Review by Honeybaby

"A Definite Must-Play!"

Though this is my first Harvest Moon game, and an introduction for me to the series, I must say I love this game. Though the game did not include marriage, sheep, mining, or festivals, as I heard they had in the past HM games, STH was a wonderful game to those who appreciate games without a big annunciation on winning, but where the objective seems to be just having fun, and learning to love the characters in the game.

Gameplay (9/10) - The gameplay in STH was incredibly intriguing. When I first saw the game, I refused to let myself buy it. My first impression of the game from looking at the box filled with friendly cows and horses was that I had unmistakably picked up a game from the 3 year old section. It seemed as though the game would have no point whatsoever, and would not be appealing to anyone over the age of 5. However, I ended up receiving the game for a birthday gift the next year, and though reluctant to try it, I popped it into my PS2 and started to play. For the next few weeks, most of my freetime was taken up by playing STH. The plot features a small town in danger of being destroyed in order to create a theme park. The object of the game is to find a way (There are nine possible endings) to save the Homeland within a year. The year consists of 4 seasons, each with about 30 days. In the seasons there are different types of weather: hot, mild, and rainy, which are marked on the calendar in red, blue, and yellow. There are also 3 channels you can watch, The Weather Channel, Farmer Fran\'s show, and Horoscopes which I find to have no use at all. You must take care of your farm by planting crops, hoeing soil, cutting grass, caring for pets, and more. At that same time, you must travel the town meeting people and flirting with the ladies. You may own horses, chickens, cows, and a dog as well. I found this daily routine to be incredibly exciting, which even today puzzles me. Why would I find the simple life of a farmer to be so exciting? I\'m still not quite sure of that... The only downer about the gameplay, which is why I\'m giving this category a 9/10, is the incredibly quick passage of time. I always find myself rushing around, trying to get things done, buying and selling, talking to the villagers, fishing, caring for my farm. Not to mention earning money and keeping yourself and your animals well! Overall, the game play was wonderful, with an intriguing plot and loveable characters.

Controls (10/10) - I, for one, found the controls to be quite easy to, well, control. it took a while to learn them, but when I forgot something, I just looked in my manual. It took me only a short while to memorize the controls, so it was really quite easy.

Visual/Audio (10/10) I personally found the visual/audio effects to be amazing in this game. The music made me feel as though I was right there, living in the HM world. There was a different theme song for each season, the Harvest Goddess Lake, the farming areas, and the Bar. Though when rainy days occurred, the day was left sadly musicless, the loud or soft pitter-patter of the rain, depending on how strong the storm was, and the occasional thunder, made up for the loss of music. I recall my mother coming up and saying, \'\'You know, sweetheart, that music sounds very realistic!\'\' and I agree with her! For me, nothing beat the feeling of staying inside watching television or relaxing in Lyla\'s home, or Katie\'s room, or even the Clove Villa, while the harsh rain sounded outdoors. The visual effects amazed me as well. The characters and scenery were cel-shaded, I believe that\'s what it\'s called, and had a nice
3-D look to it. My using the right analog stick, you could change the view without your character moving a muscle! Not that my character is lazy, but you understand, right? So I\'d have to say, Natsume did an excellent job in this category, it was really very well done.

Overall (10/10) - Harvest Moon, Save the Homeland was an amazing game overall. Though first impressions of the game may let you down, it really is an amazing game for those open to new kinds of PS2 games. I\'ll tell you, nothing can beat the heart-breaking feeling of Bob coming to your farm, telling you an animal has died, or the heart-warming feeling of finding a way to save the village. Whether you rent or buy it, this game will keep you playing for hours and hours and hours and hours. So what are you waiting for, my friends? Go out there and get Harvest Moon, Save the Homeland, and play!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/06/03

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