Review by SpeedDaemon

"A Good Addition to Your Harvest Moon Library"

Harvest Moon, being one of the greatest video game systems of all time, spanning at least 7 systems and setting a new precedent for simulation games, has certainly lived up to its reputation in this installment for the Gamecube. I personally waited about a year and a half for this game and I wasn't disappointed. All of the elements you would expect remain and there are new elements added for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting characters this time around. They have a lot more personality than past characters. The world is quite a bit bigger, and there is alot more to do. The game has lots of little wuirks like different music and sound effects playing depending upon which area of the town you are entering. Like, for instance, when you approach Romana's Villa, you can hear Lumina practicing her piano from the main hall. It really caught me by surprise at first. These little extras really increase the experience and made the game much more enjoyable. Anyway, let's get on to some scores...

Gameplay: 9/10
A high point in the game. It plays like your standard HM title, with your farm operating just as it did in past titles. The controls will be picked up instantly by players who have experienced Harvest Moon before, and they will come fairly easily to players who are witnessing this franchise for the first time.

Sound: 7/10
Better than the N64 game, in my opinion. The songs fit into the atmosphere well and create a mood that really puts you into a country town. It was a nice touch to allow you to switch out the songs as you see fit. You can acquire CDs(or records, I can't tell) through various methods and play them on your CD player(turn table?). If you've played Animal Crossing, then it's similar to the whole K.K. Slider deal.

Controls: 7/10
Speaking of controls, they remain pretty much unchanged from past games. You run a little too slow for my taste, but I got over that within 5 or 10 minutes. Once your used to the game you probably won't notice. I've played Harvest Moon since it was on the SNES, and I picked up the controls immediately. I could see a new player having a bit of trouble with them, though. They may seem jumbled and overwhelming, at first, but I'm sure anyone can pick them up.

Graphics: 5/10
Average. Exactly what I'd expect from a GC title. No better, no worse. Some of the camera angles can get in your way, however. The scenery is very well done, but the texturing could use some work. The ocean is a high point. It's simply beautiful and must be seen to be believed.

Replayability: 10/10
Pretty much what this franchise is all about, Harvest Moon:A Wonderful Life really delivers here. You could play through it at least ten times before it starts to get redundant. The game takes a good while to complete, so a few times through, it'll take you at least 10 or 12 months

Buy or Rent: If your new to the series, rent it first. This game is only for a specific type of gamer, but if you're that type of gamer, you'll be in heaven. It's really THAT good. A Harvest Moon title that surpasses it's already sky high reputation.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/18/04

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