I got my copy of the game early - not sure why but I'm not exactly complaining. I was a bit put off by the release date being pushed back not once but twice - but the early shipping cheered me up a little.
I've played pretty much all the HM games since the n64, and as sad as that is, I figured I would put this here for other fans of the series that were looking into this game.
-Graphics are A+ for a DS game, seriously.
-Love the art style.
-You start out with a barn built and you don't have to clear your field. One of my biggest gripes about some of the other games was that they'd kinda throw you into it with 3 bags of turnips and you had to scrimp and save until you got a barn. Then scrimp and save until you got a chicken, etc.
-You also start out with storage/cold storage to put your things in, but this also leads to a slight con.
-YOU START WITH A KITCHEN. WHile you have to buy some of the stuff to go in it, no more waiting until 239490234 house upgrades to get a kitchen.
-JUMPING. Seriously, so convenient. Oh hey a stream, LOL I CAN JUMP OVER IT! Also there are shortcuts around town, like jumping on a barrel near the cliff near your farmstead bounces you up and gives you faster access to the town, etc.
-They finally got rid of mining. I realize some would find this a con but I hated mining so, so much. Oh how I hated it. And I hated having to waste an entire day trying to MAYBE find ONE gold ore so I could upgrade my equipment.
-Your stamina depletes more slowly, and your house starts with a bathroom so you can replenish it a little. Also the house has a fireplace. SWANK!
-Erm, the only tools you start with are a hoe and watering can. Granted, without mining and such it's not as essential to have the hammer, etc. but...still.
-Unfortunately, crop quality is back and that means everything you pick up isn't going to stack unless it has the star rating. THey at least give you 2 bag menu screens at first for this but lol, one day's foraging will literally fill both screens up because one toy flower will have 1 star, another will have 1 and a half star so they don't stack, etc.
-You can sell stuff during the week but it won't sell nearly as well as the stuff in the bazaar. The bazaar is only once a week. This means that all your money is totally incremental. I managed to make enough to buy a chick (3500 gold btw) at the first week's bazaar, but I can see this is going to be tedious. Also - you're selling stuff in your stall at the same time the townspeople are selling ESSENTIAL items you need. (Animals, upgrades, etc.)so if you want it you have to shut down your stall and go get it, losing money in the process. :\ I realize the bazaar is the whole point of the game, but it would be so much nicer if it was twice a week. On some weeks a festival pushes it from Sat to Sun. And if you're out of money, no seeds for you until you can sell stuff for a decent price. The dude in the store that you can sell to every day will straight rip you off for stuff. I guess to make the bazaar seem more enticing but jeez. I guess that's where the difficulty of the game comes from.
-Not exactly a stellar cast of characters. All the bachelors are pretty "meh" and the artist guy REALLY reminds me of David from Roseanne, therefore I can't even look at him without cringing in pity.
-You can only save when you sleep. I hate, HATE this archaic type of game design. Monster Rancher DS fell to this flaw as well. So great, my dog sits on the power button and an entire day's work is lost. WOO!
-I feel bad saying this, but there is very, very little to do. Play with your farm animals, run around and water your crops, say hi to townsfolk, give your bachelor/bachelorette a present, aaaaaaand you're done. And it's only 11am. So what do you do for the rest of the day? Catch bugs and fish I guess. Meh. THe problem is there's no underlying storyline besides, "Make the bazaar a success!" which in the early portions of the game is laughable. The dude sets your quota to like 15,000. Yeah, you're really gonna hit that with the 6 turnips you have to sell. Stock up for the next week and go with it. BUt otherwise there's no, "Save the harvest goddess." etc. type stuff to do. Cook, catch bugs, water crops, pet animals, talk to people aaaaaand you're done. Go to bed at 1pm.
In all I am not disappointed with this game. I think it is very pleasing and a great, dare I say, casual? harvest moon game. It's weird to call a game in a part of an already casual gaming series casual but...it's true. There's no stress. Sit back and enjoy selling your stuff and the festivals and whatall. Something to play after work or what-have-you. I'd say during a lunch break except lol you can't save without going to bed so it's not really, "OH MAN I EMERGENCY I NEED TO TURN THIS OFF!" friendly.
Good? No. Decent? Yes. Bad? No. If a more relaxing HM game is what you want, this is for you. My main hope is that they import some of the designs (jumping, etc.) for later games. Also if you blow into the mic the windmills turn faster...that's pretty snazzy.