"Best Harvest Moon"

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

Harvest Moon is a unique farming sim game where you take control of a young farmer. In past games, you inherit your Grandfather's farm, in A Wonderful Life, you live your father's dream by taking control of a farm. This HM is a bit different from the ones in a past, but is still as enjoyable and as addictive as ever.

Gameplay
Well, I've played Harvest Moon 64, and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, and this one is a bit different from both.

The controls are very easy to learn, and your character is much easier to control then in Back to Nature.

You start out with a female cow that's just given birth (cows only give milk after they've had a calf), that cow will be your big money maker for the first year. You can buy different crops from Vesta down at the other farm in the valley. These crops can be sold to Van, who visits the village throughout the game.

For those of you that have never played a Harvest Moon game, and are thinking "A game about farming? How boring!", give it a shot, it is very addictive.

Also, the time system works a bit differently int his game. 1 second real tme = 1 minute Harvest Moon time, and time passes while you are in buildings.

Another thing that's new is the girls. There's only 3 girls in the game... and well, it's quite easy to woo them.. (I was married by the beggining of Summer), but you _MUST_ get married in the first year, or it's game over for you, bub.

Still another new thing, all the characters will age in the game, (which is understandable since the game span 30 years), it's actually pretty neat watching some of the younger characters in the game mature and grow up.

And one last thing, remember in the last games, you gave characters all the thing they liked, but still were'nt sure they liked you? Well, in thi game, if a person likes you, they will turn their head when you pass by.

Story

The story in A Wonderful Life is a bit different from HM64 and BTN. At the beggining, you are talking to Takakura, a friend of your father's, he tells you how father always wanted to buy some land and own a farm, now that he hs the money, he's become to old to live out his dream, so he passes it on to you.

Throughout the game you will also influence your child into different career choices, but I won't say much about that.. I don't want to spoil it for you!

Graphics

The graphics in the game have switched from cute, to more realistic. There are more buildings on your farm, the animals all got a complete make over, and Jack doesn't have a hat! The same goes for the sound, the "mooing" and "baahing" are.. well... a bit different from the past games, I guess they went for more realistic sounds, You get used to them, but it was quite a shock for me when I heard the cow Moo! for the first time!

Play Time/ Replayability

If you play through the whole game, I believe it is something like 130 hours, maybe more maybe less, I know for sure that it's over 100 hours. That's a game that will keep you busy for quite some time.

As for replayability, I don't see the point in it. I guess you could try to get 100%, all hybrids, make everyone your friend, get all the items, or maybe focus on one thing, like you could be a sheep farmer.

Final Recommendation

BUY IT! This is by far one of my favourite games on the Gamecube. Although it sometimes seem I don't have time for playing my games, I always try to play at least 1 day of Harvest Moon everyday.

I remember when I first played BTN.. the amount of money I spent on rentals/late charges was probably twice what the game was actually worth.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/13/04


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