Join Liv of Podcasters United and Between 2 Gamers as she shares her memorable experience with Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life!
Game: Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life
Release Date: June 27, 2023
Time to Complete:18 to 20 hours
My Playtime: 41 hours and counting
Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is the faithful remake of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life which was released back in 2004. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life was a staple of my childhood. If I recall correctly, it was the first video game that I beat as a child and instantly replayed! When the remake was announced during a Nintendo Direct last summer, I was ecstatic! If you are unfamiliar with this title, it is a linear open world video game where the player inherits a farm and brings it back to life. The game takes place in Forgotten Valley which is filled with a handful of memorable characters that each have a story of their own. The setting as well as the villagers truly create a wholesome community atmosphere which sets the tone for the cozy gaming experience for the player.
What sets Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life apart from other farming video games is the linear storytelling. The main focus of the game is for the player to marry another character and raise a child together. You cannot progress in the game without marrying and starting a family. If you try to ignore the romance aspect of the game, at the end of Year 1 you will receive a list of all of the marriage candidates ranked based on your friendship level with him/her and you will be forced to choose a person to marry. This is because at the end of each year, there will be a time skip with several cutscenes based on the player’s marriage partner and child. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is a farming and ranching video game, but the central focus is to raise a family. It’s also important to get to know other characters in Forgotten Valley because certain characters will give you new items and unlock new cutscenes for higher level friendships. If you’re not interested in storytelling and simply want to play a farming video game, then this is probably not the game for you; but it sure is a game for me!
As this is a remake, there are some positive differences from its predecessor! There is a bulletin board in town where the player can accept quests in exchange for rewards from different townspeople. This was not a part of the original game and it adds tasks for the player to do. Another improvement is the market stall that the player can set up in town is much better than the previous iteration of the game! Originally, anything in your inventory was available to be sold, which was an annoyance when townspeople constantly asked for items you were not willing to sell. Now, there is a designated bin to select which items were available for purchase. This cuts out the unnecessary dialogue that could occur multiple times as some customers may be persistent! Another addition that I absolutely love is the camera! Your character can take pictures to be saved in an album. It’s a simple camera with the option to use it as a tripod with a timer to include yourself in the photo as well. My favorite change in the game is the ability to romance characters no matter what gender the player chooses to play as. In Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, there was a separate game you would need to buy to play as either a man or woman which would lock you into which characters you were able to romance. I really enjoyed these changes as they truly enhanced the game!
There are other changes in the remake that I don’t quite understand the reason for. A handful of townspeople have different names. They are generic names for the most part, so it’s not like there is a copyright issue. This is not a huge deal, but it was a change that I noticed right away! A more disappointing change in the remake is The Blue Bar is now a cafe instead. At The Blue Bar, if your character tried to get drunk by purchasing multiple drinks then the bartender would cut you off. As a child, I thought this was hilarious! Now, it is called the Bluebird Cafe which sells non-alcoholic drinks and some food options. Again, these changes are not overly upsetting, but some people who have played the original game may miss these things!
I will admit that I have not played any of the other Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons games, so I can’t comment on how this game compares. However, if you’re looking to revisit nostalgia in Forgotten Valley, then I recommend that you check out Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life! It is just as wholesome as I remember and there are new events for the player to experience as well. If you’re looking to move into Forgotten Valley, I hope you find a warm welcome to one of my favorite games from my childhood!
Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
About the Author:
Liv is the co-host of the Between 2 Gamers podcast with her friend Frewy. When she's not gaming, she's watching sports!
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