Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why Won't They Make These - Harvest Moon Games

Sometimes, when I write these "Why Won't They Make These" it's almost rhetorical, or sometimes even a little silly, this being one of those cases.  It's a bit silly for the simple fact that, well, they do make these games.  A lot of them, in fact, but the issue is that they all seem to be on the DS, or at least, all the ones I want.  Despite being 'the' handheld of the last handheld gen (Yeah, I went there, next one started already), finding the games you want for it is a difficult and arduous task, since a lot of companies decided to take advantage of the DS' success by putting their games on a limited print run.  I mean, on some level, I get it, honestly I do, but on another level, I don't enjoy hunting for Rune Factory 2 like it's a copy of Ico or Shadow Hearts.  Because it is not.  Especially since I've been told Rune Factory 2 is kind of the weakest of the three numbered installments.

The same goes for the 'regular' harvest moon games that have come out for the DS, the ones I really really want, like the above pictured Sunshine Island, Grand Bazaar and the latest, Tale of Two Towns; I get why they're limited runs, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  And I understand why other games are wary of trying to mimic the Harvest Moon experience, but that doesn't mean I have to like that either.  It's such an easy type of game to make and especially after the success of The Sims and Animal Crossing (games in the similar vein), you'd think there would be an honest effort somewhere, but I'm really not remembering anything.  I guess that's to be expected, however, when even the company that makes Harvest Moon games doesn't know how to make them anymore.

Now, I have nothing against Rune Factory games.  You guys know this and know it well, that not only do I enjoy them, but I like them a lot.  I say it quite a bit, but I also say that, while they're still Harvest Moon games at heart, they're still not straight Harvest Moon games, which is what I want.  None of the combat, none of the forced goals like have a super great farm by this year or you lose, and none of the extra hassle; just straight up "Here's a farm, here's how you get/raise animals, here's some people to interact with, now have fun".  That's all I really want, and that's what it seems like the DS ventures offer, whereas the console experiences think they need to be a little 'more' than that, being Rune Factory games with even more of a plot/story attached.

Were that not bad enough, it gets worse when you consider that The Tale of Two Towns will likely be the last game on the DS even, since it was a dual-release on DS and 3DS both, and I can only imagine future installments will forgo last generation's iteration for the 3DS only as its foothold can only grow from where it's at now.  Rune Factory 4 has already announced it's going that route, after all and has solidified my future purchase of a (second-gen) due time.  But I just honestly am not a fan of my DS and I can't imagine a 3DS will be much better if they keep the same design, which is why I yearn for the series I enjoy to be playable on something I also enjoy.

That Marvelous is planning titles for the Vita, likely one of them being an attempt at the Harvest Moon franchise on it, is my only real hope here, and even that one's not all that promising considering the installment that PSP got.  Still, one can always hope that they figure out something proper for the device, or that somebody will step in where they haven't or can't.  Basically, the point, the question I pose with all this is not, "Why Won't They Make These", but rather, "Why Won't They Make These Multi-Platform" or something of that nature.  It's a franchise, a series, that I really hold dear and that I hate to see so underused.  The fact that it's only really featured on one console is still fairly limited even if there's a handful of games out for it.

Still, there's always hope for the future, I guess.  Like I said, there's a brand new device coming out with all sorts of new and old ideas being thrown into it, so likely -something- will stick.  And even if they want to make Innocent Life 2 or something, I would be fine with that, so long as they take care of the issues with the first game.  Like....being a robot.  And being too story-driven.  Basically everything wrong with the past PS2 (possibly GameCube as well) versions of a Harvest Moon game. 

....This won't end well, will it?

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