Review by JackTheGhoul
"An Honest Opinion"
The Harvest Moon series has always been one of my favorites, ever since the release of Harvest Moon 64 on the Nintendo 64 in '99. Much to my dismay, A Wonderful Life, the first HM game on the GCN was far from the game that I loved and played for hours on end. After the screenshots that were posted, and the news that this game would be similar to the N64 version instead of the GCN, I picked this game up.
Graphics - 8
Instead of using the more realistic graphics of AWL, Marvelous decided to revert back to using the cutesy graphics that we all know and love. This is great news, of course, to the fans who have been playing Harvest Moon since day one, but on the other hand, this is 2006, and the graphics aren't much of an improvement from '99. On top of this, there are quite a few glitches and frame rate issues, one of the most well known is the slow down that occurs when passing by Jamie's/Blue Sky Ranch. While this can be a bit annoying, it only happens for a few seconds at most, so it shouldn't interfere too much.
Sound - 4
I know, I know, you readers are going, "omg wtf why is this score so low?". One of the things I actually liked about AWL was the fact that you could switch background songs. In MM, you listen to the same song in the background, repeating over and over. Okay, sure, it does change when you go into a building, but once you come back out, it's that same annoying music again. Another issue I had with the sound is the fact that your character sounds like he's sitting on the toilet when he's watering a 3x3 plot with the Silver Watering Can. Oh, and don't even let me get started on when you give Martha a fruit she loves... god, that made me have nightmares that day.
Gameplay - 9
Probably the strongest point in this game. In all Harvest Moon games. Basically, you start with a minimal amount of money, doing all sorts of things to make more of it. Some people may decide to farm crops the whole time, only taking breaks in winter, or some people may prefer to fish all year long, and mining in the winter. The best part of it is, you can decide whenever you want to stop doing something. Tired of watering crops? Fine, chop them down and go mining. Tired of hammering countless rocks all day? Fine, go fishing.
Magical Melody also features the ability to play as either a male or female. Yep, you heard right. Ladies, you no longer have to spend extra money buying the exact same game to play as your own gender anymore! Another new feature of MM is your rival, Jamie. Every single day of your farming life, your daily income is compared to your rival's. I'm assuming this is so you can keep track of how well you're doing.
As with all Harvest Moon games, you can eventually get married. Well, except in AWL, where after the first year, you HAD to get married. In MM, you have a wide array of ten people to choose from. From each gender. That's right, you can marry one of ten different people as a male or female. On top of this, you are also given the ability to marry your rival. That gives you a total of eleven people to choose from, each with their own personality.
Frankly, the only negative thing I can say about the gameplay is the fact that every character only says one thing, yep, just one thing, for every new heart they get. No hearts? "Hey, how are you doing?" One heart? "The weather sure is nice today..." You get the point.
Basically, you're a guy, who saw an advertisement for some land to build a ranch on, and you decide to take it. The night you stay at your house, you dream about the Harvest Goddess and how she is saddened by the many horrible things people are doing, and she turns to stone. The next day, you come outside to meet some harvest sprites who take you to see the Harvest Goddess. The sprites tell you to collect some musical notes to bring the Goddess back, and here, you are introduced to Jamie, your rival, who is also trying to bring the Goddess back. Now exactly the most original story, but it is sort of different from the other HM games, so I have to give it credit for that.
Rent or Buy?
If you're a fan of the Sims, other Harvest Moon games, or any game where the whole objective is to build up relationships and make money, then this game is for you. Definitely buy it, because you'll never get enough of it for the first couple of months.
If you're new to the series, I would give this game a try. It is definitely one of the better Harvest Moon games, despite some of the glitches. Who knows? You might end up addicted to it.
Final Score: 7
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/18/06
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