For the most part, I’m not going to bring up things regarding translations or the different companies or anything. I will just say that I’m sad that when we finally got region-locked multiplayer and a bigger character limit, that it seems that has gone away and we’re back to being limited to just 6 again and same region multiplayer and it eems unlikely that will ever end up changing. Also that we could only start with the default hairstyle and can’t even remove our hat until the first house upgrade a month in.
Going into the game itself, I will say its a huge improvement over the first Story of Seasons/the last Harvest Moon/Bokujō Monogatari which… honestly, isn’t saying much. It’s very rare I end up just not wanting to play something anymore and I don’t think I even made it through the first year, or even to going out with anyone.
Unfortunately, while the game does not have as much of a hoard everything need, it still has a fairly slow start and does a heavy push towards forced waiting. Personally, I’ve always liked this series as a more relaxing kind of game and I feel like its slowly tried to just… not really be that anymore. In Harvest Moon 64, my save file, which I still played for years and years, has 20+ years on it. The gameplay doesn’t change. There’s no new thing, but I just enjoy it and talking to everyone.
When Animals started having lifespans again in all the main series, it caused me to not really play as much anymore and also feel rushed. I didn’t want new animals to replace them and so I would only play for about 3-4 years to make sure I didn’t lose any of them. With that kind of forced time limit I have set for myself, it makes a lot of the forced waiting even more frustrating than normal and it can be really disappointing.
I had been hoping to write this after I had gotten the house I wanted and married in the game, but well, here’s those force waitings I’m stuck with. One of the requirements to even see the last heart event had me to actually know every single Villager and while I mostly knew a lot of people, I wasn’t sure if I actually knew everyone. On top of that, to get to S rank I needed to have 5 hearts with every single villager. While I do try to befriend some villagers, it is rare I befriend everyone. In general, you don’t try to be best friends with every single person in your town/on your block/in your apartment, you know? It’s a weird thing and yet, it’s something the game expects you to do. And because of this, I also knew I’d probably have to be friends with everyone else in the game as well. So, here I am going around and giving gifts to every single person to get my friendship up.
Ignoring just how tiring this is, the most frustrating part was something I ended up finding out: You can only activate one cutscene a day (Starting cutscenes at least seem to be exempt from this at least–like ones taking you to a Town Link Event or telling you about a contest or etc.). This has made getting the Heart Events quite frustrating. I’ve had to start riding my horse places in hopes I wouldn’t activate anything. I did finally get to see the Pink Heart Event though which means I’m now just hoping for the Reverse Proposal. I wish we could see the AP that we had so I’d know if I’m close or not :/ Though, honestly, I wish it was possible to trigger it without extra things needing to be done. I do find the requirements in this game much more laidback though.
However, I have one issue with the proposals and that’s the different items. The Blue Feather is only for Lulukoko Residents and I just find it… really disheartening to see it not be the same for every town and having to use different items.
Going into other mechanics, one of the things I’ve found really frustrating is having to focus a lot on crops this game. I generally will maybe grow one or two things while focusing on animals, but due to all the various Town Lin Requirements, that just isn’t as feasible. In fact, right now I have to harvest 50 Flowers and 50 Tree Crops for Lulukoko to get them to A Rank. I am in Fall and can’t even harvest any until Summer. I am beyond frustrated about it. And that’s really what I mean by forced waiting. While I enjoy the plots and stories, I don’t really enjoy feeling punished for wanting to go a more Dairy Farm route or not being in the right season at the right time. Or seeing it choosing to count some things I’ve done, but not others. Or feeling like I’ve finished with something and then have to do it all over again.
As mentioned, I really enjoy focusing on animals and, with the latest games, decorating my farm and both have been extremely hard to do with this game due to several reasons:
1. The way the farm layouts work in this game. Everything is graphed out and, to be blunt, it really kills a lot of the creativity. There are many neat items in this game, but it’s near impossible to work with. I could maybe throw something together, but it’d never be anything I’d be particularly proud of which makes it really disappointing.
2. Each Large barn only holds 4. Small barns only hold 1. This is the same for Coops. And it sucks. I like to have one of each animal in each color it’s available in and thus, I have 3 Large Barns and 1 Small Barn along with 1 Large Coop. I have no idea why Bunnies go in barns instead of coops, but it’s very annoying and slow and I hate having my barns all over the place. I want to say these are also the smallest “large” barns thus far and as we get more types of animals, it seems disheartening that they are being made smaller.
3. Lack of time. Between the barns being split and just how slow feeding is in this game (You can stock up to 7 per feeder, but because you need to interact with the storage and pick what you want to pull out and then go to each feeder as well and it’s just… a lot of selecting and I don’t know why it feels so slow in this game), I usually finish with my farm chores by the afternoon. Trying to get into each of the towns as well for shopping and gifts before they close is a nightmare and it’s just… not fun. If there was one thing I wish this series could take from Stardew Valley, it’d be the Autofeeders. Those were a blessing.
I really felt A New Beginning was the height of the handheld games and just a few tweaks (and just getting rid of the town placement system, honestly) would’ve made future games perfect and it just feels like they completely discarded a lot of the customization it brought. Literally the only thing I disliked about the customization system for ANB was the stupid point system which made it so even though I had space, it wouldn’t let me place more things and many of the points to items made zero sense.
I miss being able to customize my interiors entirely myself. I’m glad this game does give the options of different interiors and exteriors, but it still kind of sucks when there isn’t a particularly one I like or I like one room in one and a different room in others.
There’s also lots of pets in this game, but you can only have 4 Pet houses per farm area and as previously mentioned, everything feels so slow that I haven’t really had the heart to try and have the 12 pets I wanted and have just stuck to my one:
I just… guess I wish the game was more simple? I preferred it when it just felt a lot more relaxing and sure there was the whole “make a great farm before *insertthinghere* or solving silly puzzles or whatever, but it just was still more enjoyable to me. I miss when upgrading your house and building things was limited to just stone and lumber. I miss the photo album of Harvest Moon 64. I miss not having to worry about my animals passing away.
But at the same time, it almost feels like too much. Too many people/villages, too many things needed to be done (town rank locks suck and they would be so much better if they were just limited to the villager request jobs versus the ship/harvest stuff… And your dad in this game is a jerkface and his tasks also suck, though, only the third set has been really frustrating to me), and I just wish it was more laidback in a way I guess. It’s just not a fun feeling when you see the end of a tunnel and then find out that you have to go back to the start to get something to continue along your way.
I wish I was still having fun with it. I’m playing to finish, but it’s just not very fun anymore.
Regardless, I’m still taking lots of screenshots and will have at least one or two more videos:
I think I’ll at least get married, but I may stop before I finished all the goals I had hoped to do (getting the house exterior and interior I wanted plus a child),
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