Review by Rin-Coconut
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition
Wow, the last review for this on here was written in 2008, I guess people don't share the same passion that I have for writing reviews on "dead" games.
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition is obviously a game in the Harvest Moon franchise. If you aren't familiar with this series here's a quick rundown. Harvest Moon is a farming simulator. You grow and tend to crops, take care of animals, get a wife (and in some games a husband), have kids, and essentially live out your days in a calm town as a farmer. This is an extremely relaxing, calm, and repetitive game with no real conflict occurring, but is extremely enjoyable for those into those kinds of games.
This entry in the Harest Moon franchise was the first Harvest Moon game I purchased. I had played an older game prior, but this was my first time truly getting deep into Harvest Moon, and I enjoyed it then and I still enjoy it now~!
This game is harder than other Harvest Moon games that I've played. The main reason is how hard it is to save up money. The game gives you an assortment of seasonal crops to grow, these don't provide you much money but I still think its fun to grow them, as this is a farming game. You can sell crops, eat the, cook them, give them to people, or feed them to your dog.
Growing crops isn't the only way to make money though~! You can also get animal related goods such as milk, eggs, and wool. You can also fish and excavate old world artifacts. The fishing is pretty slow to do, you cast your line then have to wait quite awhile until you get a nibble, you then have to try your best to hook it so you don't have to wait again. But with good catches you can earn a lot of money per fish. The excavating is a really cool version of the mining aspect in Harvest Moon games. In this game there's archaeologists with a site set up. You can dig through the site and find an assortment of odd items which you can later sell. Most of you income will come from everything listed in this paragraph, and not so much your crops. You can sell items via the box, and also to a dude who visits every now and then, and you can even set up shop in the main part of town (which is really cool). I don't mind the difficulty in raising money though, it kind of creates a "struggling farmer" perspective, but it can be frustrating to some players.
You can also get married, which is actually a requirement or you apparently get a game over. There's only a few eligible girls to choose from, and none of them are too exciting. There's a farmer girl, a meek rich girl, a bombshell blonde bar waitress, and a girl that looks like a boy. All of the girls have different personalities. There's a lot of other people in the town too for you to interact with, get to know, and numerous events to trigger. The people are quite varied in their looks, personalities, and interests / occupations.
The biggest issues with this game though is how extremely slow you move and visibility. Lag is the greatest problem with this game, as you can tell with other users literally including it in their review titles. Your character moves painfully slow, I actually adapted to it, and once you can get a horse, GET A HORSE. This mostly eliminates the speed issue. The other issue is, your character will think its an awesome idea to get up at 2AM, so the entire screen is totally black. Again, you can adapt, but its hard to navigate at first.
In this game you also have to feed both yourself and your dog. I thought this was a cool feature. You can feed yourself and the dog literally anything that's food, and there's things that grow around the land naturally that you can grab. You have an enormous amount of storage in this game so you can store all kinds of items if desired. You can cook stuff too.
I liked the graphics in this game. The scenery looks very, uh, like a game but pretty at the same time. Everything is kind of muddy with just green and brown on top of green and brown, but I like it. The map is one continuous large area with no loading, but load screens will happen when you enter and exit buildings. The characters range between looking more anime like to like cartoons, and everyone is a 3D model.
Overall, this is a very fun game in the Harvest Game franchise and I really enjoy it. It has a totally different feel than the other Harvest Moon games that I've played~
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition (US, 10/28/05)
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