Harvest Moon has been around for almost 2 decades with over 20 farms for you to manage, complete with crops to grow and cows to milk. With the awesome critical acclaim that the recently released Story of Seasons is getting, I list some of the great improvements that were introduced. Harvest Moon gameplay has come quite far since the days of simply watering crops and caring for chickens to get by!
Watering and harvesting
Gone are the days of watering each piece of a three-by-three plot separately. In Story of Seasons you water all nine sections at once and when you harvest your goods, you will pick up all nine pieces simultaneously.
In Harvest Moon games, the number of items that you can make is limited to a few varieties such as meals, yarn and seeds. Story of Seasons took this to another level by introducing new makers such as a Pottery Studio, Spice Factory and Winery. Now you won't be watching villagers move in to your town that have these skills and wishing that you could make the items they are selling. You can craft them, refine them and sell them yourself.
You will unlock a new area called the Safari after playing the game for a while. Here, you can search logs for items such as tufts of fur, mine for precious gems and useful metals, fish, dive, forage and collect insects that are unique to the area. You can also bring your animals along to reduce their stress! We all know how stressful it is being brushed and fed all day.
The introduction of the Angora rabbit as a farm animal switches up your typical farming duties a little. These pink fluffy bunnies will hop around your farm and get along with the chickens just fine. Every few days they'll leave you a ball of rabbit fur that you can spin into yarn, dye, turn into cloth and use the cloth to create your own bunny fur outfit. They tend to get stressed easier than the other animals, but it's so worth it!
When you approach a pier in Story of Seasons you'll have two options. The first is to go fishing, and the second is to dive. Your cute characters will jump into the stream and dig around for gems, ore and fish. There is still the chance of picking up a tin can or a boot which leads me to the question: why do the villagers still insist on disposing of their junk in the river?
Your farm land in Story of Seasons is actually smaller than a typical Harvest Moon game. The reason for this is that you can actually rent out fields in the village. Each field has its specialty such as growing root vegetables, mushrooms, flowers or keeping bees. To rent a field when the previous lease is up, you must win a competition against the current renter and other competing villagers who also want to rent the field. This competition will have you collecting a wide variety of items, trading items that have a high shipping value or winning an annual contest. You may ruffle a few feathers but it'll be worth it when you finally harvest your five-star flax!
In Harvest Moon you typically have a General Store that allows you to sell your goods to make money, and then a couple more stores that focus on specific wares. In Story of Seasons there is the concept of traders. As you sell more goods, more traders will be interested in setting up shop in your village. Each trader has a specialty such as animals, country living, farming or imported goods. They'll ship your goods and sell you items, blueprints, recipes, patterns and animals. The traders vary the days that they show up, and each one also varies how much they are willing to pay you to ship an item. On top of this, each trader can request specific items for you to ship and in return they'll give you special items. Now I can start growing a lemon tree before anyone else in the village!
This newly titled installment of the popular farming simulator clearly had much imagination put into it, and it's incredibly fun to play. What will come of Story of Seasons in the future? I hope more of the same!