Jan 8, 2013I find this installment to be a nice step forward. Almost all of the HM games on DS have failed to hold my interest for one reason or another, but A New Beginning kept me interested from the start, even if the first month is just as everyone says: slow. But being able to re-create the town as you want with the edit feature, as well as your farm that expands three areas by the end, is a great addition, and the character models are very refreshing. I didn't enjoy the almost kid-like appearance and sound of previous HM DS games. If you enjoy HM, you owe it to yourself to give this game a shot. If you don't usually like HM games, this one might change your feelings on them.… Expand
Nov 21, 2012Best handheld Harvest Moon since Friends of Mineral Town.
This Harvest Moon is fantastic, they fixed almost every aspect that sucked in Tale of Two Towns. Freshness levels are gone, you can have multiple greenhouses, there's tons of livestock, an area that auto-waters after beating part of the game. Every feature has been streamlined and made less annoying, except for cutscenes. For example, no more clicking two buttons to put a item away, all items are automatically put into the rucksack. Tons of great characters, many of which are completely new. Framerate has been improved dramatically, and if you played Tale of Two Towns on 3DS, then you'll know the pain of bad Harvest Moon framerates.
Pacing is good after the first month, many people will complain about the slow pacing, maybe they didn't make it past the first month. To a Harvest Moon veteran, one month will feel like nothing. This game becomes extremely fun as soon as you finish the tutorial.
Crops can be watered twice a day, 10 hours between, this can be mildly annoying until you unlock the auto-water land area. They are about the same as Tale of Two Towns in mechanics, besides the removed freshness rating, crops will last forever in this game! You get your seedmaker pretty early compared to most Harvest Moon games, I got mine within the first year which makes fertilizing crops worth it. Crop festivals are held once a month one the 30th and have three levels of entry, beginning, intermediate and advance - making it possible to participate every single month if you please.
Livestock are a little more simple than Tale of Two Towns, making them less annoying. Petting game has been removed. They have continued the treat system, you get eight different species of livestock and two types of chickens. Your barn and coop can both hold 10 livestock each.
Pets have been made more useful early one, they will herd (at least) five animals from your barn or coop with zero hearts (you must assign work to them in game). Pets will continually unlock much like Tale of Two Towns, but now you can sell pets if you please, meaning you aren't stuck with certain styles of pets.
You get three different areas as the game progresses, one implied to be a crop area (auto-water area), and one for animals (flat area) and one for your house and other buildings (first area you get). The auto water area allows you to have 11 4x2 crop spaces that will be watered by moving a boulder everyday. Beehives and mushroom logs are in this game, along with the "paddy" crop. Each building, field and other objects can be moved and customized to wherever you please.
Your town has two plots of land, one of which is unlocked early in the game and three wilderness areas. You will decide where villager houses go, along with deciding what town decorations will be. Along with town building, you will also be able to unlock certain forest areas, gifts and blueprints with "Musical Stumps", which will be introduced to you early on during Spring of Year 1. Almost all villagers are completely new, except for Amir (I think he's in Grand Bazaar) and the Witch Princess. There are many benefits to befriending villagers and wild animals, including free blueprints, gifts and even a certain villager moving in if you befriend his wife, Hana.
The bachelors and bachelorettes are equally wonderful and interesting in this game, you are allowed to save slots meaning you can make a boy and girl character if you wish. This game also allows cross dressing (although your character will not change sex), the first time appearing in the Harvest Moon US series along with customization. They've added a feature where you can "date" your love interest before proposing to them with a Blue Feather, which is nice because you can also break up with your love interest if you want.
Each festival you win or participate in will give about 1000 friendship points with every villager, making festivals very much worth participating in. They are pretty easy to win (especially beginner class), meaning you'll enjoy participating in almost every festival (except the Gardening Festival).
The repeated cutscenes. Which happen FOUR times a day if you have pets and Neil/Rod unlocked. There are two unskippable cutscenes that occur and the only way to avoid them is to hide inside a building or run off the map they occur on when they are suppose to happen. It's not a big deal but it does cause your schedule to adjust around it (unless you don't care about the cutscenes.
