Review by ProfessorMaeda
"It'll be an unforgivable crime to yourself if you don't play this game."
The Harvest Moon gaming series date back to the SNES and N64 era. The series have always been a favorite among many gamers, with their fun gameplay that can glue a person to his or her seat for hours upon hours, and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature(HM:BtN for short) is of no exception either. Its genre may be ''farming simulation'', but the gameplay, storyline and other parts of the game can extend well beyond such a genre. Here, I will give my opinions regarding this great masterpiece.
Some of you might think that farming is boring...but not in THIS game! You have a variety of plants to choose from for each season, with every plant having its own advantages and disadvantages. You also get to equip yourself with a myriad of farming tools, and upgrade them for increased effectiveness! You can also rear livestock like cows, chickens, sheep and horses, with them having different ways to fill up your coffers.
But that's just a small part of this game! You get to socialize with the townspeople, and this will affect your progress in the game. You can give them gifts, or help them when they ask you to do so, and watch as you receive a boost to your stature. And for those guys who have a liking for romantic stuff, you also get to marry a girl of your choice!
With the way events are triggered, as well as the unique characteristics for each individual that you meet, I must say that the story was nicely done. However, *you* yourself determine most changes for the storyline, and in my opinion this grants freedom to players. You have to know how to interact, when and where to interact and who to interact with.
The main attraction of the storyline is perhaps the marriage part. You can choose a girl that you like, start to court her and if you play your cards right, you get to marry her. How the whole thing unfolds is very interesting to see.
I say, the music is excellent! Each season has its own background music. Some individuals and events, particularly regarding the girls that you get to woo, have their own music as well. Some are catchy, while others are slow but relaxing. Whatever it is, the composers sure know which music is suitable for what occasion. I certainly wouldn't mind listening to HM:BtN's music over and over again!
Alright, you won't be seeing extremely well-rendered graphics in this game. Most of the buildings and the environment are good but simple 3D work. However, the cutesy design fits in with the game's light-hearted theme, and the way the characters were drawn for their dialogue boxes was done in a very good way. Overall, the graphics are decent, and they won't bug you.
Replay value: 9/10
Heh, what can I say? There are simply too many things for you to actually go after ALL of them the first time through the game. Different plants to choose, different methods of farming, different girl to go crazy about. Mark my words : You'll be playing this game over and over again. There's just no telling when you'll stop doing so!
Two words: Pure masterpiece. Great gameplay, storyline and music, all in one game. It won't be an exaggeration for me to say that this game can even surpass good console RPGs in many ways, despite the differences between the two genres. Get the game, and you won't regret it. This game is just TOO addictive to actually pass it up.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some turnip seeds to sow...
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/22/02, Updated 10/22/02
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