Harvest Moon: A New Beginning Review
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Marvelous AQL
Pub: Natsume
Release: November 6, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: N/A Comic Mischief, Use of Alcohol

Graphics-wise, A New Beginning concentrates on the ability to display a ton of objects on the screen at once, so while the game's style is nothing special and nothing special was done with the 3D graphical display, the detail is fairly impressive. The crops look nice as they mature through several stages of growth, an increasing number of bees buzz around the hives as they produce honey over time, and the player can cram an impressive number of objects onto the town and farm lots.

The two major areas in which A New Beginning doesn't shine are its music and its sloppy localization. There's only one major musical piece per season, which plays in every area the character visits. These pieces are a bit too peppy to listen to for extended periods of time, and most players will probably want to turn the sound down. The music could use to be both mellower and more diverse, with different tunes for the farm, town, and wilderness (as is usual for the series).

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning Screenshot

The game's English localization isn't bad, per se, as it does a good job conveying the personalities of the townspeople and generally gives the player accurate information. It's just sloppy. Players will frequently run into minor spelling errors or issues such as a character's name being spelled in different ways. Many of the letters found in the player's mailbox are written in straight-up garbled Engrish, causing me to wonder if placeholder text slipped through into the final product. Between the poor translation job done on Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny and the sloppiness in this game's English text, Natsume's editorial quality has been slipping lately. It's a shame, as it causes the work of the game's Japanese developers to look more amateur than it actually is.

Fortunately, the overall quality of the game more than outshines the mediocre music and localization issues. After the end of the spring tutorial, the pacing of the game's day feels just right. There's enough time to do plenty of things every day, but not so much time that the player feels bored. Travel time is swift, fixing an issue that a few recent Harvest Moon games have had in which the player spends too much time simply running from place to place. Most importantly, the multitude of available activities and the customization aspects of the game provide a fresh and enjoyable experience.

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Harvest Moon: A New Beginning feels like a true reboot for the Harvest Moon series, and a good one, at that. The game cleverly works its addictive building and customization aspects on top of the basic farming, fishing, and ranching framework that have defined the series for so long. The “numbers game” has been dialed back a fair bit, making the game more accessible for new players and placing the focus on a custom rural living experience instead of on keeping track of a million complex systems. Rebuilding Echo Town feels satisfying, and the many different activities available to the player keep the game fun and interesting over the long term. With just a bit of patience in getting through its tutorial month, players will find themselves settling into this Harvest Moon experience for a good, long time.

By
Becky Cunningham
Contributing Writer
Date: November 7, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
Though lacking a consistent style and neglecting to use the system's 3D well, the graphics are nicely detailed and support the game's focus on customization.
4.3
Control
Placing objects in edit mode can be a bit touchy, but otherwise this has some of the best controls in the series.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
SOUND SENTENCE
4.5
Play Value
A New Beginning nails daily pacing, providing a huge variety of things to do.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Customization is King! For the first time in series history, you can completely customize your character's appearance! Choose your character's gender, skin color, facial expression, hairstyle, and much, much more!
  • Don't like where your crops and barn are on your farm? Easy! Just pick them up and move them! Yes, it's really that easy to customize your farm in Harvest Moon: A New Beginning!
  • In addition to the ability to customize your character's and farm's appearance, you can also create tons of new additions for your farm, house, and Echo Village! Build park benches and topiary for the local citizens, a pet house for your farm, and exotic wallpaper and furniture for your house!
  • Echo Village has seen better days... Almost everyone has moved away to greener pastures, it seems. It's your job to bring everybody back by making the town appealing again, and giving Echo Village a new beginning!


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