|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Natsume||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Natsume||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 20, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Although the game's main objective is to save Leaf Valley, there is some post-game content, which includes the dating sim portion of the game. More personal action sequences will become available once the valley has been saved, and you can eventually marry one of the ladies who live in the village, or the Harvest Goddess. Although this portion of the game is completely extraneous to the main goal, it's a fun addition, and it adds some replay value for those who like to experience all the dating sim possibilities.
Visually, Leaf Valley is a lush, green environment that features a rich and vivid color palette. However, the world does feel a little constrictive at times, and compared to some other recent Harvest Moon releases (like Tree of Tranquility), the world of Leaf Valley can feel a little tight. There is also an above average amount of loading screens in the game, but fortunately these screens only last 1-2 seconds. Music in the game is pleasant to listen to, but if you are playing for a long stretch of time, it can become repetitive quickly.
Harvest Moon has been around for more than a decade, and even the biggest fan of the series can tell you that its most recent iterations have been little more than lackluster. However, even though some titles have shown Harvest Moon's Age, Hero of Leaf Valley shows the game when it's at its best. Sure, the formula is essentially the same, but there isn't much room in the series for bombastic innovation.
The subtle changes made in Hero of Leaf Valley make it a standout title; one that fans of the Harvest moon series should definitely check out, even if they have missed some of the past few iterations.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor