Review by Bulma
"Most likely not what you are expecting"
Being a big fan of the previous Harvest Moon games, and looking back at the hours, days, and weeks I spent glued to the PS1 version, I figured on that I'd really dig the latest game in the series for the PS2. Harvest Moon: Save The Homeland walks a path much different then the Harvest Moons of the past, and not necessarily towards anything better.
Game play: 5
The previous games focused on your crops, marriage, your interaction with the towns people, and your overall daily life. The focus of this one remains unclear. There is no wooing of women. You can give the pretty girl at the pub all the flowers you want but she isn't going to move in with you and make babies. Your crops mean nothing. Okay, they mean cash, but there aren't any extravagant purchases to really save up for so what's the point? There is limited interaction with your neighbors, although if you keep giving them gifts they'll say nicer things to you. There are no mini-games, no festivals, no holidays to look forward to. All there is to do is tend to your crops, fish and run around picking up food and flowers in the forest. Your fields are extremely small, but don't let that fool you. Due to the game control and flow of time, tending to that little piece of land if you so choose will still eat up most of your day.
It's not a horribly boring game. If you're typically driven by the quest to be rich, you might find completing the daily tasks to increase your dollars fun. But if you are expecting what you got in the previous Harvest Moons, in terms of excitement and variety, you'll be disappointed.
The graphics are neat. It took awhile for me to get used to them, but they certainly gave the game it's own little charm. The characters are adorable. The environments outdoors and indoors are colorful, detailed, and definitely pleasing to the eye.
It was nice and calming. Suiting for the little farm out in the country. Not by any means amazing, but it helped set the mood and location.
Not bad control at all. The ability to move so freely in this 3D world makes interaction with people and items much easier. The menu and the controls will take a little getting used to initially but once you catch on they are pretty easy to manage.
Replay Value: 3
Yes, there are a few endings but is it really worth reliving the same boring days over and over to see them? The game only spans a year and isn't long at all compared to the older games in this series, but in my opinion it would still be a waste. It doesn't grab ones attention and hold it. I’d be surprised if you managed to pull through even once.
Buy, rent or avoid like the plague?
Rent first, then decide. It might be right up your alley, but if you aren't sure, don't go pick it up based on your like for the other Harvest Moon games. Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland sometimes feels like it's not a Harvest Moon game at all. If you can find it available for rent, don't be afraid to give it a chance though.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 12/07/02, Updated 12/07/02
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