Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review - Harvest Moon: A New Beginning (3DS)


Harvest Moon...done right”

Natsume is back, and they are ready to take us on another farming adventure. To tell the truth, I was worried when I first sat down to play this game. Let's face it, the last few Harvest Moon games have not been their best work. It was always just more of the same. Natsume needed a new hook. Were they able to find it with Harvest Moon: A New Beginning? Find out in our review below!

Overview

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning starts off ordinary enough. You arrive at a small village that is down on its luck, and it is up to you to turn things around. Been there, done that! As always, your job is to turn this broken little village into a bustling town...wait..aren't you usually just trying to restore your farm? Well, that is one of the differences that makes A New Beginning a step in the right direction for the series as a whole.

"Expect to be doing a lot of this to start with"
The game starts off VERY slow. I assume that they did this to make it easy for newcomers. However, for the first season you are very limited as to what you can do. Not only that, but your town is virtually deserted, so don't expect to be making a lot of friends. With little funds, limited tools and no people to really talk to, you are forced to spend your days gathering supplies (bugs, flowers, rocks, fruit, etc.) This is fine...for like the first week, but it drags on for LONG after that. Many times you will find yourself ending your day early because you simply ran out of things to do.

The good news is that it's the biggest downfall of the game. If you can get past those first few virtual weeks, the game really starts to pick up. A lot of this has to do with the fact that you are no longer just trying to build a successful farm. This has turned into a successful village. The growth of this village actually depends completely on what you do. Don't feel like building new homes? Fine, don't...but don't expect new people to come flocking to your town.

"I totally just built a house in like...20 seconds"
There is one other problem I should address...and that is Neil. No, not because of his personality (although his could use an adjustment). It's because of his damn cut-scene. After you first meet Neil, and he opens up his animal shop, there is a cut-scene that takes place of him setting up shop. At first, I assumed they would show this once...but then it happened every day that he opened shop. I don't want to sit there and watch his minute long cut-scene every time he's open for business! The first few times I was cool with, but by the time Fall rolled around I was ready to kill Neil. I figured I could stick him in my flower bed...no one would ever know. Thankfully, you can avoid this cut scene by not being in town when he opens or closes, but why should I have to plan my day around him? There were times I was dashing into houses right before Neil opened shop just to avoid watching his cut-scene.

As with all Harvest Moon games, picking someone to spend your virtual life with is a big part of the game. When the game starts out, the pickings are slim, but as your town grows, so does the number of people you can choose to marry. Like in other Harvest Moon games, your are able to have kids as well. This time, however, the kids can grow into their teenage years, which is a pretty cool feature.

"She makes the Hulk look like a child"
There are two other things that make this Harvest Moon game stand out from its hand-held counterparts. First, is the fact that it's set in a 3D world. You are actually able to freely move the camera and even zoom in and out. This makes your virtual world feel more “alive”. The best way that I can describe it is: A New Beginning does for hand-held Harvest Moon games what Harvest Moon 64 did for console Harvest Moon games. That's right...I said it!

The second thing that makes this game stand out so much is the fact that you can customize nearly everything in the game! Your farm, hair and clothing are all customizable. Not only that, but you have complete control over where things are placed in the town. This virtual town becomes your sandbox, and you get to make it how you see fit!

Conclusion

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning is the portable Harvest Moon I have been waiting for. It feels like a full Harvest Moon game, like the ones you are used to seeing on home consoles. Being able to customize your look, your farm and the town is a lot of fun. They didn't try to fill this game up with a bunch of gimmicks to make it “feel” new. They addressed something that has been missing from these games: the ability to set up your farm the way you want it. Sure the game is a bit slow to get started and Neil's cut-scene becomes a pain, but these small drawbacks are not enough to keep this game from shinning. (Rating 9/10)

 

6 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT review! This is pretty much exactly how I felt about this game (Neil's cut-scene is a pain -_-). I can't wait to see more reviews from you guys! Keep it up!

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    1. Thanks, Short Round! I am glad you enjoyed the review. We hope to get more reviews posted up soon so be sure to keep checking back :)

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  2. Thank you for posting this! Now I have hope of getting past the first season! I'm new to Harvest Moon and have been enjoying it quite a lot, but it's so frustrating to have to pick up bugs and mint all day! I definitely agree with you about the cut-scene with Neil, but it seems that even when I'm not in the village when he sets up shop, whenever I enter it and he is there it forces me to view it. I wish there were away to turn that thing off!

    Are you eventually able to purchase more fields? I sure hope so. I actually love doing my daily "chores," and I find them a lot more fun that going through the river, mountain, forest, river, mountain, forest over and over again.

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    1. Great! I am so glad it helped you. Yes, the game is extremely fun, but that first season can be a bit of a let down, but trust me, it gets really good (hints the high score LOL).

      And yes, you will eventually get more land.....a lot more land. I don't want to ruin any thing for you, so I will leave it at that. The town starts off pretty small but by the end, it is actually pretty big and after you unlock the travel agency, you can actually travel to different places.

      Anyway, if you ever have more questions, feel free to ask! We are here to help ^_^

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  3. Wow nice review I have to say well done and well said....I played all the harvest moons and yeah the first season slow but I love this game more than anyother harvest moons I do love the fact that this game don't end but I am still learning more and more as I go on.....I just hope where it don't end will the game keep you interested or like the other Harvest moons will you get sick of playing because once you are rich and get all blueprints and make them then what?will there be new stuff to do and new blueprint as we do go on? I hope to hear something back on that if you could. But like I said I really am loving this game alot and I hope there will be more of us out there....So keep playing and hope you enjoy this game as much as I do good luck and have fun my friends

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    1. That's a good question. Unfortunately I can't answer it because I am not completely done with the game myself. I have yet to complete all of the blueprints and what no. However, I have to assume, that you will eventually get to a point in the game where there is nothing left to do. You know what they say, all good things must come to an end.

      However, if your looking for more Harvest Moon goodness, I suggest checking out Harvest Moon GBC when it gets released on the 3DS eShop this week. Is it as good as this Harvest Moon? No, but it used to be my favorite hand-held Harvest Moon game so it might be worth a look.

      Good luck and keep enjoying Harvest Moon a New Beginning. It's the best Harvest Moon they have made in a long, long time.

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