Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, an alternative to Pokémon X and Y?

(Hey, Poem early this week, sorry for all the delays, University deadlines and illness really haven't been in my favour. On the other hand, both have meant plenty of time to play Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, so here we go, the first Cynics article written from bed)



Ok, so before we begin, disclaimer time. I'm still a big Pokémon fan, and I'm talking post-generation 1, 2 and 3. I can detail you the Vanilluxe evolution line, I know Sinnoh and Unova as well as I know Johto and Kanto, I currently have caught 626 pokemon on White/2, roughly 400 more than most of my peers have a right to exist. So it isn't like I'm in the vocal majority of our generation who only played Generation 1, 2 and perhaps 3, I've stayed with Pokémon through its unpopular decline of the mid to late 2000s, too its weird revival at the end of and now continuing. I even followed the release of X and Y closely, as you may well know if you go on this site.

And yet here I am, 8 days after worldwide release date, it isn't in my 3DS, I haven't even purchased it, I probably won't until around Christmas time. What is in there instead? You guessed it, Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, a critically ignored, and frankly excellent game. Sadly, in a series I'm worried might soon cease being released outside Japan, so prepare for one of those "I appeal to you to give X a chance" articles. But it'll be fun along the way, games journalism on farming games always is.


The Farming

While a game centred around running a farm, it is not your only activity by far, in this game more than ever does your character fill the role of a renaissance man, effortlessly bounding from one pursuit to another while the town folks cheer. But, at the core, your role is young man or woman who has just moved to the small "Echo Town" to run their parents ancestral farm.

The farming itself is split up into multiple parts, there is 8+ types of livestock, ranging from Chickens to Alpacas (If that is even a viable spectrum). There are way more types of crop than ever before, useful for selling, crafting, cooking and competitions.  There are Bees to keep, Dogs, Cats and Horses to help out around the farm, a small factory to open up to refine your base products into more valuable and versatile produce. Considering how little of your time you can apply to farming, given the rest of the game, it is probably the most fleshed out mechanics to date, with multiple improvements on the sprite based system.  

They also finally removed the 9 square system, so you can actually reach your crops. Innovation ladies and gentlemen.

The Wilderness and Activities 

Outside Echo Town (which I will get to next) there is also a plethora of things to do, with three to four areas teaming with life, resources and quests. There are wild animals to befriend, bugs to catch, mines to...mine? Trees to climb and chops and collect from, fish to catch in the river, be it by pole or trap, music to play, and most inexplicably of all, Mushrooms to jump on.

The first (in-game) month or two is largely spent in here, as your crops grow there is plenty to do to help you accumulate the start up money you will need to truly make your farm step up a gear. Capital is the path to Capital, as they say.

The music in these three areas is too damn catchy, especially in Summer.

Echo Town

But why gather masses of capital like an agricultural Scrooge McDuck? Well, unlike before in Harvest Moon, now your wealth can be channelled into revitalising the town, bringing in people, the businesses they run, new houses, new infrastructure, areas of the town and options. Echo Town, when you arrive is about 5 people, by the time I'm playing, it has reached well over 20. 

This of course includes attracting to the town the various bachelors and bachelorettes that you can court and eventually marry. The professions this time go, for the girls: Blacksmith, Waitress, Journalist, Magician, Witch (there is a difference I swear) and Tailor and for the boys: Livestock Seller, Pet Shop Boy, Arab Prince, Arab Prince's Butler, Hair Stylist and Journalist (again, lots of news in this town I guess). 

Iroha is on the level. Allen is a bitch. 

(fixed, sorry)
I can even begin to comprehend how much Yaoi probably exists of Neil and Rod.

I'm not even past the first year yet, so there might be more articles on Harvest Moon to come, feel free to rally passionately against that in the comments section. Once again, if you have made it this far, sorry for the delays. I'll try and be a better Internet person, I swear. 

(Probably another article coming out today, I've just been outraged.) 

Oh Charles. 



13 comments:

  1. I guess a fresh crop of farming puns would be corny, so I wont boar you with them.

    I'm not sure you should be let loose with that tractor. You nearly ran over the duck thing.

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  2. I knew the roma gypsies didn't have you, you're not blonde enough.

    Welcome back and with such a heartwarming and wholesome review. Makes me want to do a morris dance round the barn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankfully I managed to give them this passing child instead.

      Fortunately my Barn Dancing days are behind me, Morris Dancing however...

      Delete
  3. Spoilers.
    If you love your alpacas enough, they follow you around. Like a big useless army of fluff.

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    Replies
    1. You've really put me off Alpacas, I've decided to breed Yaks instead.

      Delete
  4. Good job there's a witch and a magician in the absence of a vet or a mechanic. But Arab prince? And his butler? Did they wander in unbidden from a different game?

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    Replies
    1. No-one seems to own a car, though I do have a mechanical panda who could really use both a vet and a mechanic, good point.

      Yeah, Amir and Sanjay really don't feel like they belong in a game full of western and Japanese stereotypes. Still, probably the most normal Middle Eastern people I've ever seen a Japanese game portray.

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  5. All the reviews I've seen say a slow starter but good fun once you get going. I assume you would recommend this frolic into the rural idyll?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it does start quite slow, but after the first month it picks up dramatically, now there aren't enough hours in the day (In the first month I went to bed at 4pm).

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  6. I've been carrying a poem around in my head for a while now. Tis a heavy burden. When can I offload it?

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    Replies
    1. Poetry is sunday as per what should be normal. I'll apologise profusely at the time. Currently trying to upgrade the WaC infrastructure.

      Delete
  7. Along these lines, rather than remaining up all hours, you can get a Pokémon Go bot that will deal with the majority of that for you. At that point, you can grope revived and wake in the morning with a huge amount of new Pokémon that you would have needed to remain up and get something else. read this article

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    ReplyDelete