Story Of Seasons: [Video Game Review]
Today’s game review is about Story of seasons, released a while ago for the American audience but only since Christmas for the poor Europeans fellows like me.
As you may or may not know there’s some confusion with the title of the game due to some localization issues, but I believe since the game was released a while ago, that everything is all clear for Harvest Moon fans. However, because I care about YOU ( I truly do), yeah you, little guy who has no idea whatsoever on what Story Of Seasons or Harvest Moon is about, I will sum it up quickly for you.
So Harvest moon is a rather old franchise of Japanese games and it’s basically a farming simulation type of games. However, in Japan, the games aren’t called Harvest Moon but “Bokujō Monogatari” which I think can be translated as Farm Story and are developed by Marvelous INC. Indeed, Harvest Moon is the name given by the localisation company Natsume which was translating and localizing the games for the western market. But recently, Marvelous has developed its own localization company so they don’t need Natsume anymore to release their games out of Japan. However, since the name Harvest Moon is Natsume‘s propriety, Marvelous had to come up with another name for the western market: Story of Seasons. On the other side, Natusme has released its own game called Harvest Moon: The lost Valley. The Lost Valley is, in my opinion a very shit game and you shouldn’t buy it thinking that it’s a true Harvest moon game cuz it’s not. Well, since Natsume had nothing to do with the game creation process it’s only natural that their game is shit.
Anyway, the main thing to remember is that Story of Seasons is made by the same company that made all the old and good Harvest moon games such as Friends of Mineral Town, Animal Parade, Back to Nature and more recently A new Beginning. And the Lost Valley, although it may bear the name, isn’t a proper Harvest Moon game.
Sorry the long intro, I just wanted to clarify some stuff and if I was able to save some of you from purchasing the wrong game I’m happy. If you want to see some reviews of the Lost Valley to clearly make up your mind you should go and check on YouTube, there’s plenty of good ones. I saw almost all of them when I was crying in my room, hoping for a European release of Story of Seasons while the Lost Valley was available since an eternity.
Well… There is no story at all. That’s actually pretty funny that the game is named Story of Seasons when you know… there’s no Story, not even with Seasons. Thing is, it would have been more accurate to name The Lost Valley, Story of Seasons giving the fact that you have to restore the seasons. BUT OH WELL, I’m getting off topic here.
This opus had a back to basic feeling. It felt like “Harvest moon: Friends of Mineral Town”, not a single story nor goal behind it, but still really enjoyable. That’s funny when you know that until recently in the Harvest Moon series, the tendency was too give the game more and more story/goal. It was always the same thing though, like saving dwarfs, finding music notes, ringing bells to save the goddess but still, it was some stuff to do other than farming. A New Beginning was a bit different, you had to restore the town’s fame by following plans given to you by the major of the town. So that wasn’t a “find hidden things” type of stuff which was quite enjoyable because it saved me the trouble to look through guides to know what should I do to the find the reaming dwarfs in order to get married (YEAH I’m looking at you Harvest Moon DS). So in Story of Seasons, you arrive in the village and you farm. Yup, that’s right. No there’s nothing else to say that’s basically the plot. Your goals are to get married and to expand your farm. Voilà
Almost the same as in A New Beginning. Although I used to really like the old Art in the first games, I enjoy this type of a Art style way more. Of course, there’s an “Anime” tone to the drawings but eeeh… At least it’s a bit more mature. By mature, I mean that everyone is hotter. I feel less bad about marrying guys or girls in the late games because they don’t look like 7 years old even if …. hhuuuummm I’ll keep this for the Bachelor section of the review…
Not the best Ost of all. Really, I don’t have much to say about the Ost, there’s isn’t a lot of music in this game so… yeah, nothing extraordinary nor really bad.
The farming is way too simple. There’s two level of difficulty in this game. Of course because I’m a such an Harvest Moon Pro Game Master, I went with the hardest mode, which increases the prices of everything. Even if, I had some hard times during Spring and Summer, once you’ve reached Autumn and unlock the Safari, money will start raining on you like ur some kind of PIMP or something like that.
