It’s Over for Natsume and Harvest Moon
Each morning after grabbing my cup of coffee, I look at the latest news and reviews in the video game industry before starting my actual work day. And today wasn’t pretty for one company. While Story of Seasons received positive review after positive review, I couldn’t help but notice the number of reviewers that said in some way, “If you are looking for a new farming adventure, definitely buy Story of Seasons.” Read between the lines, and you might get, “If you are looking for a new farming adventure, don’t buy Harvest Moon.”
Harvest Moon had the earlier release date, and the opportunity to steal some thunder from Story of Seasons in English speaking markets (Story of Seasons launched in Asia in late February). They squandered the opportunity by releasing a flat, most uninteresting, lazy title. Harvest Moon is dialogue heavy, and while some aspects retain their familiarity with previous titles – animals husbandry for example – other stake crazy turns into something new. No more planting fields where ever you want – instead, you are confined to what the game offers. No more buying seeds from a store and planting large fields of profitable crops. It’s not an option. Instead, the game would have you traversing the map looking for Harvest Sprites who will provide you one singular seed of a specific type. You go here for grass seeds, and over there fore an eggplant. And if you travel to that new biome, you can find a rose.
The idea is interesting. 5 areas to explore, move your farm from place to place, etc. But it all falls flat in execution. What’s worse, Harvest Moon is lazy. Each of the towns you encounter will have a handful of named characters, while the rest will be called (and I kid you not), Awkward Man, Shopkeeper, etc. Yup, no actual names, just lazy titles attached to characters that we are apparently suppose to care about….
With so much marketing going into this title, I was hoping for so much more. I even billed this as the potential rehabilitation opportunity for the franchise. Instead, I’m here to say this franchise is likely dead. I pre-ordered this bad boy, and really do regret the money I spent. I won’t make that mistake again.