Customer Review

116 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, but definitely "A New Beginning" for the Harvest Moon series, November 8, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning - Nintendo 3DS (Video Game)
I have to be frank--I don't think the Harvest Moon developers have given us a truly good, solid portable iteration in the series for a while. I quite enjoyed (and still do!) Harvest Moon DS (the first entry in the series for the Nintendo DS) and its sister, DS Cute. I wasn't hugely fond of Island of Happiness. Grand Bazaar and Tale of Two Towns were both absolute flops, in my opinion. So I had my doubts about this game, and I went into it with a pessimistic attitude. I even bought one for a friend as a birthday present so we could compare opinions.

The game has a slow start, for sure. Especially if you're a seasoned Harvest Moon veteran, you'll find that the tutorial at the start is long, drawn-out, dry, and utterly pointless. Yes, it's a new game on a new system, but Harvest Moon is such an easy game to figure out I found the tutorial a headache more than anything. I skipped the entire thing by pressing the A button and was able to figure out all the controls and the menu within about forty-five seconds. On the other hand, it's good for true beginners and especially those who have never picked up a game console before in their life. The REAL slow start, however, is not the tutorial. (I wish!) Instead, it's the fact that Echo Village is almost completely deserted when you move in. There is an explanation--the town is falling apart and most people have packed up and left--but still, for the first season there is virtually nothing to do but plant some seeds, forage, and chat with the few villagers who do remain there with you. One of my favorite parts of Harvest Moon is breeding animals and raising them, so it might not be a bad idea for you to give it a try.

Where the game does shine initially though is with the customization system. For the first time in Harvest Moon history, you can customize your player character to your heart's content. Hair color, skin color, eye color, eye shape, even two different outfits to pick from at the beginning. My understanding is that a hairdresser moves into town eventually and you can change your hairstyles later in the game and get new clothes. I also believe that one can cross dress of sorts--males can dress and look exactly like females and vice versa. This is a new step for Harvest Moon, as one could theoretically play as a boy, wear feminine clothes and hairstyles, and still marry one of the local girls. Vice versa, of course. Very interesting, I'm experimenting with this by playing as a boy with a girlier name, pink hair, and big pink eyes. We'll see how it works!

The controls in this game are nothing to hit home about, but good enough. You move with the circle pad, open the menu with 'X', jump with 'B', interact with things with 'A', and zoom in and change camera angle with the directional pad. Not being able to move your character with the directional pad, only the circle pad, may be a learning curve for some but it's really easy to get used to. The inventory isn't great this time, slightly cumbersome but it's all about getting used to it. I adjusted quickly. For those who enjoy moving their character around the map with a stylus (think Island of Happiness and Sunshine Islands), sorry to disappoint. The touch screen contains a map, the time, the season, and a place for the menu to pop up. I find being able to change the camera angle very helpful. The circle pad works extremely well. Everything else is pretty average.

The graphics are nice! As is typical with Harvest Moon, they won't blow you out of the water and they don't really take full advantage of the 3DS's capabilities. I love the people's designs in the game, absolutely adorable and lifelike. They blink in their portraits! The animal's sprites are precious and the trees/flowers/rocks/wild animals/water/etc. all complement each other nicely. The only thing I don't really like about the graphics is the grass. All solid green, no texture that I can see. It's not enough to make me really dislike the graphics, however.

Characters, though I admittedly have not seen much of them yet, are excellent this time around. Hana in particular, from the initial cast, is downright adorable. Be wary, though, the first bachelors that stroll into town are moody! Don't let that soil your view of them from the beginning, they will open up to you with time. And once Rod moves in, you'll have a bachelor that's nice right off the bat. The bachelors are all fairly good-looking with well-rounded and varied personalities. You may love them all, hate them all, or be able to pick and choose. That's no different. I love the bachelorettes--Witch Princess is back and she's got a whole new look! Michelle is my favorite by far, I'm a sucker for pink.

Animals get huge praise this time around. A ton of variety and they all look amazing! I absolutely love the cows. They're almost comical. The other animals, some new (don't want to spoil everything!) don't leave me wanting for much, either. Pets are back and better than ever--I won't spoil much, but they do have some hilarious consequences if you feed them too much or don't take good care of them! The crops, unless you are very into that aspect of the game, are same as always with some new ones thrown into the mix. No real surprises there.

The town, as I said, is absolutely dead in the beginning. A couple of buildings, some of which aren't even occupied, and your farm. But unlike previous Harvest Moon games, when you just waited for someone to move in, you take an active role in bringing people to your village. Blueprints make an introduction here, and you can purchase them, gather the materials required for them, and build new things for your village! Some plans are required to bring some characters into town. But follow that formula and your town will soon be bursting. Eventually, I believe you even get to change your town's name if you complete all the Blueprints. There is also the introduction of the Travel Agency, and you guessed it, vacations! There are several places to choose from and they're a great idea for honeymoons, birthdays, or just because.

Overall...

PROS
+ Good controls
+ Nice graphics
+ Great cast of characters
+ Customization
+ Animals/Pets
+ New Crops
+ Longevity (I can see myself being hooked on this until I go blind!)
+ Town building system
+ Travel Agency
+ Multiplayer (haven't experimented with this yet, if you try it and have feedback, leave a comment!)
+ An enormous amount of new little bells and whistles and features that you have to discover for yourself!

CONS
- Ugly grass
- Horribly slow start
- Inventory may bother some
- Characters repeat themselves often when you talk to them

That's really it. In my opinion, it's easily the best Harvest Moon so far and there's so much to see and do that even after you've done and seen it all you'll want to keep going forever. It's not perfect, but as you can see, the Pros greatly outnumber my superficial little Cons. It's an amazing game with few flaws and it's just waiting for you to pick up and play. So get out there and happy farming!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 8, 2012 10:04:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2012 10:38:14 AM PST
Maggie says:
You wrote something what made me interested: "characters repeat themselves often when you talk to them" - I think it depends of what they say. In the games like HM64, BTN, M/FOMT and DS/Cute they were repeating themselves as well, but their phrases were somehow magical. You could meet them very well; their personality, hobbies, problems etc. They had a depth. But in the new games (IoH, SI, GrB), the villagers were awfully boring! Still happy and were saying some dull things about the weather or how great the fishing/cooking/whatever is. I hope that the ANB characters aren't so happy-go-me :/

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 3:56:56 AM PST
M. Meredith says:
Lovely review! I'm really excited to get this game tomorrow! Are there any rival marriages or events though? I keep on hearing that there aren't.

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 7:00:22 AM PST
E. Ocasio says:
Thank you for the long, and in depth review. I will add the game to my Christmas list.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 12:56:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2012 12:56:45 PM PST
Jessica says:
Hi Chelsea,

Yes, I agree with you totally. It is different for every game and there are only so many thing computer generated people can say. Unfortunately, I have not gotten far enough into the game to see how very invested the characters get, but one the bachelors has some kind of family issues, I believe, that does come up. Enjoy!

Hi Meredith,

Thank you! And no, sadly, there are no rival marriages and no rival children. I don't even think there are rival events. :(

Hi Ocasio,

So glad to have helped! Enjoy.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2013 8:47:21 AM PST
They need to remake The 64 version, by far the best of all of the games... but you have to be old enough to play it... I still have it so I must be old haha. :P

Posted on Feb 14, 2014 11:19:17 AM PST
L. Wells says:
I have the digital version of this game and I loved your review! LOL @ugly grass! Your review has got me wanting to play again! Just need to find the time as this game will suck you in!
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