Rune Factory 3 Special from Xseed Games and Marvelous for Nintendo Switch and Steam released a few days ago in the West as a remake of the DS game that was released over a decade ago. I covered the opening hours of an early build in my PC preview, and since then have been playing the full retail release on both Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck for review. In a lot of ways, Rune Factory 3 Special feels like the perfect game to play not only after Rune Factory 4 Special, but also as your first taste of this amazing series. If you’ve not gotten Rune Factory 4 Special yet, read my review of it on Switch here and on PC here. Having gotten into the series through Rune Factory 4 and then even enjoying Rune Factory 5 despite its issues, I was curious to see how Rune Factory 3 would feel. In my Rune Factory 3 Special Steam Deck and Switch review, I’m going to cover why this is worth your time as the perfect chilled out game in this busy release season despite the game’s few flaws.
Rune Factory 3 Special PC requirements
Rune Factory 3 Special PC minimum requirements
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- DirectX: Version 12
- Storage: 4GB available space
Rune Factory 3 Special PC recommended requirements
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-9300H
- Memory: 16GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650Q
- DirectX: Version 12
- Storage: 4GB available space
Rune Factory 3 Special PC graphics options
Nothing has really changed from the preview build I played to this final release. Rune Factory 3 Special on PC only lets you adjust the graphics options from the launcher before getting into the game. From the graphics and display options, you can adjust window mode (full screen, borderless, and windowed), resolution (720p to 4K), anti-aliasing (none to 8x), text language (many options), voice language (English or Japanese), toggle shadows, toggle post-processing, and toggle v-sync. V-sync being on is also required to play at higher frame rates than 60fps.
Rune Factory 3 Special PC control options – keyboard, mouse, controller, but no touch
Rune Factory 3 Special has support for keyboard & mouse gameplay in addition to controller support. There isn’t any mouse support for cursor movement on Steam Deck even with an external mouse connected. You can rebind control options from the launcher, but not while in-game just like the graphics options. Rune Factory 3 has support for PlayStation button prompts as well as Xbox when I tried both controllers. There is no touch support on Steam Deck or Switch. Touching the screen seems to treat any input as a mouse click or “confirm”.
Rune Factory 3 Special PC Steam Deck performance — frame rate and resolution
Rune Factory 3 Special runs without issues on Steam Deck at 60fps and even when forcing 1080p. I had some issues like in Rune Factory 4 Special when playing at 120fps where some camera panning was jittery on Steam Deck. I’m not sure how things are on Windows, but I only played the PC version on Steam Deck for this review. Rune Factory 3 Special supports 16:10 gameplay with black bars on the Steam Deck screen.
Rune Factory 3 Special works on Steam Deck without any problems
Rune Factory 3 Special plays great on Steam Deck from the get go. I had no issues with it both pre-release and since the game was released and some patches have arrived post-launch. If you want to play it on your monitor through the Steam Deck Docking Station, it works fine there as well. I didn’t need to change any Proton version or compatibility for cut-scenes, audio, or anything. It just works. It has a launcher for graphics options, but you can set that up and ignore it, or just play on the default settings without any trouble.
Rune Factory 3 Special has two issues right now
While I love Rune Factory 3 Special in most ways, the lack of touchscreen support when Rune Factory 4 Special had it, and the similar upscaled asset issues as Rune Factory 4 Special hold it back. I was hoping Rune Factory 3 Special would address the few complaints I had with Rune Factory 4 Special, but it sadly does not, and is a regression in its controls. I know many people might not care about touchscreen support, but when the prior release had it, I found myself tapping to progress dialogue or move items out of habit in Rune Factory 3 Special only to be disappointed.
The upscaled asset problem is something I got used to like I did with Rune Factory 4 Special, but it makes me hope Marvelous does better with its next Nintendo DS or 3DS game brought to modern platforms.
Should you buy Rune Factory 3 Special on PC or Nintendo Switch?
As for whether you should get it on PC, Steam Deck, or Nintendo Switch, the answer is easy. Buy it on either platform. Rune Factory 3 Special is great regardless and I have no hesitation in recommending it on either Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch. The lack of touchscreen support and some upscaled assets are disappointing, but everything else works great on both platforms, and I’m glad Marvelous and Xseed Games brought Rune Factory 3 to modern platforms in such an excellent release. If you do have a Nintendo Switch OLED Model, I’d get Rune Factory 3 Special on that instead of Steam Deck for the better display though. Those are really the only differences right now.
If you aren’t a fan of Joy-Cons for games like this in portable mode, you can rectify that with a Hori Split Pad Pro or Compact, which I use on my Switch.
Rune Factory 3 Special review
Rune Factory 3 Special succeeds in balancing farming simulation and action RPG gameplay together, but the end result might be a bit too easy for some. You can change the difficulty to hard or hell if you want though. I found the default fine, and used Rune Factory 3 Special as a nice break between everything else released recently. Not only is it a great Rune Factory game, but the localization really makes it feel like a new game despite the game’s own issues right now. I can only hope that Xseed Games allows those who own the standard edition an upgrade path for the Deluxe Edition DLC.
As someone who adores Rune Factory 4, Rune Factory 3 Special is an easy recommendation despite the few issues. I will never tire of this franchise’s blend of RPG, farming, and life simulation, and I’m glad that another entry is more accessible thanks to Rune Factory 3 Special. Hopefully Marvelous and Xseed Games can work on bringing the rest of the series to modern systems in between new entries.
This month is very busy, and 2023 will likely see even more heavy hitters released across platforms, but Rune Factory 3 Special is worth your time. If you’ve been craving a relaxing game with memorable characters, a fun gameplay loop, and a lot of freedom, Rune Factory 3 Special is for you. As someone who properly experienced Rune Factory 3 directly through this Special version, it just feels like I’m playing a new and good Rune Factory game, and that’s always worth celebrating.
Rune Factory 3 Special does a great job at bringing a DS classic to modern platforms, and it also happens to be a fantastic experience on both Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch. It isn’t as good as Rune Factory 4 Special, but few things are, and this is worth your time if you want to sample one of Marvelous’ best series.
Rune Factory 3 Special is out now worldwide for Nintendo Switch and Steam. Check it out on Steam here.