love the Rune Factory games. The latest, Rune Factory 4 for 3ds, has been sucking up a lot of my time recently, and I don't think that a single review could possibly do it justice. Therefore, I'm going to be breaking them down into a series.
One of the most important aspects of Harvest Moon games in general, is the relationship meter. I'm going to preface this article by letting you know that there are going to be TONS of spoilers, because I'm reviewing it from the position of someone who's already completed the second arch of the storyline.
Rune Factory 4
Before we dive into the individual bachelors, I'm going to explain the relationship system. It is possible to befriend any and all townspeople, with a relationship anywhere from 1-100. This is not explained in-game, and until you start courting someone, it's really easy to think that the relationship meter only goes up to 10. Befriending someone allows you to take them into battle with you, and each character has unique strengths and weaknesses on the battlefield, which I will discuss in their individual capsules.
You can befriend people by speaking to them every day, and by giving them presents. If you gift them with a weapon or armor, they will wear it into battle and they will get any stat increases that you would expect from the item. They actually wear the item on their polygon model as well, which can lead to hilarious results, if you give everyone turnip headgear, like I did. In order to court a bachelor, you must get their relationship points above 5. Then you must take them on at least three dates. In addition, you must complete certain events, which are unlocked at certain relationship levels, and will then spawn randomly.
I'm going to list the bachelors in the order of attractiveness that I find them, but all are romancable marriage candidates.
Dylas is one of four elemental guardians called Earthmates. He sacrificed himself to power a rune spot in order to save the dragon, Lady Ventiswill. He's been in stasis for centuries, and has to adapt to a new life once you awaken him. This is done by beating the water ruins level, and as such, he does not become available to romance until after you beat that level. He originally has a monster form, a unicorn with elemental water and lightning attacks, and will not awaken until you defeat this form. Because he is a unicorn and not a human, even in his humanoid form he has attributes like horse ears and a tail. Before I bought the game, I thought that he was part dog, not part unicorn. He looks like a wolf to me, in his human form. Those ears look exactly like my dog's ears. But who am I to judge?
Dylas is difficult to warm up to. He's angry that he's wasted his life, angry that everyone he knew and loved is dead, and angry that his best friend wiped his memories to spare him the pain of accepting his lot in life. As a result, until you get his relationship meter up a couple of hearts, he's short tempered and has no interest in interacting with you. He just wants to be left alone to sort out his feelings. But, if you talk to him every day, he does eventually warm up. If you intend to marry Dylas, he makes his favorite gifts fairly easy to figure out. As a water elemental, he's often fishing. In fact, if he isn't working at Porceline's restaurant, he's normally fishing. If you give him fish or sashimi, he'll love them. He also loves carrots. Whatever you do, don't give him candy or any kind of sweets. He hates them. Unless it's the festival where you're supposed to give your lover a cookie. If it happens to be that festival day, he'll take the cookie, but he won't eat it. He just wants to be part of the fun.
His weapon of choice is the fists, so if you want to forge a good weapon for him, make him some powerful gloves and take him into battle. He has a lot of water-based spells to, but his low intelligence means that they aren't as good as they could be. If you can craft him some intelligence boosting accessories, it makes him a much better companion. I rarely go out without him on my team.
What should I call you?
I heard a rumor
Eventually, he'll ask why you keep talking to him. He's deathly afraid to make friends, and especially lovers, because everything he once loved is dead, and he's afraid that it will just happen again. But if you are persistent, you can eventually tell him that you love him, and he'll ask you to give him a night to think it over. If you meet him the next day at the town square, he'll say that he wants to give the relationship a chance. He'll then mention that he wants to use nick-names to signify how close you've gotten. You can pick the nicknames you want, and in my game, he calls me “honey” and I call him “Big D”.
It's a bit nerve-wracking for someone to go from being a priest in the Dragon Cult with enough power to keep rune spirits flowing for centuries to a waiter at a town's restaurant. But Dylas wants to help the restaurant's owner, Proceline. When Big D lost his memory, Porceline took him in and gave him a room and a job. But Dylas has poor people skills and has difficulty working with customers. Therefore, he will enlist your aid to teach him how to be friendly with people by teaching him how to smile. This quest is adorable. You walk him around town, getting advice on how to make a genuine smile from all the townspeople. He never gets it down. But at the end of the quest he smiles at you, and you just get to enjoy his actual, genuine smile, rather than the forced face he puts on for customers.
The dwarf, Doug, has been on Dylas's bad side because he tried to kill Lady Ventiswill. And even after he recanted his position and was accepted back into Selphia's good graces, Dylas has never accepted him. The two have tons of banter that you can walk in on, and all of them are gems. Recently I walked into the restaurant and found them engaged in an arm-wrestling contest. If you exit the restaurant and come back in, you'll see both of them lying on the floor as if they've knocked each other out.
Eventually, after Doug is injured in an attack on the Secs empire defending Selphia, Dylas starts to accept him. Then you get even more cutscenes/quests between the two of them where they slowly build a friendship. I recently unlocked a sitcom-esque quest where they decided to switch jobs to see who had an easier time. Doug went to work in the restaurant, and Dylas went to work in Doug's grandma's general store. Both came away with a new found respect for the other.
I'm having a difficult time unlocking Dylas's marriage event. When playing as the female protagonist, you have to get the male to propose to you, as was the style at the time. Unfortunately, the town events are randomly triggered by a random number algorithm. That means that sometimes you can play for years without triggering the marriage event. Before the event will trigger, you must get your lover's relationship points up to ten, and go on at least three dates. After that, it's a waiting game. His event is the type of awkward proposal you would expect from the poor, socially-challenged thing. He wants his proposal to be a surprise, so he just kind of grabs your hand to guess the size of an engagement ring. Then he hides in the blacksmith's shop, working on it, not talking to anyone. The protagonist thinks that they're fighting, since if you try to talk to him, he's super rude and kicks you out of his work area. In fact, the entire town seems to think that you've broken up. But he reviles his plan, when he also takes up the kitchen in the restaurant and prepares a feast before proposing. Half the town secretly watches, and regardless of your answer he's embarrassed to death.
Dylas Proposal Event
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