Review by strawhat

"7 reasons why this game absolutely owns EVERY other Harvest Moon game in existance"

The Harvest Moon series has taken a gigantic step ''A Wonderful Life''. There are so many new features I can hardly count them! Everything is totally enhances and so lifelike it's amazing. This is what Harvest Moon should really look like. Why is this game better than the others?

1. Better Storyline.
Well, OK, the storyline wasn't that much better and different like Save the Homeland. However, it is better than the traditional ''Grandpa is dead, let's give his farm to his grandson!'' storyline like in most other HMs. In this game, your father has passes away so you take the farm like the other games. Why you did it, you're not sure. Your dad's best friend says that it was his dream for you to take over the farm, but you never did it. Did you do now to get out of urban life? Or maybe to get to know your dad better? Whatever it is, you try your best to do well in Forget Valley. There are 5 chapters in the game each where different periods of time passes and different events occur. You don't play all those years though.

2. It's Realistic.
This game is similar to real life farming with some extra points in it to make the game fun. You water crops, take care of animals, talk to villagers, and so on. Crops usually take about 1 season to grow, sometimes little less. You can plant just about anything on your farm, including trees. You can raise many animals, some newcomers to the HM series are ducks and roosters. Rain stops during the middle of the day and you can sleep and wake up at random times. Trees also changes color according to the season, but it's gradual. The realism is amazing and makes you think why Natsume didn't do this to the other games.

3. The Graphics.
The graphics are a unique half cell shaded, half not technique. They're very beautiful with ripples in the shimmering clear water, stars in the sky, wild plants dotting the blades of grass blowing in the wind. You can see the sun actually rise from the East and set in the West and the night sky gradually lighting up to meet the day. Animals and people have a cartoony look but not so much so that they don't look real. The graphics are better than all the other Harvest Moon games

4. The Characters.
The characters in this game are all unique. They have more of a personality than even HM: STH. They have their own dislikes and likes, accepts different items, and don't say the same thing over an over again. People move in and out of your town and also die at some point when they're old. That includes you. Sad ain't it? It's not like in all the other games where people disappear after 10PM or sometime around there. People may stay up as late as 3 AM.

5. Hybrids and Crops.
IMO, this is the most unique addition to Harvest Moon. You can now make hybrid crops and trees! Any combination of grapes, apples, carrots, turnips, anything you can think of! It's the easiest way to make money with crops. There are many crops in the game, and even more with hybrids and hybrids of hybrids. Each crop also has a grade which effect its selling price.

6. Animals.
The animals also have a unique additions. There are several types of cows which include brown and star cows. You can also have bulls to breed. You can own chickens, ducks, and roosters for breeding purposes. Sheep are also there, but nothing has changed with them. Cows and chickens also have a grade for their milk and eggs. You can have several pets in the game which you get by becoming friends with certain people.

7. It's difficult.
This is by far the most difficult HM game yet. Sure, some things like marraige were dumbed down but it's very hard to make a lot of money early in the game. Crops sell for very little and it takes a lot of fertilizer to make it better. Fishing has also been made a but more difficult. It's similar to Animal Crossing's way of fishing in which you wait for a big bite on the rod before you reel in the fish, which can be different kinds depending on the area you fished. You also have to feed cows twice a day, pet them, wash them, and so on. It's not unbearably difficult, but the hardest of the HM games.

Of course, with good things there are a few bad things. The glitchiness is the only thing stopping this game from getting a 10/10. There are quite a few and some bad translations, but you can live with it since most things are very easy to make out. It's not like when Zack starts to speak to you in Japanese in HM: FOMT. The sounds can also be a bit weird, animals make some strange sounds. The game also lacks a bit of music but it's not too bad. With all these new additions, these faults can be bypassed.

This game is a must buy. Some people say it's just Animal Crossing with farming, but it's not. HM: AWL has much more things to do than that game and I know many people who like this game but not AC. I recommend that you buy this game and give it a try no matter what genre you like. It makes you think, but not so much that your brain bursts like when doing your algebra. You'll see that this game is an addictive and excellent and can be loved by everyone.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/04


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