Story of Seasons Diary: Year 1 Spring 1.1 – Intro and Life on the Farm
It is always hard to review lengthy games like the Harvest Moon franchise. By design, the pace is generally slow, everything is done on your own time, and unlike a sprawling AAA title, they are often directionless. So, I have instead decided to run a series of diary entries while I play Story of Seasons, chronicling each season I play.
If you enjoy farming simulation games, and where perhaps disappointing by The Lost Valley, than Story of Seasons is a must buy, now. If you are still on the fence, feel free to follow my diary entries and learn the game with me.
Marvelous has worked on many of the past Harvest Moon titles but a recent change in North American distribution has left us with two franchises competing for our love: Natsume retained the Harvest Moon name, and new to the series publisher Xseed Games and developer Marvelous moved on to something new. It is ironic, however, that Xseed retained the good game play that made Harvest Moon fun for so many years, while Natsume (poorly) tried to innovate under the old title name.
Harvest Moon Diary – Spring Year 1.1
The game begins slowly, which for Harvest Moon fans is nothing new. The pace of this title, however, is noticeably slower than other games; the first 30 minutes to an hour are dull, especially for those who understand the concepts.
While your farm is being prepared, you board with the neighbor lady and help out on her farm. Over a period of a few days, you will learn field preparation, planting, caring for plants, swimming, animal care, and learn about the games economy system.
Here is the first noticeable change for life long fans: gone are the standard shipping boxes where food could be dropped each day. Instead, players must sell their goods at the vendors markets, to salespeople that visit from around the world. I currently only have one vendor visiting my town, but have been assured by the Guild leader that more vendors will arrive in due time.
Plant and animal care is much like previous games in this genre. You scrub your animals, water your crops, and reap the rewards. Each plant has a specific number of days it takes to reach maturation, and this is where time management (not only daily management, but weekly and seasonal as well) become a big priority.
The best part about this title, however, is that farming now works in 3*3 sections: one task to hoe all 9 spots, one task to water, and one task to harvest. It definitely allows players to plant tons of crops in a season, where previously they were limited by stamina. Here is another change I like from the earlier Harvest Moon titles: your stamina is now displayed as a set of hearts in the upper left corner. Gone are guessing based on the visual cues of your farmer. It is much easier to manage your time when you can see how many hearts you have remaining. Work hard to deplete hearts, eat or sleep to replenish. It’s simple, but much easier for time management purposes.
My next diary will focus on my daily routine off the farm, special events, and closing out Spring Year 1.