Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
|Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life|
|Developer(s)||Victor Interactive Software|
|Series||Story of Seasons|
|Platform(s)||GameCube, PlayStation 2, PS4|
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (牧場物語～ワンダフルライフ Bokujō Monogatari: Wonderful Life) is a video game that was released in Japan on September 12, 2003 for the GameCube, and on November 11, 2004 for the PlayStation 2. Also, Special Edition was released on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 with improvements upon lag issues rooting from their PlayStation 2 port. It was developed by Victor Interactive Software, and is part of the long-running Story of Seasons series of video games. The GameCube version offers connectivity with the Game Boy Advance game, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town.
Notably, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is the last entry developed by Victor Interactive Software prior to its acquirement by Marvelous Entertainment, who would go on to be the lead developers of future Harvest Moon titles.
The player starts the game with one cow, and can later acquire additional, higher-quality cattle as well as male sheep, male and female chickens, and a male horse. The cow will stop producing milk after 40 days, and will have to be impregnated for her to continue making milk. In addition to these traditional Harvest Moon animals, this is also the first game in the series to feature ducks and a goat. The ducks appear not to incubate eggs of their own, but after acquiring ducks, some of the eggs the player harvests from chickens will hatch as ducklings. It is notable that no fertile eggs are produced in the absence of a male chicken, despite the presence of female ducks. The goat produces milk for one year then stops, and may be sold in A Wonderful Life Special Edition for 1000G.
The player also starts the game with a dog, and has the choice of floppy or pointed ears. Later in the game, the player may receive a cat from Romana. Also seen in the wilderness are a tanuki, a lizard, and a turtle, as well as a chihuahua that appears to be a pet at the dig site.
Also notable is the Mukumuku, who resembles an abominable snowman. The Mukumuku can only be seen during Winter near the tree in which the Harvest Sprites live, and the surrounding area commonly referred to as "the forest."
The player's farm has three fields, with varying levels of fertility. Plants must be watered more than once per day and nourished with fertilizer to obtain high-quality fruits and vegetables. Each crop has its ideal growing season, and will do poorly if planted at the wrong time of year. To obtain the highest quality crops and seeds, the player must water and fertilize the crops every day.
The game offers a variety of crops and trees, and also offers the ability to create hybrid crops. The player can do this by feeding any two different seeds or crops to a talking plant, Tartan, who appears after befriending Takakura and visiting him in the morning, from Chapter 2 onwards.
This is the first Harvest Moon game in which the player not only has a child after marriage, but the child ages to adulthood as well. The player's son will look similar to their wife, and have a unique set of interests and talents. The child's developing personality may be influenced by taking him places, introducing him to people, and giving him gifts related to various fields. At the end of the game, the (now adult) son will choose one of seven possible careers: farmer, rancher, musician, artist, scholar, athlete, or scientist. If he becomes a farmer or a rancher, he will take over the family farm, although he can not marry.
If the player connects a Game Boy Advance with Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town or Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town to the GameCube while playing A Wonderful Life, the two games can exchange information. Initiating the connection requires going to the mountain path next to the vegetable farm where Celia lives in A Wonderful Life, and throwing an offering into the Harvest Goddess' pond in Friends of Mineral Town. NPCs in Forget-Me-Not Valley will begin to make comments about events in Mineral Town, and vice versa. In addition, some NPCs will make periodic trips to Mineral Town, returning with new items to sell or hints for the player.
When the player begins the game, they see a coastline in Forget-Me-Not valley. Takakura, an old man who used to be the player's father's best friend, is speaking (or thinking) to their father, stating: "He wasn't unhappy. But he didn't seem to have a direction in life. One day, I went to see him. I told him about the farm you left to him. Your son didn't seem to know much about farming, but he was willing to give it a try. So I brought him to Forget-Me-Not-Valley.". The player is then seen walking down the village with Takakura, and he explains how he and the player's father owned the farm. Soon, two dogs will appear the player chooses one to keep. Takakura agrees to show the player around the valley and introduce them to the villagers, including the eligible bachelorettes: Celia, Nami, and Muffy.
- The Beginning
In this chapter, lasting a year, the player begins in their house at 5 AM. They are now in control of the game, and start with a cow, a milker, two records, two tomato seeds, and 3000G. The player must marry in this chapter.