You will most likely be able to beat the game before the end of Year 2, making the game not too dramatically long, but good for most Harvest Moon players. One year will zoom by pretty fast as soon as the tutorial ends for you because the gameplay is so much fun compared to most handheld Harvest Moons.… Expand
Jan 11, 2013This is probably the best Harvest Moon I have played in a very long time. It brings back the memories I had of the original, which I missed in every subsequent release in the series. While the tutorials are a little in your face, cut scenes become a nuisance (I will seriously stand around waiting until ten minutes after 10am and 6pm on Neil's shop days before heading into the town area) and let's not really quibble over the waste of the touch screen, this installment is indeed a new beginning for the series. I had almost given up on reigniting the spark I felt for this series after Island of Happiness. The edit feature is a godsend for the series. The fact that I don't have to throw my crops into the collection bin, amazing. The art style is gorgeous and the 3D makes it pop. Honestly with most 3DS games, I end up playing with the feature turned off. Here, as with Ocarina, you really miss out on the quality of the graphics without it turned on. The depth of the gameplay, is terrific. You could spend your entire time just playing with the crops but there's so much more to do. As much as I want to punch that cowboy hobo mayor in the face every time he barges into my house, I really feel invested in his mission of revitalizing the town. There's more appeal for growing and expanding the town than I felt in Island of Happiness. Hunting down new blueprints, recipes, and music sheets is a terrific diversion. Sometimes though, the rewards from the Sprites for expanding the town are a bit underwhelming. The additional fact that they have to be unlocked in sequential order -- for instance I built the clinic before the cottage but I didn't get the clinic's music sheet unlocked until after I unlocked the sheet from the cottage -- is a tad annoying but not so much that it detracts from the game. Despite the slow start of the first month, you're constantly compelled to be doing something: foraging, fishing, flirting, building. This game is great.… Expand
Jul 5, 2013Boy, is this game addicting. I only recently got into the Harvest Moon series; this is my first game. And I can say that this is a series that I'm going to love. Since this is a simulator, the plot is non-existent. The premise is that Echo Town is failing and you have to bring it back on top. While I do think they could've worked with this plot a bit more, it seems pretty okay. But it means nothing with the gameplay. I didn't think a farming game could be so addicting. I'm always constantly working on my farm and town, and progressing and getting the town and farm bigger. I love the feeling of getting progressively stronger, and this game shines in that. Heck, this is the first game where I had to take notes just so I knew what I had to do. Other small concepts in the game I like a lot. marriage, for example, I find really cool to add. it's these little things in the game that add to the already huge replay ability. The graphics are pretty good. The 3D on the game is ok at best, but I usually prefer not putting 3D on at all. Something I found a bit irritating was the music. the music isn't the best, and it gets repetitive that it plays on loop. Something I was surprised about was caring for the characters in the game. I always felt like I should talk to them and give them gifts, because I wanted some friends in the game. I didn't think I should be alone in this game, and I think that's a huge pointer of the game. Overall, I chose right with getting into the Harvest Moon series and getting this game. the plot may be barely existent, and the music can be annoying, but the addictive gameplay, little things added to the game, and good character development make this a worthwhile title.… Expand
Jul 19, 2013As a long-time fan of the Harvest Moon Series (ever since I was gifted a copy of Harvest Moon N64 way back when, one of the (relatively) few copies shipped to the North American market) this game has been my favorite Harvest Moon since the N64 version and my favorite hand-held since Friends of Mineral Town.
It has EVERYTHING I could ask for from a Harvest Moon game and then some. The start had me cringing, but if you stick with it past the first month the game goes absolutely bonkers in a snowball effect of things you can do. I absolutely LOVE the competition/festival system (you can win due to categories! IF you work very very hard). I also truly enjoy the fact that there are achievement awards for practically every major (and some quite wacky) action you take.
Let me put it this way. The first two hours into the game I wanted to take a hammer to the cartridge and call the entire series quits. After the customization stuff actually came into play my mind was blown and this game has become one of my favorites on the DS and on any handheld system ever created. The game just gets better and better the more you play it. It is truly impressive. There is also an enormous sense of accomplishment every time you do anything significant.
For anyone new to the Harvest Moon series, I'd say pick up this game and run with it. Don't surrender after the first couple of weeks because the pay-off is huge.
For returning fans, this is the crystallization of 15 years worth of input and it finally gives a return as a true "New Beginning" for the series. Definitely pick up a copy for your collection, it is much much much better than Tale of Two towns.… Expand