Review by xmetroidx
"Good Job Natsume!"
Being a fan of this genre of gaming itself, and particularly of Harvest Moon, i'd be expected to regard this game to my own liking and give it such a high review rating. Be that as it may, just to let the 'crowd' know, i'm fair.. Sure, this game is truly awesome, but there are a couple of defining faults..
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is yet the most graphical and detailed installment of the Harvest Moon series spanning from early years with the original "Harvest Moon." Though one would have to be a fan of the genre to fully understand the meaning of this so-called strategy game, the devil earns it's due..
Gameplay - 8/10
In HM:AWL, the general gameplay features the building of a Farm from the ground up. This includes: raising crops (such as tomatoes, watermelons, and other namely fruits and vegetables), raising animals (such as cows, sheep, chickens, and other common farm animals), and even raising a family! The gameplay is flawed in only two main ways. For instance, in all of the other Harvest Moon video games, the gamer would have the ability to choose from at least five or more girls to marry and have a child. However, in AWL, there are merely three girls that the gamer has the ability to raise a family with. Also, the lack of area. This pertains to every Harvest Moon game.. There aren't very many places to go, or many people to see. You move around a single town doing things to impress girls, make friends, and build your farm. Though these flaws may negatively effect AWL, the positive aspects of the game makes up for it in bounds.
Story - 0/0
In all Harvest Moon games, and all strategy/sports games for that matter, there is never any true storyline. The only story within AWL consists of the main character being left the farm by his father. Thus, it is pointless to allow demerits for this aspect of AWL.
Sound - 5/10
Well, here's one of the few problems that I personally have with this game. While the general sound effects are smooth and have little flaw, there is entirely no background music in certain areas of the game. In fact, the only music that is played is in houses/buildings, and at your farm, and these musics can be highly repetitive and actually takes away from the entire gaming experience.
Graphics - 8/10
Though AWL may not be the most graphical video game you've ever seen for the Gamecube, it is a wide improvement over its previous installments. Harvest Moon 64 doesn't match up to this one by no means. The sprites are very smooth and I've yet to see but a minimal amount of glitches within the graphical layout. One of the only problems I've seen is the slim chance of another character interrupting a cinematic scene. For example, when you offer Muffy (The girl that works in the bar) the blue feather (a feather that symbolizes engagement) she takes the main character into her room where they will discuss the marriage. Sometimes, there will be another character in there while the cinema progresses, which can sort of ruin the mood... All-in-all, the graphics of AWL are tasteful and highly acceptable.
Play Time - 9/10
AWL can last as long as you make it last. The entire game spans across building your farm for 10 years. An entire day lasts about 20-30 minutes (If you stay up the entire day on through the night). There are ten days in a season, and four seasons in a year. Thus, technically, although your character would be pretty tired if he didn't sleep, this game could last anywhere from one-hundred thirty to two-hundred hours, which is a fairly good amount of time to sit in front of the television building a farm!
Replayability - 6/10
AWL doesn't have the greatest amount of replayablity. Although each and every time you play it is different, there's just something about it that makes it a bit boring after awhile. Maybe it has something to do with the lack of exploration area within the game. It's like being stuck at home 24/7 and not being able to go anywhere other than what you're limited to.
Total Rating - 36/50 - 7.2 - 7
This is the best Harvest Moon game as of yet, and is an excellent pick for fans of the genre. Of course, the love of this gaming genre is somewhat of an acquired taste, I recommend that even those that don't really like the genre, to at least give it a shot, they might actually like it!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/15/04
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