Check out some Rune Factory 4 screens

I absolutely adored Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon. I thought it was a great game, and it really hooked me. I was constantly glued to my Nintendo DS, and while the game certainly wasn't perfect and didn't feature much that was different from its predecessors, it delivered great action RPG gameplay, and it was a completely gripping experience.

Then Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny landed on the PlayStation 3 and Wii and screwed everything up. From its terrible characters to its boring plot to its contrived gameplay mechanics, Tides of Destiny was an utter bore, and I hardly enjoyed it. It's been four months since I played that game, and I'm still upset that it didn't turn out better.

Still, I haven't lost faith in the series, and after seeing some screenshots from Rune Factory 4, I'm actually looking forward to seeing what's next. The game is scheduled to launch on the 3DS, and judging from the images, it looks like we'll be getting an action RPG that's a lot more like Rune Factory 3 and a lot less like Tides of Destiny. Thank goodness!

Rune Factory 4 was previously given a July 2012 release date in Japan. Still no specifics at the time of this writing, and we have yet to learn anything regarding the game's North American launch. Here's hoping we get some details soon. Check out the new images below.