By now, you’re probably amazed by such farming skills
And you’re like : “wow Charibo, such class when u harvest that turnip”
And I’ll be like ” yeah u know, years of practice kiddo, I’m Charibo the swaggest farmer around”
The most annoying part of the game might be the trade depot system. In this game, you don’t ship your items via a shipping box, but you sell them to different traders for different prices. I don’t really understand why they chose to change the shipping system to that pain in the ass trade depot bullshit. It doesn’t make anything more difficult, but just makes the game longer. Because of that, at the beginning of the game, they will be days, where you have literally nothing to do. There isn’t any sellers in the trading depot, and the only things you can do is diving into the river, collecting bugs and giving them to the villagers to raise your friendship with them (because giving them real gifts is too expensive and you know, you gotta keep your money if you want to buy stuff when the sellers will come into town). So yeah, trade depot: Pain in the ass.
Street pass options: There’s also a street pass option in this game. I did not try it out yet, I might, eventually.
Dating system: They kept the same system introduced in A New beginning. In order to marry your true one you have to raise his flower color by giving him gifts and talking. Then, when the color of the flower is blue or green, I can’t really remember, you have to give them a ring in order to become their boyfriend/girlfriend. Of course, because this narrow minded village doesn’t accept polygamy, the remaining bachelors and bachelorettes will become unavailable to you to marry but also, you won’t be able to see the rest of their flower events. I don’t like that, please remove it. This system only allows you to see the first two flower events of the bachelors and bachelorettes. How are you supposed to make your choice when you only saw two flower events? Furthermore, the flower events have the tendency to become more and more intimate as the color of the flower grows, so the first two events don’t let us see any romance. You have to start dating the guy/girl to see the remaining events. So what if, you don’t like them and finally you think that, the chief dude is actually boring and that the perfumer guy is way hotter? Well you have to break up with the chief. How do you do that? Give him things that he hates, don’t talk to him in other words make him hate you. Then, you’ll break up and you’ll have to forge another ring and give it to the other guy. That’s too long, way too long and complicated. I like the other system way more. Please go back to that.
Also, they’re no rivals. Why? Once you’re married, everything looks so empty. I always feel bad for the remaining bachelors and bachelorettes. Don’t they have the right to be happy too? I mean, Animal Parade was the best exemple to follow. After you’re married, the remaining bachelors and bachelorettes pair up and even have kids. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about, was it too complicated to make? Why did you stop that? That was a good idea and that’s one of the reasons why Animal parade is so praised. It makes everything more real, and for a simulation game, you know, that’s important.
The villager cast is interesting, there’s a lot of different personalities and couples with their own issues. The more you increase your friendship with them, the more you discover about those issues. Marian, is one interesting character, he’s a cross-dressing guy with a boyfriend. For once, his type of character is taken quite seriously. Although he’s quite a comic character, his preferences are never mocked and that’s great. See, we are slowly getting there…
Bachelorettes: I can’t really talk about them, nor their “dating options” since I’m playing as a girl. But if I ever play as a boy, I’ll probably go either for Licorice/Reina or Iris. Because… Yeah, I’m not really moved by the bachelorettes in this game. Although they are a lot better than the one in A New beginning. Man, the bachelorette cast was pretty shit…
Bachelors: So I’m going to say a few words about each of them in the reverse order of my preferences. In other words, I’ll start with my least favorite. Don’t get butt hurt by my subjective ranking, I usually have really bad taste in fictional characters.
6) Cam: Honestly, by the time I’m writing this, I haven’t unlocked him yet, but I have no interest in him at all. I didn’t go for him in Tale of Two Towns because I found him really boring and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. He’s just the cute shy guy that likes flowers and cats. BORING.
