Review by exarkunnn
"Chores are NOT fun at all.. and certainly not a game"
A little while ago, I had absolutely no clue what Harvest Moon was. One day, while searching for new games to buy, I came across Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, and I must say, I REALLY liked it. The gameplay was new to me, but it was a welcoming change. Recently, I rented Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (Thank God), and I must say that i was profoundly disappointed by this "masterpiece". To me, this game seems more of a disaster then a masterpiece, and Natsume should be ashame and should start working on a new Harvest Moon to make up for this lame and boring game.
The first thing I noticed when I started playing this game is the gorgeous graphics. Everything was so nice, so detailed, except for the characters, which are too childish for my own taste and are not detailed and not realistic enough. Same goes for the animals. Also, when I started playing this game I was captivated by the gameplay and all the possibilities that AWL offered. Now, after only three days, I realised how boring this game really is.
At first, like me, you will think that the gameplay is fun, and even though VERY repetitive, will never get boring. Trust me when I say you are totally wrong. Everything seems bad about this game. The controls are so sensitive that it really get frustrating to try for 10 seconds to water one god damned crop. Even if you barely touch the joystick, the little farmer will move and its really, really exasperating. This game, there is numerous things that you can do: Plant crops, take care of animals, harvest, dig, cooking, woo a girl, fish and much more. No more fun festivals. I will now explain more in depth some of the major aspects of this game.
Farming: The farming, main aspect of the game, is a real pain to me. You start with too bag of seeds (goodbye working for them), and the field is all clear (goodbye being proud of having done a great job of clearing it up). Each bag gives 1 fruit, but the good thing is bags don't cost a lot. For now, farming seems all great. It sure does, but what happens when you have 30 crops? You have to water every one of them twice a day, and the animation when you water takes forever (around 5 seconds), so let's do a little math: For a small filed of 30 crops, thats 60 watering that you must do. 60 watering times 5 second (60 X 5 = 300): it will take around 5 minute of real life to water the whole god damn thing, adding up the time it will take to move around and try to water the right square. Three things about farming that I really liked is the hybrid stuff, the trees and the fertilizer which makes you have to water less to get some fruits, even though the fertilizer costs a lot. So basically, farming is a real chore and you will want to end up using the cheap trick with trees to get tons of money, even though you barely don't need any money in this game.
Animal caring: Taking care of the animals is quite easy, even though it's very long. If you want your animals to be productive, you got to make them happy... How do you make them happy? Simple: Carry them (just one second is enough), pet them, bring them outside, bring them inside when it's raining and feed them well. If you do so they will produce much more, therefore will get you richer. Once again, doing all that takes too much times. When you pick up a chicken you have to wait around three seconds before you can pet him, which takes another three seconds. Now do that for 8 chickens. Now you gotta go pet and talk to all your cows, which is also around three seconds each, and milking is much longer, and you have to milk your cow twice a day or they get sick. Like farming, it's a real pain
There are more aspects to gameplay, but those two are the most important ones, and unfortunately covering them all would take too long. All I can say, however, is that the gameplay is really boring and they have taken out some neat stuff like mining for crazy tools and they made wooing way too easy.
No story at all, well, hardly any story. Your father dreamed of a family farm but couldn't accomplish his dream so now it's up to you, blah blah blah. Boring story but it's the tradition so I don't really care.
Like I said earlier, The environment is really amazing, almost perfect, but the people and animals are lacking of detail and realism, but everything still look great and overall this game has great graphics. However, like I usually say, graphic does not make a game, and the same goes for AWL. Having good graphics does not make this game good. Instead it seems to me like a waste of effort.
The music is AWFUL. After like 15 minutes of playing I changed the track for quiet winter (or whatever the name is), but the track is also really bad. I had no choice but to turn the music off. The sound effects are also bad, and animal sounds are just weird. When I first heard the cow I got scared and thought it was a dinosaur. Shows how horrible the sound effect is.
None. If you ever get the will of going past year one, or crazy enough to finish the game, you will NEVER want to do the same chores again.
Absolutely no challenge rating: You have to marry a girl. Even if you don't talk at all to any of the three (you've read right, only three girls), by the end of year one the one that "likes you best" will be your wife. Also, getting money is pointless, and there is nothing hard about this game, it just takes forever. You don't even have to take care of your field since nothing ever grows in it, and you don't have to buy food for the cows or plant grass, since for food you only have to cut grass, which always grows back.
GAMEPLAY = 1/10
STORY = N/A
GRAPHICS = 8/10
SOUND = 2/10
REPLAYABILITY = 3/10
CHALLENGE RATING = 1/10
Overall (Not an Average) = 3.2/10
Gamefaqs score = 3/10
Reviewer's Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Originally Posted: 08/22/04
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