Review by Stent
"Harvest Moon is like drugs, once you start playing, you get addicted."
Harvest Moon is a quiet series of games that appeared in different consoles. It didn't have magnificent graphics. It didn't have decent music or sound effects. But yet, it still attracts a small group of gamers to play it for hours and hours. And I'm one of them.
As a gamer who has played the previous Harvest Moon games (HM SNES, HM GBC, HM 64 and HM GBC3), I was a little concerned about the reviews for Harvest Moon: Back To Nature. But being the hardcore Harvest Moon fan I am, I didn't mind the reviews and bought the game anyway.
I was glad that I bought the game because all the reviews were wrong. Sure, Harvest Moon BTN wasn't perfect. But it didn't disappoint me either, actually Harvest Moon games never disappoint me.
I was a little mad at the reviewers however. In their reviews, they made this game sound like a disgrace to the name ''Harvest Moon''. But the game was so good!!!
Anyway, enough of my complaining. Here is the review.
Your grandfather used to be a talented farmer. He has a farm full with animals, he was indeed a successful farmer. But just recently, he has passed away. And being the sweet grandson you are, you have to make sure his dreams doesn't pass away either.
You remember when you were a little kid. Your parents cancelled the family vacation because of their ''tight'' schedule. Instead, you spend your summer in your grandfather's farm. You have a great time in that farm. You even met a little girl, the both of you sang songs and played together. Before you leave, you promise the girl that you will be back for her.
This is kind of a corny story, but I guess it was a little cute too. Something that kind of bothered me is that the 'story' makes it seem like you are going back to the farm to keep your promise with the girl, not for your grandfather. :( But overall, it was a reasonable story and gives us a general idea why you are becoming a farmer.
The characters may still look like kiddish and lifeless robots. On the bright side, when you are having a dialogue with the characters. A 2-D picture of that character will pop up. Also, the characters will have different emotions depending on the event. So if you give a fish bone to a character, they will look pretty mad and upset. (except for May, but that's a different story ^_^)
Of course some of the graphics do need help, because they are rather sloppy. The trees does look like scattered data and some of the background looks unrealistic.(the shelves looks likes pieces of cardboards) I do believe they could have done a better job with the graphics.
The music isn't bad at all. They match with the atmosphere. For example, since Winter is the lonely time of the year, they play a very slow song to match with the 'lonely' atmosphere. There is a theme song for each of the four seasons. None of them are bad, they are quite good actually.
Also, there is a 'theme song' for each of the five girls. That's right, whenever you have a special event with a girl. A particular song will play during the event. For example, when Elli comes over and give you a piece of chocolate cake in Thanksgiving, you could hear Elli's theme song (by the way, I like Elli's theme song the best, even if it sound a little lonely :)
The music is good. But the sound effects is another thing. There are the usual sound from the cows (MOO!) and other animals, no surprise there. But that's about it. There aren't enough sound in the game. (well, except for the cooking, but all you here is the microwave). So the lack of sound drops this strand to a respectable eight.
I think the controls are easy to handle with. The rucksack is easy to handle with. Also, you can run through a character when they are blocking you. Those are all signs of good controls. Some people may complain about pressing the buttons to walk around. But I don't find that much of a problem. Except sometimes your fingers hurts a bit. But that's expected from a great game, right?
The word ''farming'' seems to differ in everybody's dictionary. Some people may find a sense of accomplishment when they find out that their seeds became a fully grown crop. Others will think watching paint dry is more fun than watering those darn seeds.
But of course, this game is more than just planting seeds. Don't forget that you can raise livestock such as cows (MOO!) or chickens. You can also play with your dog, and tame your horse. Think of all the possibilities!
But of course a farmer's life takes place outside of the farm too. You can get out of town and befriend the villagers by giving gifts (especially on their birthdays). Heck, you can also flirt with the girls. When you find your dream girl, you may be able to propose to them and get married!
Once you are married, you may even be able to have a baby. Yes, who knows a farmer's life could be so exciting -_-''
As I said before. This game is like drugs, once you start playing, you get addicted to it. When you have a successful farm and a successful family, you could start a new game. You could marry a different girl, you could stay as a bachelor. You could try to collect all the recipes. You could also try to fish all the 'legendary' fishes. So, you see my point, right? You could play this game forever. I'm not exaggerating. Forever is the correct word.
Buy or Rent: BUY!!!
I don't want to advertise for Natsume, but...if you rent it, you can only play for a few crummy days, and that wouldn't be enough to marry all the girls, discover all the secrets and collect all the recipes! ^_^ Let alone all the other 'fun' things you have missed if you didn't buy it!
Ignore all the poor reviews that this game has, this is definitely a great game. Sure, the game doesn't have the greatest graphics in the whole world. But trust me, I know this game won't disappoint you. Because after all, it is Harvest Moon!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/11/02, Updated 03/11/02
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