5) Raeger: I have almost the same problem with him that I have with Cam. Aka: He’s boring. He’s just standing there, being cute but without any real personality. Honestly, everything that he does is telling you not to come into his kitchen. He’s the boy next door, he’s boring. That’s it. NEXT
4) Nadi: He’s quite good looking, I’ll admit. But other than that, he’s pretty canon. He’s quite the tsundere and although I enjoy a nice blushing-tsundere once in while, Nadi was just irritating.
3) Klaus: I was planning on going after Klaus when I first saw the pictures of the bachelors. I mean, he looks like a Nothern Prince from a Tolstoi’s novel. He’s handsome. The only thing that I don’t really like about him is the fact that he constantly brings up the topic of his age. Like ” Are you sure you want to date an old man like me?”. OH COME ON! I give you 30 years not more, you’re not THAT OLD! But, yeah, the age problem wasn’t the thing that made me re-think my intentions of dating him. That’s actually thanks to my mom that I saw where the real problem was.
” Hey mom, who do you like the best among all those guys ? “
“mmmhh… Let me see… I’ll say Klaus”
“ooooh why ? “
” He looks like your father “
I’ve changed my mind. He’s never going to be my husband
2) Fritz: The only reason why Fritz is second in this classement is because Fritz is my homie. Seriously, I can’t think of myself dating him, but the “Bro” vibes are really strong with him. That guy is the best friend that everyone could hope for. Sorry Fritz if I’ve just friend-zoned you but you’re my awesome bruh.
I’ll stop you right there
What CHARIBO? Why did you go after the blond dude that looks like he’s a Boku no Pico character?
Because Mistel is the best
Remember when I was saying that Reager and Cam don’t really have any personality? Well that’s not Mistel’s case. When you first see him you think “ooh okay, he’s just like a 10 year’s old prince that speaks with rather complicated words for his age”. But that dude is actually a little sadistic-manipulator-yandere-prince-jerk. He’s just the kind of guy that you can’t understand and who likes to be in charge of everything but in the meantime he’s always nice to you. He’s always surprising and therefore not boring at all. I’ve seen him getting a lot of hate because he’s quite possessive and because looks like he just learnt how to walk but that’s actually not really the case. I don’t think I’ll ever date someone with his kind of personality in real life but in a game that’s quite entertaining. In all the Harvest moon games that I’ve played I’ve never seen a more interesting bachelor than him. That’s why I chose him. He’s my little sweet-motherfucker and I love him. Also, he plays the freaking contrebas. I mean, can you think of a cooler instrument? Don’t say guitar, guitar is for pussies, contrebas is the real deal.
Also, for the age… I do believe that he is, let’s say… 18?
Actually, I don’t want to know his real age
Now that I think of it, this post looks more like a Hardcore Harvest moon fan monologue rather than an objective review of the game. But eh, who said it was supposed to be objective? Harvest Moon is the franchise that made me buy a 3DS in order to play the games again (there was Ace Attorney too but let’s keep this for later).
Story Of Seasons is a true Harvest moon game, and a good one. In my opinion, it looks a bit like A New Beginning but they’ve managed to correct some of ANB’s flaws to make a better game. However, there’s still some issues with this new game. They kept the dating system, I still miss the rivals option and I’m not the biggest fan of the Trade Depot thing, the soundtrack is also quite forgettable.
Please do not think that I didn’t like it. I did, it’s not the best game ever but it remains a strong opus in the Harvest Moon series. If you want to start playing an Harvest Moon game you can easily start with this one.
Subjective Rating : 8/10
Best quotes from the game:
Angela : ” It’s tiring being a nurse in a village with more hoes than people”
Mistel: ” … What? You like me?As in, you… LIKE like me? Like, as a man? As a man you like, like? Like, LIKE like?”
Marian: “Come now, say anything you want and big sister will listen.”
Mistel: ” We are hereby official lovers. I will never let you go now, not even if you want me to. That, my dear is how this works”
Giorgio: “Did you come to congratulate me? Thanks. With this, I’ll be shirtless on the cover of next month’s “Farmer’s Monthly” for sure”
Iris: “… Hee hee, you don’t have to be so nervous. You want to know how to make a girl happy. I’ll teach you step by step.”