"HM64 Needs To Move Over. Now Is The Time For AWL!"

Many of you reading this know who I am. I am the webmaster of the longest running AWL site in the world.

It has been a dream of mine to get my hands on an English version of this new aged farming sim for 2 years now, and finally, my quest is complete, leaving me in complete bliss.

As soon as I opened to box, I read up on the very helpful booklet included, and filled out the consumer survey. Then, I put the disc into my Nintendo Gamecube, and I couldn't believe my own eyes. I knew this game was what hardcore Harvest Moon fans had been waiting for!

Title Scene: 8/10

The introduction glides over the Forget-me-not Valley and shows a wide spectre of amazing graphics from the carefully detailed trees, to the almost touchable water. It showed the homes of the villagers in the background and the dirt and stone paths amongst them.

My only problem with this beautiful sequence was the fact that it told no story. But the graphics alone were able to hold on to an 8/10.

Beginning: 7/10

There isn't much to say about this game when it comes to starting a new file. Your uncle tells you the exact same thing as you are told on any other Harvest Moon game. (That you have inherited a ranch, and are being requested to restore it back to it's long lost glory.)

He then walks with you onto the farm you are to share with him, and starts explaining the basic principals of the game, including that you need to get a wife and get the farm going again.

You must follow in your father's footsteps and complete his ultimate dream. . . . To run a family farm.

Takakura (your uncle) then leads you around the main part of town and introduces you to all the townsfolk. He points down the hill at some other houses and comments that those people are ''weird''. I got quite a chuckle from that one. :)

Anyhow, he leads you back to the farm, and tells you that he has left you with some crappy tools, a couple bags of seeds, and a cow. The games has begun!

Controls: 8/10

The controls on Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life are near perfect. You can do whatever you need to do, but sometimes you sort of ''drift'' over towards one side. I checked my controller, and finally realized that this game made the control-stick VERY VERY sensitive, which can be annoying sometimes when you are trying to stand still and talk to somebody.

Other than that, all the buttons work fine, and allow you to do anything necessary.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics are absolutely stunning, and make perhaps the biggest clarity improvement I have ever seen in a series.

As described in the Title Scene area, the entire game looks perfect, smooth, and life-like.

If you have ever played game like Unreal Tournament 2004 or Halo and thought those graphics were good, your jaw will still hit the floor. I have never seen a game so perfectly true to life in proportion, color, and texturing.

Sound: 10/10

I absolutely LOVE the sounds and music on this game!

From the noises people and animals make when you speak to them, to the records you can acquire to play on the ranch, I have only good things to say about the sounds of AWL.

Replay Factor: 10/10

The game is non-linear, and there are more than five different ways for it to end, so you can just keep playing this game over and over until your eyes rot out.

Marry all the girls. Do a good job on the farm, do a bad job on the farm. Make people like you or make them hate you.

Ultimately, you decide how it will end, and you're going to want to see all the different ways!

Rent or Buy? A definite buy. The is no way to be done with this game in the time you're able to rent it.

Overall: 9/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/21/04

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