Review by Ichite
"The addiction.. she is very great..."
Well, it's very late to submit this, especially granted that I bought this game about 5 years ago when it first came out. But nonetheless I've become active inside the boards here, and I feel like giving back to the community, hence my review. I played the original Harvest Moon for SNES, and loved it. And the 64 version only brought more options, more things to do. I discovered connections between this and the previous game, and even those connections are speculation, as I can never know if Natsume truly meant them to be there. Even if this game doesn't sound appealing, find a way to play it. You'll find that it is. It's also horrendously addicting, I've found it very easy to begin playing at 9 a.m. and look up to find that it's about 7 p.m. and people are wondering if I'm okay because I haven't gone upstairs all day.
I gave it this score for the sheer fact that this was an N64 game and that the graphics were true to the genre. They're cartoony, and fun, and rather solid. When you pick up objects, they are held in front of you unless put in your bag, etc. When you toss something into the shipping box, it bounces happily, like a creepy monster who just got fed. Tools and animals look realistic, and the little baby chickens look like moving yellow puff balls with eyes. There's a few times when the game glitches and people walk through you, or through each other, but it never causes the game to crash, which is admirable.
I love the music in this game. You know you've been playing an addictive game when you're making up words for the songs. Aside from that I've made quick little lyrics to all of them simply because I've played the game for so long. A new season pops up, bang, new lyrics. Go into town, it's 'Harris the Mailman" I'll be singing. None of the songs in game have lyrics, and that's why it's fun to add your own, or just let it go, depending on your style. The sounds from tools, cows, people, etc, all sound realistic. A plow hitting the earth, or scraping on some non-plowable substance. Such as your wall, wife, or your other animals. Again, depending on how you play.
While the story isn't the best, it, again, is true to the genre. In most Harvest Moon's you have 3 years to make your farm as prosperous as you can. That's that. And most people are right when they say that after the second year rolls around, the game starts to drag a bit, but that's because they don't explore around, or attempt to find glitches in the game. Like I did. The game may be a little too open ended as to what you can do. But the argument could also be made that the game is too closed in that once you get a routine going, it's hard to break that, at the risk of losing money later on, or missing someone, thus setting you back.
The game, as previously stated, is really played based on how you want to play it. You can sit on your butt and do nothing for 3 years, or you can go out there and turn your farm into what would be called in the real world an economic center. There's people to talk to, girls to swoon, marriage, that constant question of what the weather's going to be like tommorow, etc. Natsume takes you and throws you into the shoes of a farmer who has no one to tell him what to do. There's tips on how to use tools, etc, but everything else is up for you to discover. They give you a gentle push into the void, it's your job to figure out how the parachute works. There's many spoilers I could toss out, but I won't, suffice to say you're not the only one who can get married.
Replay Value: 10/10
Absolutely one of the -best- replay values I've ever encountered. There's so many different ways to play the game it's almost staggering. This game was made by a company who does fishing games, but also came from a generation of the best RPG's out there. They know what it takes to make a good game, and how to keep people entertained. I've gotten friends who normally only play FPS's to sit down and play this for at least 5 hours. The game is open to tons of different audiences, etc. There's almost always something that you missed, and something new that pops up. I've seen the occasional cutscene in here that I've not seen documented anywhere, and I still don't know what it's about. I've only seen it once though, so I can't be sure of what I did. Quite simply this game was ingeniously designed and executed. For being such an unknown game, it really is excellent.
Rent or Buy?
Well, first off it'd be hard to find a video store that still rents 64 games, and even if they did I'd suggest you buy it anyway. This game is flat out incredible, and mesmerizing. It'll keep you entertained for hours on end, and maybe eventually you'll make up your own 'Harris the Mailman", or something different.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/06/06
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