Review by Ramza Lionheart

"Dear oh, dear..."

Having read countless guides on the original Harvest Moon on the game boy, I got excited on the release of the N64 version.
Immediately after playing I was hooked on this playmobil like world. The game was very good for a non-liner game. There were soo many good aspects. Marriage/kids/festivals/minning etc etc.

Now, after....two years? I don't know...anyway...after a while of waiting, we finally get the newest version of Harvest Moon.

''Save the Homeland''

Gameplay: I was afraid of how the controls might fit into the PS2 joystick...There were soo many actions, our young farmer can do.
Luckily, Natsume was able to fit every button with simplistic actions you won't have difficulty remembering which to press when.
The farming aspect is simpler than ever...You sow seeds, water them everyday, and after 2-3 days...voila. Your first harvest is complete.
This would excite some of the original fans as it gives me them more time to flirt around with girls......OR DOES IT?

Let's continue on and we'll find out.

Story: HM: STH homeland is exactly what the title suggests....instead of saving your petty farm, you have to save the whole village from impending doom (Namely being turned into a theme park.....how nice, err)
Our 21 yr old hero is ''tricked'' by the harvest goddess to the save the village. He accepts. Luckily he'll have 9 different ways to save the village.

Harvest Moon: Save the homeland may very well be a prequel/sequel to the N64 version.
Parsely, the botanist, looks a lot like Popuri's dad and he says he travels a lot. I indeed, thought that Lyla was popuri's mom but then i discovered that wasn't the case.
Another thing is the Goddess robe...Could this be the same Robe used in the flower festival? Hmmm......
Also...in Gwen's ending, a horse race is supposed to be held in a village called FLOWER BUD VILLAGE!

Helllllooooooooo! Did i just get a hint here?

Graphics: AWESOME! Harvest moon is on 3D. I kinda was disappointed at first but boy, did that change.... the characters are much more life like and you can tell if they are happy or sad by their expressions...that's right. the characters are much more interactive now.
Another thing is the background which looks very stunning, especially the lake view.

So now that we got that out of the way...what's wrong the game. The answer is:

IT IS NOT HARVEST MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many mistake Harvest Moon for a farming sim, but they are all wrong! Harvest Moon is a LIFE sim! You no longer get to know the other characters until they become your life buddies!

This plays more like a side story.

This game has failed me in every aspect i expected from a harvest moon game.

First of all, the townspeople.

Kiss your Ellie,Baba,Harris and other lovable characters, bye bye. They are replaced with a whole new cast. But can they replace their place in our hearts?

The answer is: No

There are lot less villagers to talk to. In fact, they are soo few you'll get bored from seeing their faces.
Second is the marriage aspect...There is no heart meter to tell you if the girl likes you or not. That means,NO MARRIAGE! Didn't i tell you Harvest Moon is a life sim?

There is no challenge in getting the girls to like you...no plans on who you'd pick or not. No decisions on who to dance with on the festivals....

Speaking of which, There is no mayor! How could a village not have a mayor? Didn't i tell you that this village is small......no scratch that....it's a settlement.

Festivals are no longer a part of the game. There are no plans to look forward to. You'll feel really depressed as the game goes by you'll say:

''The first of Summer is tomorrow? So what? What do i have to look forward to?''

Indeed, for the time aspect is really boring in this new installment. Speaking of time...

Do i carry a portable time machine?

''Time really flies'' will bring a whole fatal meaning in this game. You get no chance to take a breather.

''Gotta get moving! Gotta get moving! Gotta get moving!''

Prepare to think like that a LOT.

Aside from the Nine endings(which we'll get to later) there isn't anything else you want to do. The fishing game is boring. There is no mine to dig in the winter. No horse or dog races to bet on, no carpenters to help.

Speaking of carpenters, they are very generous this time. You don't have to provide them with wood, they'll just build it straight away after giving them the money. This takes away the challenge.
But why would you do that? They'll only build a kitchen and a dog house.

The nine endings weren't that interesting. After you get to the second one, you'd probably quit playing.

Your crops will also become a pain in the neck. Usually, you just dump your crops in a specific place and off to flirting we go!
Now you have to journey for at least three shops to sell what you harvested. Eggs are bought where flowers and herbs are not wanted. Flowers are sold where milk is not a necessity and minerals are bought by Louis.

Overall I'm comparing this to the N64 version. Which might anger a lot of you. But please listen, if you want to taste the true essence of the harvest moon games, go pick up the N64 version now. It is the best in the series.

For all of you who'd want a nice change from your final fantasies. This game is for you. But don't expect to replay it a lot.

Finally i end this review by saying: Harvest moon was a non-linear game. I used to hate that sort until i played it. It really gives you a nice sensation to do what you want.

But....Natsume made the mistake of turning a non-linear game to a linear one..
That's right, for you guys who played the game, this game is Linear.
No one cares what happens to your farm. It can rot for all they care. There is no more farm to save with either, prize winning cows or endless rows of crops.

The most important thing is the village. And to do that you have to go through a linear story line.

But then again, that's my opinion. Peace everyone!


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/17/02, Updated 01/17/02


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