Review by Lilisphere
"A really special edition to Harvest Moon"
Ah, Harvest Moon the game where you do seemingly menial tasks for entertainment. This game changes all that and makes for a rather enjoyable time. The meat of the game consists of doing chores around your home and reaping the profits from your work to expand your farm. On the way there you'll fall in love and have a family, all the while keeping your farm afloat.
As soon as you boot up the game you will notice a significant presence of lag. This becomes very apparent in the cut scenes as well as in the gameplay. Longer loading times are also present. While it's annoying, after awhile you become used to it. Nevertheless it's apparent. Your chores (I shouldn't say chores so much as tasks, Harvest Moon makes them fun) consist of feeding your cows and other various animals, planting crops, making friends, as well as wooing your potential bride. If this is your first Harvest Moon, when you begin playing you can't help but think this is so cool, and it becomes almost an addiction (for me at least). This was my first Harvest Moon so my initial impressions were great, and I had a lot of fun. However, if this isn't your first Harvest Moon, you may be let down. You might notice there is less to do in A Wonderful Life than in the previous installments, however, I'm not writing this review to compare the games but to review this game on its own. There have been many changes from the Gamecube port. Many things have been fixed for the better. You now have the ability to have a daughter and an extra bachelorette is available. And some items have been switched around from certain characters.
The ingame weather system is average nothing more. There is either rain or snow. That is the extent of the weather. After the first and second chapters the game ability to remain fresh starts to bog down. Brushing your cattle every single day for days on end whilst doing it slowly becomes tedious.
On to crops. Crops aren't a very profitable venture like they were in the previous games. They really aren't worthwhile until you unlock the hybrid option. However trees are a very nice addition to the Harvest Moon universe. It's fun making an orchard of apple trees.
Interactivity with the townsfolk is somewhat fun for the first chapter, but they basically only have two lines of dialog and that's it. However it's somewhat fun becoming friends with them and getting items from them. There are four potential spouses in the game, each with their own different personality. Their children inherit their mothers traits for the most part but you can influence their interests and likes yourself to an extent.
After you've played the game for awhile, I just felt like there wasn't much to do. There are very few festivals and even the ones that are there have no interaction. I had bought most of everything which had me wondering what was the point playing? Despite these faults the game is still fun. Again if the lag wasn't so prevalent it would be much more tolerable. I must say wooing my ingame wife was the best part for me.
Your a boy who was brought to Forget Me Not Valley to take over your father's farm at the urging of your father's old friend. Little snippets of the story are revealed later on, but the story isn't the main draw of the game
The graphics of the game are rather blocky and look quite dated, but it fits the theme of the game well. The plants and trees are nothing to complain about as they look quite nice, especially during the spring.
This game sucks up a huge amount of time just going through all the chapters while working day after day. It takes a very long time and should keep you occupied if you have the patience.
This game is moderately replayable due to the fact that there are many different approaches you can take with it. The four wives also add to the replayability because it's fun seeing their individual personalities. Also setting different goals during new games can extend the replayability.
I liked this game despite its problems. It has taken countless hours from my life if that's any indicator. So my verdict is rent before you buy because this game may not be for you.
Final score 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/15/06
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