Review by Fijarebirth
"A New Beginning brings nothing "New" to the table."
Welp, this being my first review I was hoping to have something more positive on my resume than having the task of giving this Harvest Moon a good play through and look through. So join me now as we take a look at some of these new innovations and break them down, along with the rest of the story. One feature I did NOT examine was the Multiplayer aspect. However, Harvest Moon 3D: A new Beginning is a mostly single-player game, and should not affect the score.
If this is your first foray into the Harvest Moon series, you'll be surprised at how cumbersome the menu system can be. If this is NOT your first time playing a Harvest Moon, get used to having to scroll through menus and pop up menus every few seconds. The core of the gameplay revolves around tending to your farm, which consists of tending to crops and tending to your livestock. From the other entries in the HM franchise, this is pretty much your standard fare. However, there are some gameplay changes I must note, mostly Edit Mode.
Unlike other HM games, A New Beginning allows you to customize your town and farm with the use of Edit mode. In theory, this is a wonderful idea. In use, its very poorly executed. Placing objects is slow and tedious. Getting proper placements of building can take ten times the amount of time it would take versus a simple top down placement compared to the board game Battleship, not having your character physically have to travel to locations to place items down. It simply takes so much time to get things the way you want them, by the time you are finished you want to just close your 3DS after investing an hour or more just placing objects.
Also this is the first HM title I have played that has the option the be either a boy or a girl, though it has almost no impact on gameplay outside of which spouse you get the chose.
Another new addition to gameplay is the Music function. During the course of the game your character is allowed to play musical scores that allow him access to new areas. Again, in theory it seems like a good system, but mostly its very unrewarding until late in the game and by then you've lost interest.
Some new livestock and new farming options flesh out the rest of the new additions, but they bring little variety to the "water this, feed this" scheme that all they end up doing is bog down the already slow pacing of the game.
Another detraction is the slow in-game clock speed. You'll find yourself just standing around or visiting the uninteresting outside areas in order to kill some time as the clock slowly moves down. Add an additional case of in-game slowdown and the game crawls at a molasses like pace.
All in all, gameplay wise the new additions are so poorly implemented they detract rather than add to the game.
Nothing really innovative here. You arrive in Echo Village, the town deserted except for 3 residents and yourself. And of course there is a farm left in your care! Rebuilding and repopulating central goals of this. However the characters are rather 2-D and the few times you think you do get to do something interesting, the game has no cut-scene for that particular story element. So you are left wondering what exactly DOES go on during the missing cutscene. Also poor translation/localization hurts the already weak story in some cases.
Graphics are in a word, ugly. Akin to PlayStation 1 era graphics. 3-D mode brings little life to this lifeless game, only making the rather taped on foliage during seasons "pop" a tiny bit. Music consists of 4 seasonal tunes that play every day from morning till sundown and a few situation tunes. Sound effects are akin to The sounds of farm tools hitting dirt and animals making their respective noise. So unless you enjoy the sounds of a happy cow mooing, do yourself a favor and turn off the sound. And don't forget to turn off the 3-D feature as well.
Due to the cumbersomeness of the menu system, replay value is rather low. However, you do get some investment by expanding not only your town but your farm in the process. This allows some customization and adds to replay. But there is little joy in starting a new game only to have to torture yourself with an unskippable tutorial and having to painfully rebuild your farm from the bottom up.
Overall Score: 2.5 out of 10.
Conclusion: If you want a satisfying Harvest Moon title, try and dig up any of the Rune Factory titles. Unless you are a die hard Harvest Moon fan or enjoy spending your time browsing menu's ,spend your money elsewhere.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/07/13
Game Release: Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning (US, 11/06/12)
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