Review by Dejital

"A game that contributes to YOUR Wonderful life"

First of all, get your tools out of your Tool Shed

The Harvest Moon series has always been praised by the people that played it, and often flamed by the people who are scared to try. Taking a quick look at any Harvest Moon game, the average gamer would quickly put it down. The growing popularity of violent video games is quickly taking over the calm gaming community. I don't mind, First Person Shooters are just not my thing.

In my opinion, there are two different versions of Harvest Moon games: The 3D 3rd Person ones and the original 2D bird's-eye-view. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and each new release fixes just some of the problems. A Wonderful Life changes all of that and manages to incorporate the advantages of both versions. You'll see what I mean later on.

Gameplay : 9

If you've played any Harvest Moon games in the past, the Gameplay is very similar. The ability to do absolutely anything you want is exactly what Harvest Moon games are famous for. The game gives you a quick guide at the beginning, giving you a quick overview of your farm layout. The game also has Notes that teach you how to play the game, these are more for the Novice players, not for the Harvest Moon veterans. The game uses an in-game clock, in which 1 in-game minute is equal to around 1 second. Sometimes, this can get kind of quick, but that's for me.

To name a problem with the overall Gameplay is that the map takes quite a while to get used to. This is a problem in most Harvest Moon games, but not all. The game provides an in-game map with descriptions for each major location, but since the camera does not stay at the same angle, it's hard to figure out which way is North. After playing through the game or a while, you begin to understand more of the map, memorizing each location.

This brings up another point, the camera. Believe me, the camera is done VERY, VERY well. As you run around, the camera slightly changes at times, but when you press the back L button, the camera centers smoothly. Remember when I said the game, ''A Wonderful Life changes all of that and manages to incorporate the advantages of both versions''? Well, when you move up to the soil where your crops are grown, the camera changes to a bird's-eye-view, which makes it a whole lot easier to plant and water. There is a tad problem with this, when you are running near the soil, your camera may change unexpectedly and you may lose sense of direction. You can quickly get used to this, however.

It's hard to say anything about the difficulty for this game... At the beginning, it is challenging to get used to things and to figure out how to start your... Well, farm life. A suggestion is to choose between planting crops or caring for animals. I chose animals, since you start with a cow. The game wants you to eat, sometimes your character will pat his tummy and have ''Guu~'' shown over his head. It is not always a good idea to waste your crops so you can feed yourself, instead you should collect things that grow outside. There are little plants that grow in certain spots on your farm, they change with each season. These plants can be picked up and eaten when you get hungry, this is what I tend to do.

When starting the game, you have to understand that when you ship your items, your money will not magically appear in your wallet the very next day. The game requires you to read the Ledger in order to receive your money. The Ledger is located in the same house as the shipping bin, so it is not hard as you would visit the shipping bin daily anyway.

One last thing for gameplay: the controls. In my opinion, the game does not have very easy to use controls. The A button usually does anything, like in a Legend of Zelda game, but the A button is a lot less important than it is in A Wonderful Life. Every day, I have to PUSH (A button) my cow in order for me to face it so I can TALK (A button) to it and not accidentally MILK (A button) it and get it mad.

Story : 6

Please don't flame me, the stories have never been a major part in any Harvest Moon game. Your farm is passed down to you from your father. That's basically it... However, the game allows you to make a story by getting married (which, unfortunately, is a requirement). I don't have much else to say here.

Graphics : 8
Sound : 7

A Wonderful Life has superior graphics to any past Harvest Moon game. These are indeed the best. Everything looks very realistic and fits in with the goofy characters and animals. I must say that not all of the characters look awesome. Your character holds his shoulders up very firmly which looks odd at times. However, most of everything else is done VERY well.

The soundtrack can get VERY repetitive. A short tune loops over and over that can be changed by putting in different Records into your Record Player. You start with a record inside of the record player, and an extra record in the Drawers in your tool shed. Other records can be received by linking up to Friends of Mineral Town (GBA), which not everybody has. The sound your feet make when they touch the ground is clearly heard and there is a different sound effect for each texture. Your animals make realistic sound effects, which do not sound right in the Wonderful Life universe.

Replay Value : 10

*cough* Obviously this will be the highest score. Harvest Moon ALWAYS has good replay value, and now that your character can Die totally changes all of that. The past Harvest Moon games had great Replay Value too, but not many people made new games, instead they kept playing their first game. And as I mentioned, your character dies, so that you are forced to play again if you want to play anymore. If you had really good animals, good profits, good everything, it might be kind of sad to give up all of that.

Mmmm - OooooOO!!

The final word, BUY IT. Return it if it is not the game for you.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/04


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