Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility
Review by jigglesmax
"A fun and enjoyable game, but a bit of a disappointment."
I played a total of five Harvest Moon games: Friends of Mineral Town(FoMT), DS, Rune Factory(RF), a Wonderful Life(AWL), and Tree of Tranquility(ToT). I loved FoMT, DS was okay, I really disliked RF, AWL was better than average but still not great, and ToT is fun, but not the best.
***Note- When I say "the previous HM games" I mean all of the HM games I have played.
One of the main reasons I bought ToT was because you can raise ostriches (my favorite animal). I know it sounds dumb that I'd buy a $50 game only to raise an ostrich, but of course there were other factors influencing me to buy it. I love the HM series, and I've always wanted to play one for the Wii, and ToT had a lot of new additions that weren't in the previous games.
The gameplay of this game is good, but not excellent. It's fun to raise your animals, care for crops, and try and impress your loved one, but it gets kind of boring after while because it's pretty much a repeating process. Once I got the first Rainbow and more villagers came in, it became more interesting. I'm still not married, nor am I very far into the game so I do expect that it'll get better. What I also enjoy is that it's much more challenging than the previous HM games that I've played. (With the exception of RF which is just so difficult that it takes away all the fun). And although it gets kinda boring to do the same thing every day, I still love to ride my ostriches around town and let my animals out to graze ^.^
As I said, I'm not very far into this game, but the storyline really isn't all that wonderful, but it certainly isn't bad. It's creative for sure and definitely different than the other HM games and if you have nothing else to do in ToT you can always work on the storyline. What I don't like is that to obtain many things, you have to progress further into the story. I've always thought of and liked the HM series as a peaceful laid back game where you can do whatever you want. This still applies for ToT, but you can't meet many villagers, obtain most of the animals, or buy a lot of items unless you work on the story which decreases from the "relaxing" mood of the game.
They aren't extraordinary, but the graphics have improved from all of the previous HM games. Sure there are a few graphical errors here and there such as walking into the bar and seeing the mayor floating above his chair...but overall the graphics are better than average. I also liked the way they incorporated the movements of the animals. The ducks actually waddle like ducks, the chickens peck around like a normal chicken would, ostriches strut like one in the wild, goats eat and walk like a real goat, etc. What annoys me though is that baby chickens look like canaries and that silkworms are bigger than full grown ducks, and bees are 2-dimensional and flat. Aside from that the graphics are pretty good.
I'm not very impressed with the music and sound in ToT. The animals really don't make much of their calls except at random times when they're outside. in FoMT, I loved hearing the "bok bok bok" of a chicken whenever you picked one up and put it back down. Also, the character's voice is "annoying" and poorly done. I think they either should have elaborated more on his/her vocals or just left out any sound from the character at all. Also the music is annoying and repeating for every season. In FoMT it was repeating but the music was actually good, in ToT it's just annoying. Something I loved about AWL was that you can change what music played in the background. I do LOVE the music in the Carpenter's and the blacksmith's though ^.^ Overall, the sound/music is acceptable, but it would be nice if they put in a bit more thought into it.
The thing that I hate most out of anything anything about this game are the cursed loading screens. It takes about 10-20 seconds just to get in your house, another district, a building, you name it. Yeah, 10-20 seconds really doesn't sound like much but you'll see what I mean when you're patiently waiting to go back into your coop because you forgot an egg in there. The loading screens are just an excessive annoyance especially if you just need to do something really quickly in a building, district, etc. then you have to go through quite a few long loading screens. The Loading screens are just a ridiculous problem in this game that really has me upset about it. Another technical problem that I really don't mind at all is the slight lags at certain areas of the game.
The above score is the averaged mathematical rating, but since ToT has ostriches available to raise, I give it an 8/10. :) Yes this game isn't as great as it was supposed to be and it is rather disappointing, and the loading screens are the most annoying things ever, but it really is a good game and it has potential. It is my second favorite HM game that I've played (first is FoMT), and I do enjoy playing it. And, if you love ostriches like me, it really is worth the buy.
Buy, Rent, or Ignore-
Definitely buy it. Harvest Moon fans will love it, and it's definitely a great way to start to become a Harvest Moon fan. Once you accept the loading screen problem, and buy your first ostrich it'll probably be one of your favorite Wii games.
***Final Note- Forgive me for my mathematical, grammatical, and spelling errors =.= And if at any time I sound like I hate this game, I don't, in fact I really like this game it's just a disappointment and isn't as fantastic as I thought it would be.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/14/08
Game Release: Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility (US, 09/30/08)
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