Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life Review – An updated classic that hasn’t quite caught on

Remakes and remakes are more popular than ever in 2023. The most interesting thing is to see how these new versions handle the issue of complete rebuilds versus just modern visual enhancements. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is a remake of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life that straddles the line between these two philosophies quite evenly but still offers an outdated experience in many respects.

Released on modern consoles, Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life initially looked nothing more than an update on the surface. However, some important changes have made it more comprehensive for players. A Wonderful Life puts each player in the role of a young man who inherits a farm from their father in a small town called the Forgotten Valley. Before claiming your inheritance, you must give yourself a name and decide on your appearance.

The customizer is where the updated version outperforms its predecessor. Players can customize their avatar using pronouns, body and fashion options including gender. Also, none of the clothing or hair choices are sexist. You can combine any body type with any hairstyle or outfit you want. Once you’ve settled on your name, appearance, and pronouns, you’re ready to head to the Forgotten Valley. But note that you can’t change your pronoun after the selection screen, so be sure of your decision before you depart.

In what has become a staple of the farming simulation genre, your character packs up and moves from the big city to the farm to live a quieter life. When you arrive, an old friend of your father’s will take you on a tour of the farm and give you notes used to guide the game. These notes are extremely useful in the early game, providing guidance when questions arise without forcing the player through a limited sequence of instructions.

As you would expect, you grow and raise produce that you can sell for a profit. There are normally four seasons in A Wonderful Life, and each season lasts 10 in-game days. These days last 24 minutes in real life, which doesn’t sound like long but can start to stretch as you play longer. Ideally, your daily loop should include tending to crops and animals, visiting forest spirits to see if they have any new recipes for you, helping with digging at archaeological sites, fishing fish, forage, cook and chat with neighbors around the Forgotten Valley.

Getting to know the other inhabitants of your small town is important, as the game insists that you must marry one of the local singles by the end of your first year there. I appreciate that A Wonderful Life has removed the gender-locked nature of the original game’s romances, meaning that players can marry any eligible single in the Lost Valley. oblivion, opens the door to strange love affairs.

That said, these relationships are disappointingly shallow. Since your courtship lasted only a year, you didn’t have much time to build a bond with your future mate. There are ongoing relationships between some of the villagers when you arrive, these relationships will never really be resolved if you decide to marry one of them. This takes away the potentially interesting small-town drama element from the game and is also unsatisfying from a storytelling perspective.

In addition, the spouses in the game don’t have a lot of new or interesting things to talk about after you get married. After getting married to Cecelia, she mostly stayed in our house and repeated the same sayings about learning new things about housework. My little one has more dialogue that is more unique to me than he does beyond cutscenes.

Unfortunately, A Wonderful Life’s mechanics feel similarly shallow in your daily loop. While pronouns, customizations, romance, and visuals have been updated, your daily life in the game isn’t treated the same. Performing your daily tasks doesn’t take long, especially when you start upgrading your tools. Chatting with the forest spirits was also a quick chore. The excavation of artifacts can take as long as you like, but the process is slow and monotonous. The game encourages you to chat with people in town to help build your relationship with them, but their dialogue is often repetitive and it takes almost no time to gift them from the inventory. your. Even fishing and feeding can be done while you do other quests around the Forgotten Valley.

When the original version of this game came out, I’m sure this seemed like a lot of work to do. But after games like Stardew Valley, this level of activity is too low. It’s easy to find yourself going to bed early to complete a schedule instead of taking advantage of every waking hour to maximize what you can accomplish. In theory, some of this time should also be spent cooking, but I usually only use my kitchen when absolutely necessary. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life has a measure of Fullness, but it doesn’t drop quickly. I only really noticed it when my character gave me the hunger symbol, which usually fires when the bar is about a third full.

This watch is somewhat iconic to my overall experience of this game. Ideas that were once novel are outdated or uninteresting by today’s standards. While Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is a welcome update to the classic farm simulation, the removal of the nostalgic fondness will leave you with an experience that feels lacking in a modern setting. of this genre.


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