Review by liquidSeks

"The Joy's of Farming"

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, perhaps one of the best games of all time; maybe one of the worst games of all time? Well that's why you are reading this review, so you can find out. Who knew that a simple farming game would become so popular thought considering others who have tried to simulate farm life have failed so miserably. So the question really becomes have they done it again or messed the whole thing up?

Here is a little bit of an introduction to the game for those who have not played it. You “Jack” leave the city for the farm life. Your father and Takakura once worked on the farm, and now your time has come to take up the challenge of taking care of it (with Takakura's help). Eventually you will get to know your neighbors better and perhaps even get married, maybe have children as well. Actually you have to get married or it's Game Over.

All the elements of Harvest Moon have been kept the same, and they have added many extras as well. You still get the options of Having Chickens and Cows but now you also have the ability to have Roosters And Bulls for mating. They have also added many more animals to this game such as the sheep, goats & the ducks (my favorite animal in Harvest Moon). As always you will still start with a dog, which you get to choose between a floppy eared one or a pointy eared one. Along with your Dog you can also eventually get a cat.

Getting girls in Harvest Moon: AWL is a fun yet stressful task, many people will find that no matter how hard they try they cant get the girl they want, yet others have no problem. You get to choose between three lovely girls in HM: AWL and those girls are Muffy, Nami & Celia. I find all three girls are very attractive considering they are only anime characters… Every girl likes different things so make sure you get to know your girl get them what they want not something that will make them want to smack you upside the head! Many things still stay the same though as well such as they will all have certain heart events, and you will always find there diary in there rooms.

When it comes to you child you get to have the ability to guide him to which career you want him to have its a lot of work raising a kid though, you may find it difficult while gardening, taking care or you farm animals, making appearances and befriending people around town, and not to forget keeping you wife happy!

The game play itself is very simple and easy to learn yet who knew a game about farming would blossom like it did, like honestly would you want to be doing that stuff in real life? No of coarse you wouldn't its hard and tiring work, yet they made this game enjoyable. I think knowing that you won't end up being kicked by a horse or falling in a pile of cow doodoo makes this game just that more enjoyable!

There is one animal in this game though that brings this game down a bit all by itself, and that animal is the one and only goat… This guy can't mate only produces milk for one year and after that he just takes up space. You can't even sell him but you still have to pay for him and use up your time to feed his sorry ***!

Fishing… who doesn't enjoy a good day of fishing, well I know I do, that a great feature in this game is the realistic fishing. There are so many different kinds of fish you can catch; then with those fish you can also cook them and make them into many dishes of which you have learned. Which that now brings us to the many joys of cooking, there is so many recipes you can barely keep track of them, I find it enjoyable to cook as well as fish so it intertwines good with each other.

I personally always hated gardening though, but with the new feature they added allowing you to hybrid plants, and trees it makes u curious on what you can create. One of my favorite plants is Hybrid Crop #08, my reason? Because it waters your plants for you giving you more free time to run around like an imbecile. After you get a bit more into the game you can find a lot of short cuts to save yourself time, like getting a milking room. After you show your cows to the milk room they will begin milking themselves, that's a big time saver there.

I find the game play to be very relaxing and help me get away from reality when I need it the most; it calms me right down knowing that I can take care of chickens and ducks. :D

The graphics in HM: AWL is very bright and cheerful. I find them very good quality considering it is the Game Cube. The FMV don't get any better quality but I find them hilarious to watch, especially the mad scientist and his wacky experiments. All together the graphics suit this game very well especially when watching the very cartoon-ish FMV's.

The sound in HM: AWL is very nature like indeed, sounds like you were on a real farm almost. Great thing about this game also you can collect different tracks to switch the music up a bit, speaking of that I should also mention that this game can hook up to the GBA game Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. By linking up you can gain more info on the towns and its people, and also get a few certain items you can't get without linking up making it a most to also get HM: FOMT. With out that how could you possibly live on knowing you can't get all those juicy rumors about everyone? Back to the music now, the music is very catchy you can eventually even catch yourself whistling it while you walk down the street to the corner store.

The game length is about 30 years I believe, and you get to play 10 of those years, which are set into 6 chapters. For the first chapter you play as a basic learning chapter, which consists of 1 year. Chapter two is a little different as you are now married or at game over, this chapter consists of 2 years. Chapter 3 becomes 3 years; then back down to two years in chapter 4. The last two chapters each consist of 1 year each. Each day is about 10 minutes Regular time, I find this actually gives you plenty of time to go about and do your daily routine or just cause trouble.

You must replay this game to go different paths every game, how would you feel not giving Nami a chance, she really is a sweet girl and you just must marry her once. Especially since it's a challenge to get her, you could raise her up to 2 hearts and still Celia will marry you, that is a pain when that happens, and then you would have to start all over, right there is your replay ha ha. But seriously it has a decent replay if you want to collect all the types of recipes and music tracks or get all the items try different paths for your child. That list could keep going on and on but I'm sure you catch the drift.

Final Thought~ I bought a Game Cube just for this game alone. Resident Evil 4 was just a bonus. :P
Game Play: 10
Story: 9
Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Game Length: 10
Replay Value: 10
Rent or Buy? You can't rent this game long enough to be able to fully enjoy its programming, you MUST buy this game, or just don't buy it at all. Decision is yours!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/15/05

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