- Happy Birthday
In this chapter, lasting two years, the player has a son whose personality depends on his mother. The player will have an extra room, a kitchen and dining room, and will also gain a refrigerator and two bathrooms. The player may receive a cat from Romana, and their toddler can be picked up and played with. The dig site and house get bigger. Some characters' appearance has changed and new people move in. Van now sells toys and a goat, which may only be purchased in spring for 4000G. The Seed Maker may be obtained from Daryl if it had not been purchased in the first chapter, and Tartan may be acquired. Ducks may show up at the player's farm starting in this chapter if a pond is owned. Galen has moved, and now lives in a shack on hill beside Vesta's farm. His wife, Nina, died of natural causes; her grave is beside Vesta's farm. The protagonist also unlocks some opportunities at the beginning of this chapter such as discovering Tartan after befriending Takakura, or receiving the Alarm Clock from Grant.
This chapter was renamed to "A Birth" in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition.
- Happy Harvesting
In this chapter, lasting three years, the player's son has grown into a seven- or eight-year-old. Hugh and Lumina's appearance have changed again and the player's house has expanded. The player's son's future career may be swayed by befriending villagers with similar careers.
- Happy Farm Life
In this chapter, lasting two years, the player's son is a teenager and wants to be independent. The player has aged, as have most people in the valley. The player's son's career cannot be changed now without confusing him. The ruins have grown even larger, so you can dig a lot and make a good profit.
- To The Journey
In this chapter, lasting one year, the player's son is now a young adult, and their wife has aged. His actions mirror the player's from Year One, such as harvesting and looking for a spouse. The ruins are even bigger. There is no possible way for the player's son's career choice to be changed now.
- The Twilight
In this chapter, the player and other villagers have aged. Some have died, and the player's son is now certain of his career, and can no longer be swayed. The game ends with the player's death and Takakura thinking to their father about how Forget-Me-Not Valley fares after the player's death.
- Heaven Chapter
The heaven chapter can only be played in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition. In this chapter, the player may play at any pace or chapter they wish. The player gets their wife and son back, along with their money, animals, and crops.
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The American pre-order bonus was a collectible dog plush that was included in the game when ordered from participating websites.
An updated version called Oh! A Wonderful Life was released in Japan for the PlayStation 2 in November 2004. The English language version was called A Wonderful Life Special Edition and was released in late 2005. While very similar to the original version of A Wonderful Life, some extra items and events were added in addition to an updated soundtrack. The most notable changes were the ability to have a daughter, the ability to marry Lumina, and the ability to continue playing after death. On May 16, 2017, the very same game would later be announced for a special remake scheduled for the PS4 with a tentative 2017 release planned.
The girl version of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life, was released for the GameCube in the English-speaking world in July 2005. In this game, the player goes through the storyline of A Wonderful Life as a female character, and can court and marry one of three male NPCs, Marlin, Rock, and Gustafa. The game offers connectivity with the Game Boy Advance game Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town.
The PlayStation 4 version of the game is said to have fixed most of the lag from the PlayStation 2, making the game more playable, added trophy support, better resolution and quality. However, some lag issues still remain and little glitches still remain. It is unknown if this title may ever receive an update for fixing some of these issues.
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life received largely positive reviews upon its initial GameCube release. IGN gave the title an "Impressive" 8 out of 10 rating, praising gameplay and lasting appeal while also noting its "monotonous" audio and upsetting lack of festivals. A Wonderful Life garnered an 8.7 rating from Ryan Davis of GameSpot.com. Echoing other reviews, Davis considered it "a fun and potentially addictive game that, if you let it, will gladly consume any free time you choose to give it."
The Special Edition released for PlayStation 2 did not receive such strong praise. IGN's Juan Castro gave it a score of 6/10 and remarked "The differences, including an increase in brides, choosing the gender of your child and the ability to play forever, make little difference. What does make a difference, though, is the drastic drop in framerate, increase in load times and muddy graphics." The Official Playstation 2 Magazine of the UK gave it a 7/10 rating.
- "Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Release Dates". Gamespot. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- "Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition Release Dates". Gamespot. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- Castro, Juan (February 23, 2006). "Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life: Special Edition Review". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
- Romano, Sal (May 16, 2017). "Harvest Moon: Light of Hope announced for PS4, Switch, and PC". Gematsu. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Irwin, Mary Jane Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Review IGN.com. Retrieved on 4–04–09.
- Davis, Ryan Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Review Gamespot.com (March 25, 2004). Retrieved on 4–04–09.
- Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition Metacritic. Retrieved on 4–04–09.