Review by IQ(Mutant)

"Some good points, some bad, but improved"

This game is part of an amazingly simple, yet addictive series that is nothing but a cult phenomenon. HM as it’s referred to, can’t be described enough to do it justice. A farming sim/RPG? People laugh when they hear that, but it’s a game that defies all explanation. I spent my Spring Break my freshman year of high school playing HM64. When I got this game, I had to buy my own PS1 just so I would stop borrowing my step-sister and tying up the family TV.

Unfortunately, the game didn't meet my high expectations.

Graphics – 8/10
Good graphics. Not great, but still good. What improves this one are the much more descriptive faces in the dialogue boxes. Much larger, much better looking. I miss the rotating camera angles on the farm from HM64, but I’m sure others just found it a wasteful feature.

Gameplay – 5/10
The controls were a PAIN. If you’ve played HM64, just get every pre-inscribed notion of what it should be out of your head. No diagonal movement. This hurts. Watering and harvesting crops are made just that much more difficult on your own. You’ll eventually get used to it, but it’s still a huge complication at times.
To make up though, they give you the harvest sprites and one-button in/out for items in your knapsack. They took the great idea of one-button item-in for your knapsack from the N64, and fixed it up to also take items out of your sack. Biggest timesaver yet. You don’t waste game time or your time. The harvest sprites exist solely to make your life easier by hiring them to do your chores. Big bonus.

As for non-control related gameplay, this game breaks even. The pause menu brings up a multi-page status on your farm, tools, crops, animals, etc. Huge bonus for checking important information that you may of needed to know but just forgot, and don’t have the time to run home and check again. Tool upgrade is slightly different, but still practical. The new “Makers” are a nice new bonus for generating revenue. The Basket is perhaps the most valuable though. Makes mining, harvesting, etc just that much easier. Mad props to the basket.

Character interactions are, imo, better. As I stated above, very large, descriptive faces, new character related stories, new festivals, etc. New stuff

Load time is a problem though, because the map is segmented pretty heavily, and each section requires load time (enough to make it annoying at times). Load times out the wahzoo. Really slows down the game’s flow.

Sound – 4/10
Another ‘Ugh…’ worthy category. Repetitive, annoying, horrible. Many more to describe the background music, but those three get the point across. Some game sounds can be annoying too, but you’ll be too busy going nuts from the music to notice them.

Story - 9/10
Another high point. Sure, it’s the same rehashed HM storyline, but it works. 2 ½ years to complete your goal: to own a prosperous farm and befriend the town’s people. Each HM game has their own unique twists though, and this one is no exception. Same HM feel, new PS1 twists.

Replayability – 9/10
Bunch of different things to accomplish each time you play it. Highly Replayability. If you loved it the first time, you’ll love it the 100th time.

*Adds all the numbers together and divides by five*
Well, I’ll be damned. It does equal seven… That was just a preliminary overall rating, I swear!
Either way, this game, while having low points, does have its high points, and is still an overall good play. Highly worth your time. This game is one of a number of HM games that makes this series one of my favorite of all time.

And if this is your first HM game, I highly recommend getting HM64, and the new (relative to when this was written, Dec 2003) GBA release, HM: Return to Mineral Village. It’s based entirely on this game. Also check out the to be released GC version, HM: A Wonderful Life.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/11/01, Updated 12/22/03

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