Review by catorrina
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
I originally got this game a few years ago- it was one of the first games I bought for my GameCube. Originally, I didn't play it much, preferring Friends Of Mineral Town. As it is the only game I've gotten past marriage, expect a few comparisons. I must admit that this is a very, very fun game. Though I'm not going to play it as often as the handheld HM games, I can say it DOES get rid of a few irritations from previous games. For instance, anyone who's played the Gameboy versions of the game knows that THE CHILD NEVER GROWS UP. From what I hear, Natsume hasn't been too good with that before either. No matter how many years pass, you're kid will still be an infant. Here, however, your child will grow into an adult, gain a personality, and eventually a career based on how you raised him. I didn't learn this until recently- how happy I was! The other problem was the lack of speech: each character says two things and done. Although it wasn't totally fixed, it's gotten a little better (three or four lines for townspeople, whereas your wife and son repeat random lines...)
However, there are a few flaws. The seasons are ten days long, instead of the typical 30. The sleeping patterns are also annoying- you sleep for six hours, no matter what, which makes it difficult to skip the waiting (for a new building or whatever) and also means you have to kill time unless you want to wake up at two in the morning. The final flaw is the cows. Although it is more realistic, having a cow that stops producing milk after 40 days, unless bred (particularly with the small barn space) is rather stupid.
The story behind the game is a typical Harvest Moon story. Your father moved to the country to fulfill his dream of running a farm, along with his partner and friend Takakura. However, he died before he could. You move to Forget-Me-Not Valley to take over this farm, as well as marry and raise a family.
For this game, you have a choice of three brides: quiet and down-to-earth Celia, shy and intelligent Nami, and bubbly, flirty Muffy. If you do not propose, one will propose for you, or the game will end. After the first year, you will have to raise your son, and set him on a career path from a toddler to an adult.
The graphics for this game are very good. The trees, fields, landscape, sunsets, weather effects (on-and-off, pouring or sprinkling...) and water are all beautiful. The animals are the same cuties as other Harvest Moon Games. The music is good, and you can switch between two records to play, as long as you don't sell them. An interesting thing they added to this is the reactions of people- gasps, grunts, and whines made by characters as you talk to them.
The game is very long, and like other HM games, monotonous, made even more so by the fact that I have yet to find WHERE the few festivals are. But, it is fun, and I would recommend playing it again- I'm probably going to just to find more career/personalities.
Final Recommendation- Awesome game! I'd recommend it to anybody! Fun, fun, fun, an' all that.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (US, 03/16/04)
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