harvest moon: a new beginning – post #1: early days

Hi everyone!

So after my last entry, I realised how skimpy my post about Cookie Clicker was and have been planning to make a slightly more detailed entry about the game and its content. However, I got side-tracked because my copy of Harvest Moon: A New Beginning has finally arrived! And, I’ve been playing that whenever I get the time (which honestly, hasn’t been very much). While I fully intend to make more detailed entries about the games I have mentioned, I’d like to make a little entry about my thoughts on the game while playing it these few days.

The mechanics seemed slightly different from the ones I played thoroughly. Friends of Mineral Town focused mainly on having a good farm and getting married. DS Cute from what I remembered involved removing the curse from the Harvest Goddess/Harvest Sprites. I never played that one long enough to have a good memory of it. All I do remember is playing in the casino for most of the time. Anyway, thereafter, I played Frantic Farming, which wasn’t quite the regular Harvest Moon game. I do have The Grand Bazaar and Sunshine Island queued on my list of games to play but, I vaguely remember starting most of them and finding something not quite to my liking and stopping there. However, the next one that I did play a fair amount of was Tale of Two Towns and the story revolved around the two towns and trying to make peace between the two.

While I don’t remember the exact premise of Grand Bazaar and Sunshine Island, I feel that the rest had you being introduced into an already established town. However, with A New Beginning, your character moves into a town that is losing many of its residents to other towns as they search for better opportunities. While maintaining your farm, you have to restore the town to its glory days. This leaves you with many unlockable options and customisable features.

I started playing it and unlike most Harvest Moon games where after the first day, you’re in the deep end and have to slowly manoeuvre through the game, this one features a few days of little tutorials. In fact, the shipping tutorial doesn’t come until the third day or so (I forget). It was easy to figure out since I had experience playing Harvest Moon games and it is mentioned on the first day. However, it is only a few days later that there is a short tutorial, if you can even call it that, is shown on how to make use of the shipping bin.

Furthermore, for the first few days, I found myself ending the day really early. Because Echo Town is losing many of its residents, I find myself in a town with only three other residents and only one store. As such, there isn’t much socialising or things to do after you are done with the errands. While I made the mistake of just going to sleep, I’ve now realised (sometime around the 10th day of Spring) that I could have better dedicated that time to critter-catching in the night time.

While on that note, critter-catching no longer requires the coordination of two buttons for butterflies and other flying insects. Just running up to them and hitting A seems to do the trick. While older Harvest Moon games usually involved multiple buttons to run, the circle pad on the 3DS makes it a lot easier. I find that my hand doesn’t cramp as much while playing, which is definitely a good thing.

I like how foraging seems a lot easier in this version. While Tale of Two Towns had just one long stretch, I found it tedious to search every area for items as each area had different spots to forage. The areas to cover in this version seem a lot smaller and less spread out. Furthermore, it follows an almost direct path. Maybe I’m just boring and/or lazy but, I find this a lot easier to navigate and play.

I also enjoy the fact that gone are the 1 seed days from Tale of Two Towns. I found that really tiring. While the days of having 9 seeds seems to be behind us, the current 2×2 fields seem efficient. You can access every crop to water and harvest, unlike the 3×3 fields which would usually leave one crop without water or with an inaccessible mature cops. It’s also a lot more efficient, in my opinion, than the seed bags containing a token seed as in Tale of Two towns. That left me feeling so frustrated that for each individual crop, I had to buy just one seed. I just did not like having to go to Gome’s to buy many, many bags of seeds to fully utilise the fields I had tilled on the farm in Konohana or even, in Bluebell.

But, having said all that, I don’t quite fancy the cooking function in this version of Harvest Moon. The only way to cook is with a recipe. You can obtain these recipes through various ways like while fishing, purchasing them at the General Store or being gifted them. However, without the recipes, you are not able to cook. While this seems fine, since I admittedly used to refer to recipes online before cooking anything on previous Harvest Moons, I don’t really appreciate the limit set in cooking in this version of Harvest Moon.

All in all, I still have a long way to go in this version of Harvest Moon but am enjoying it, despite it feeling slow at the beginning. The graphics do throw me off slightly and I constantly think about the older versions of Harvest Moon. It leaves me with the urge to replay the older games and I’m definitely putting it on my list of games to play, especially More Friends of Mineral Town. But, before I get to those games, I want to play this as much as I can and I’m excited to see how much I can develop and will be updating with regards to that.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to share very many screenshots of Harvest Moon: A New Beginning, I’m not quite sure how to take screenshots on my 3DS. I intend to just use my camera but have not gotten around to photographing my playing the game. Hopefully, this works out all right and I can use this method on other games I play on the 3DS (like POKEMON).

Until next time,
Yen

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