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E3 2014: Hands-On With Story of Seasons


Marcus Estrada

So, in case you missed it, there were some very strange things happening in Harvest Moon land lately. XSEED Games gained the rights to publish the next known Harvest Moon game but under a new name - Story of Seasons. Natsume“s Japanese team got to work creating a brand new game and will brand it as Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley. Our impressions were decidedly perplexed on that game, but Story of Seasons is the old Harvest Moon gameplay fans know and love.

 

In the E3 demo players are guided through a brief tutorial of the game“s functions. First, players are told to harvest some crops. After doing this, or giving up, they can move on to the next task. You quickly learn how to brush animals, although only animals with fur can be brushed. That means chickens are out of the equation. After a little bit of farm prep, you get to check out character customization.

 

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Now, the demo only let players choose the boy, but both a boy and girl lead character will be available, as is expected in modern Harvest Moon games. In any case, every bit of clothing was unlocked which led to lots of fashionable (or not) choices. You could customize everything from the farmer“s hair to glasses, clothes, and the like. Even though farming and mingling with NPCs is the main appeal of the series there is always fun to be had getting dressed up.

 

Unfortunately, there was very little else to the demo. After all, how much do you really need to play to realize this is another great 3DS farming sim? The name might be different but Story of Seasons is the next “real” title in the long line of Harvest Moon. However, after playing The Lost Valley, I did recognize some issues inherent in the existing franchise.

 

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For one, you still have to finagle a lot with inventory. For example, at one point I sheared an alpaca. To do this I first had to equip the clippers from a menu. Once equipped, my character lined up with the alpaca and got cutting. Then I had to unequip the clippers to pick up the fur. If I wanted to go and milk a cow or shear another animal then the correct item would need to be equipped again. It“s weird how Natsume were able to suddenly target and address this issue with their new game but Harvest Moon proper continues down this path.

 

Story of Seasons is coming to 3DS later this year.

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