Have you ever wondered why virtual farm life is way more appealing to people than actually going out into the fields to grow crops on your own as well as taking care of real life livestock? Maybe it’s the fact that on my 3DS I can grow turnips in 4-5 days instead of 2 months. Or perhaps it’s that even though I can see my animals in 3D, I can’t actually smell them. Whatever the case may be, Marvelous Games has done it once again! With titles like Rune Factory 4 and Harvest Moon: A New Beginning in their history, it seems like I’ll be putting in enough hours to warrant a farmer’s tan without actually getting one.
The story begins with your character writing a letter to Oak Tree Town in response to a flyer you saw about the need for a new farmer. Once you arrive, the guild master Veronica, who explains that there were many applications, but you were the lucky person to be selected, greets you. You learn that your farm is not yet ready, but in a week’s time it should be at least move-in-able. In the mean time, you stay with a lovely older woman named Eda who not only knows all about farm life, but also raises award-winning cattle. In that week, prepare for one wordy and lengthy tutorial. Veronica even tells you at one part in your training it will get extremely wordy, but to not skip over it.
After the week of learning the basics of farm life and how the Trade Depot works, you are finally introduced to one shabby little farm. Gunther, the local carpenter, explains to you about collecting crafting materials and sends you on a mission to gather items so that he can make your shack of a house a bit more home-like. Also by completing this quest, he promises to give you your very own barn, which enables Eda to give you the cattle that she taught you about livestock with. Once this is done, you’re all on your own to do as you please! You’ll meet the other characters in town in more depth and be able to do what you want with your own farm.
Just like in the previous games I mentioned, you do have the opportunity to find true love and get married in Story of Seasons. For the lady characters, your choices are Fritz (an optimistic ginger who wants nothing more than to give everyone a helping hand), Klaus (the town’s gentleman of a perfumer with a past he doesn’t talk about), Raeger (the supposed smooth-talking playboy of a cook), Mistel (a younger gentleman who runs the town’s antique shop), Nadi (Elise’s landscaper from a far off land), and Kamil (a florist who only came to Oak Tree Town because of the flowers). For the manly characters, your choices are Elise (a spoiled rich girl who has a farm, though she basically lets all of her hired help do the work), Iris (Mistel’s famous novelist of a sister), Lillie (the local kind-hearted weather girl), Angela (Veronica’s very matter-of-fact daughter who spends her time being a nurse), Agate (the local ranger who is rumored to never get upset), and Licorice (a very dedicated and very unorganized botanist). Each character comes with their likes and dislikes. You’ll have to give them gifts and talk to them to figure out how to get on their good side.
Over all, I found Story Of Seasons a perfectly charming addition to Marvelous Games’ library and my own collection. While I don’t know if I’ll be putting in as many hours as I have with Rune Factory 4, I do know that this is my perfect “I just want to get lost into and not frustrated with” game. There are even two different options to playing the game, one for more of a challenge and one to just relax and have fun. I also have always enjoyed how uncomplicated the character creator is in this game and others before it. I really can’t stand spending hours on wondering if I got a chin length right, only to find out that in game it looks completely different, and now I have to deal with someone that would rival the Crimson Chin. Even though the tutorial is lengthy, I do appreciate it. Most games now just toss you in and let you figure out things as you go. This game is trying to set you up with success right from the start so you have a smooth experience. The best thing is that if you don’t want to go to your bookshelf and find what you may have forgotten how to do there, you can always grab your instruction booklet inside the game case and reread whatever information you might need on the basics. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a nice sit back and relax game, or anyone who has played the Harvest Moon games before. This game will not let you down.