Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Bought Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley Today

I still don't know why.  I mean, I know why - it's because it's $7.50 in the Playstation Store for Plus Members instead of $30 and goddamned if I don't like a value.  Of course, Harvest Moon:  Hero of Leaf Valley's value was, before I purchased it, highly suspect, as it seemed to be a port of Save The Homeland, which I didn't care for at all, what with the year time limit the game has in place.  While I'm not sure if it's a hard time limit or not, I'll likely never find out as I'm not planning on playing Save The Homeland again anytime soon, and Hero of Leaf Valley is much more loose with it than previously indicated, I suspect.  This is for many reasons, but the important bit is that, when presented with the same scenario with slightly different end-goals the game did something that I suspected it was not capable of doing, being what it is:  It drew me in and made me want to play it.

I am not absolutely certain, but it seems that the time limit in this game, as opposed to Save the Homeland is two years, rather than one, which is certainly a lot easier to swallow when informed of that upfront.  I'm not sure if that's going to be correct, or if there's some sort of subtext that I missed, but the CEO of the place that is coming in to bulldoze the entirety of Leaf Valley told me that I was to have 50,000 G before two years had passed, so I'm just -saying-.  Or, rather, she said "I guess if you have that much money before we come to tear this dump down in two years, I'll sell you the deed" or something that amounted to it but semantics.  So right off the bat, you have twice the time that you have in Save the Homeland, or at least the game presents as much to you.  There is still an end-point and that's still a thing I'm not comfortable with, but I handled it with the Rune Factory games, so I believe I can handle it here.

Beyond that, after checking a few things that point out the differences between Save the Homeland and Hero of Leaf Valley, one of the big differences is that you can get married in Hero of Leaf Valley which is such a goddamn Harvest Moon standard that any game that doesn't include it is pretty permanently on my 'nope' list for this fact.  It's only a big deal because it's a goal to strive for, a meta-goal even, in a game that is built on its own meta-goals because, in most cases, it doesn't have a 'goal' itself, which is the inherent strength of the Harvest Moon series.  Learning (perhaps re-learning) that Save the Homeland doesn't include the feature while Hero of Leaf Valley does, it only served to push the former further down my list (Below Innocent Life, even because let's face it, Innocent Life at least has a goddamn dune buggy) and the latter higher up in prospective places.  Since I barely played it at that point, you see.  In all reality, I've -still- barely played it, as I'm only on Spring 8th in my save file, but I'm sure you see the distinction.

Beyond the fact that it was $7.50, I think the other reason that I bought the game is that I always, always crave having another Harvest Moon game, and one that is at least somewhat 'new' as Hero of Leaf Valley is.  Despite a quick play of Save The Homeland years ago, the place is basically a clean slate as the inhabitants of Leaf Valley are not featured in any other Harvest Moon game to my knowledge.  At least, no other game that I've played.  There is a such thing as being over-familiar with characters, you see, so any game in the Harvest Moon line that offers me an opportunity to romance women who are not Ann, Popuri and the other caste from Mineral Town is a game that I will happily attempt, if nothing else.  Even though I believe Friends of Mineral Town to be one of the better Harvest Moon games out there.  If they could just take about 90% of that game and just fill it with new characters, that would probably be the next best thing, really.

Seeing as I expect my days to be filled with Sleeping Dogs when available, having Hero of Leaf Valley serves as quite a fine counter-point.  An indulgence after another indulgence if you will.  I get to enjoy the violence, the visceral nature of Sleeping Dogs and then step into something that is wholly counter to that, yet entertaining on its own merits.  While jarring, it's a nice jarring, something that I don't think a lot of people get to experience or, if they do, enjoy, which is a little bit of a shame really.  Both are equally valuable, however, which is what I want to embed, so people who don't enjoy a good slow down with Harvest Moon or similar games are missing out I say, but not in a way that is detracting from what they're enjoying regardless.  Which sounds a little muddled now that I wrote it out, but whatever, it's late and took me like three hours to type this up because I am tired.  Off to bed, folks.

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