It was just four months ago that I gave up on the Switch version of Rune Factory 5. It had its issues with gameplay and overall design, yeah, but the main problem there was the absolutely atrocious performance – even by Switch standards. So now that very game finds itself on Steam with that issue supposedly fixed, let’s see if it is any better.
So the first thing you see when booting up the game is the launcher, one with quite a few options to change at that. High resolution support, window options, unlimited framerate, and then others like anti-aliasing, texture resolution, various shadow options, drawing distance (more on that later), and of course – key config. I tested with both controller and keyboard and mouse and had no issues there – the game actually plays somewhat well on keyboard and mouse and I never felt the need to change the default bindings. Granted, I still prefer a controller overall.
Finally in-game, and yes, the complete and utter lack of optimization and performance issues that the Switch version had are suddenly gone. Here, Rune Factory 5 finally runs at a stable framerate, with a high resolution, and without any of those massive fps dips that caused me to give up on it before.
I ran this version at 4k 144 fps with no performance issues to speak of and I cannot emphasize just how much of a changed experience it is. Everything feels smoother, the gameplay is faster, it’s less tedious, there’s just so much gained by actually having the game run properly that even the small things like instantly loading in and out of buildings I had newfound appreciation for. This is how it should have been before, not that mess that was actually delivered and that some hardcore Rune Factory fans somehow suffered through.
Of course, that’s not to say that it is perfect though. The game still obviously looks like a Switch port and you can easily see this in the low-res textures used across the board and the absolutely insane level of asset pop-in present. I have a 3080 Ti devs, why can’t you just allow foliage to show beyond a meter in front of me?
That and unfortunately this port has only furthered my belief that Rune Factory 5 suffered greatly from its jump to 3D and Switch exclusivity. You can have all the great performance you want, but the game world is still this large, spread-out, and boring thing, the residents just don’t have the same amount of character as those from Rune Factory 4, and the quality of life could still use some improvements too.
It’s not a bad game by any means, but after the exemplary showing that was the Steam version of Rune Factory 4 Special, I am still a bit let down and honestly cannot see myself playing through this one for review – I would much rather play something else in the genre or even just more Rune Factory 4.
And before I close out the article – I gotta give a mention to Steam Deck performance. It’s nowhere near the flawless performance I had on my desktop, but it is definitely not bad and still a much better alternative to the 30 fps and below Switch version. Putting the graphics to medium settings and running the game at 720p results in a 60 fps experience with occasional dips to 40-50. Of course, those numbers can be improved with further tweaks to the settings – I was just trying to find a baseline to work with.
So overall, would I recommend Rune Factory 5? Ehhhh, kinda. It’s still a fun enough farming sim on its own, but compared to the Rune Factory 4 release that we just got on PC, it is a bit of a disappointment. Would I recommend this version over the Switch version though? Absolutely, and I honestly feel bad for those that already suffered through that release to completion. I might come back and play this one from time to time, but for now, that’s pretty much all I have to say.
Rune Factory 5 retails for $60 USD on Steam. It is also available on Switch.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.