"Unfortunately you can't go and tip cows under cover of darkness (I'll have to stick to real farms for those perks) but you can do just about every other imaginable thing that you might be required to do if you were a farmer. "
What a brilliant little game this is. Is this even a game? I don't know, it's bizarre, it's original and it's absolutely fantastic! Unfortunately you can't go and tip cows under cover of darkness (I'll have to stick to real farms for those perks) but you can do just about every other imaginable thing that you might be required to do if you were a farmer.
What am I babbling on about, eh? Well in Harvest Moon 2, the mayor of the town wants to close the derelict old farm to open a theme-park (He mentions something about attracting tourists). But before a deal is made, in runs your character (male or female, you choose the name) and demands he be given three years to fix up the farm and make it profitable. The mayor accepts. So you must run around your little farm, and make a profit. Sounds crazy does it? Yes it does, but you have to credit Natsume for coming up with such an original idea.
There's not just a farm to look after, there's a mountain to hike (with bugs to collect), a lake to fish in and a town to explore. Your main area of play is your farm though, it's where you save, sleep, and make all of your money. At the beginning you get to choose between a cat and a dog, whether this is a cosmetic choice or not I don't completely know, but my cat never does anything but get in the way. Before you buy some seeds from the town and plant them for watering every day, you must clear your farm. The fields of your farm are littered with weeds, stumps, small rocks and boulders, and some take 6 hits of an axe/hammer to destroy. Also there's a limit your farmer can do before he needs feeding and/or bed. To make sure you can get plenty of work done, one thing you're going to have to do is buy food and drink from the town regularly.
Eventually, if you are still working you will be forced into bed at midnight (You rise every morning at 6am). Once everything is clear, you can plant some seeds, water them every day and put them in the shipping bin. The money you make from plants can be used to buy chickens or cows. Get money from their milk and eggs and you can have a sheep pen built and keep sheep for wool. Or you have a hothouse built and sell herbs, you could even have an extension built onto your farmhouse!
I won't spoil all the little quirks that come with a tingle of excitement each time they are discovered, but I will say you have to work damn hard for them. You'll have to grow a lot of grass for fodder before the town store will even consider selling you animals, and it takes days of asparagus growing to raise enough money for everything. If you can get the hang of it, you can also go fishing or catch some bugs in your butterfly net. Both are odd, yet strangely fun ways to pass the minutes that go for days in this game.
At first this game seems like a waste of time. I mean hitting a load of rocks lots of times, and having to take a break in between by swimming? It doesn't seem like anyone's idea of fun. But once you REALLY start, when you get your first bundle of cash from the buyer, when you talk to and brush your first cow (I kid you not) you get a real sense of joy. Partly because the game fits together well, and partly because this is a fantastically rewarding game. Mostly though, because these are things that you have NEVER done before. Sure, they may be things you never thought you would do, but things you now wonder how you ever did without.
Also there's a huge variety of options and things to do. Lots of stuff to buy, lots of public to mingle with and lots of festivals to attend. Once you get through the laborious first half hour the game will open up to you and you'll be eternally endeared. I'd smash rocks a hundred times for this game if I had to.
The graphics are pleasant. The people look as they might do in an RPG, the backgrounds have colour, it scrolls well. what can I say? They do the job. The sound however, is slightly less good, sound effects are o.k but there is one tune that goes throughout the WHOLE farm. Also it loops back to the beginning everytime you enter a new area. And what you do for most of the game is run from area to area, so you have one constantly restarting tune. It's easy to live with though.
Each day doesn't really last any longer than 12 or 13 minutes, but there's three year's worth of them, so one 'game' will take a very long time. And after finishing once, you may want to play again, to try new methods or just because you have more experience. As I mentioned before, there's simply stacks of events and other stuff you can do, so you'll be kept thoroughly busy throughout. And due to the addictive nature, and out-of-this-world premise, you should be kept entertained throughout as well.
Harvest Moon 2 isn't a game I've been able to sum up very well. It takes a while getting into, and it seems less than special at first, but I can assure you it's anything but. A magical game of the most mysterious variety. A game that raises the question 'Why didn't they think of handheld farming sooner?'. And a question that everybody should be asking.
Community review by maxh (Date unavailable)
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