Review by jeffjsm7

"A Wonderful Surprise"

This is the first Harvest moon game that I've ever played. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as Animal Crossing, but to my surprise it's better than Animal Crossing in many ways, and was a nice surprise for me.

Gameplay: 9/10
Let's face it, being a farmer is not the most fun job ever, but Harvest Moon makes it fun. Watering plants is a prime example of that. It seems like the most boring thing in the world, but it's actually fun to watch your plant grow, and die through the different seasons. Money is a key factor in the game. You could make money by growing crops, and selling them. You could use the money to buy seeds, animals, tools, or whatever you want for your farm. The animals are probably the best part of the farm. You start off with just a dog, but throughout the game you could buy more animals, like cats, cows, sheep, chickens, horses, and just about any other farm animal. They take alot of care, just like in real life. Who knew milking a cow could be so much fun? Another thing that's fun about the animals is naming them! You could name them whatever you want. Same goes for your future child in the game. The time frame in the games is..weird. There are four seasons of course, but each season has only ten days in it. However, this works for the game, cause if they dragged it on to normal time it would gave gotten boring and repetitive. The town you live in is pretty big, and has lots of unforgettable characters including a mad scientist, a grumpy old man, a mechanic, and many, many more. At one point in the game, you will have to decide which of three girls you want to marry, and you can even have a kid with her. Each section of the game is divided up in to chapters, and throughout the chapters you will see the people, and the town grow. The only problem with the gameplay is that it could get a tiny bit repetitive sometimes.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are beautifully polished. They have a slight anime feel to them. The character models all look nice, and have a good variety of facial expressions. All the buildings in the town are detailed, and look great, The plants, and grass even blow in the breeze which looks nice. The season change is excellent. The weather effects are really realistic with the season change. I would give the graphics a 10...if the game came out two years ago. Yes, the graphics are somewhat outdated, but still nicely done.

Sound: 7/10
These characters seriously need voice overs. The game involves a lot of reading, even in cut scenes. From what the characters actually do say, the lines get repetitive sometimes. The music at the title screen sounds very outdated, but the rest in the game is good and well fitting. The sound effects are nicely done, and the town sounds are great.

Story: 8/10
Basically your father dies, and you inherit the farm. Not much of a story at the beginning, but as you progress with the game, so does the story. The story for the rest of the game sort of depends on who you choose as your wife. Each kid will be different depending on what wife you choose, thus adding different challenges as a father, and husband. There are also lots of side stories in the game, like the mad scientist and his ongoing journey to catch the "mysterious creature." Nice story, but I just wish the beginning would be more detailed.

Controls: 9/10
Think Animal Crossing meets Zelda for the controls. You get to choose what you want A, B, Y, and X to do, just like in Zelda, and there are buttons to bring up a map and items, like in Animal Crossing. There is even a whistle button to call your dog! The controls are almost perfect, there were just very slight problems with the camera control.

Rent or Buy?
Renting would be pointless, because there is no way anyone could beat this within a rental period. I would say buy this game if your looking for a fun game that will last you a pretty long time. Or if your a fan of games like Animal Crossing, and want to try something new, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is the game for you!!(Hey, that rhymed!)

Overall:
Pros:
-Unique Gameplay
-Addicting!
-Nicely polished graphics
-The whole farm thing is actually fun
-Big town
-Side Stories
-Great characters
-Naming animals is fun!
-Good sound effects
-Great story
-Will last you a long time

Cons:
*Graphics are outdated
*Some of the music is outdated
*No voice overs
*Slight camera issues
*May get boring for some people


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/19/05


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