E3 2012 Preview: Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
posted on 06.10.12 at 12:16 AM EDT by (@sqexgal)
3DS Harvest Moon offers customization, new features.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series, and for a game that’s been making farming fun longer than Farmville, you have to wonder how it’s come this far. To put it simply, though the premise is never different, no two Harvest Moon titles are alike. This guarantees some are held in high esteem by fans, while others fail to please. However, with the arsenal of new features that Harvest Moon: A New Beginning for 3DS will bring to the series later this year, fans won’t be disappointed this time around. 

Just like every in every Harvest Moon title, you’ll manage a farm; and like in many of the past titles, the fate of the town is in your hands. What would they do without a greenhorn farmer to restore the town to its lost glory? The mayor will assign you missions to restore the town; complete them to beat the game. And along the way you’ll meet a variety of characters, participate in various plots, and if you’re lucky, marry the townsperson of your dreams.

You’ll notice A New Beginning sets itself apart right from the get-go with the options you’re presented in creating your character. Along with its gender, you’ll be able to customize your hair style and color, eye color, and skin tone. You’ll be able to change your hair features later once you have improved your town’s condition well enough for the hair stylist to set up shop. The hairstylist is also an eligible bachelor for female characters, and though he’s picky and sassy, he’s also one of the more handsome choices of the bunch.

But your hair features are not the only style aspects you’ll have control over. The player starts with two outfits to switch between, but once the tailor moves into town, you’ll be able to commission new clothes, including some hilarious costumes like a panda suit! But before you get ahead of yourself, you’ll need the proper material to commission your clothes. This title introduces new textile crops like cotton and wool that you’ll need to grow in order to make your snazzy outfits.

A common and most useful resident in past games has been the blacksmith, but you’ll notice this time around there is not one present. That’s because you’ll be relying on yourself for tool upgrades, along with a large variety of other new skills your character will have access to. A New Beginning introduces the workshop and build modes, an area that much of your gameplay may be dedicated to. In the workshop, you’ll not only be able to improve the strength of your tools and upgrade your farming facilities, but you’ll also be able to construct items that improve the aesthetics of your farm. For example, you can build benches, hay stacks, water silos, and a variety of other items that you can use to customize the look and practicality of your farm.

In build mode, you’ll be able redesign the layout of everything on your farm. Don’t like having to walk back and forth from one water source to your land plots? Just move your plots next to the water source. Or even better, build as many water silos as you like and keep them in convenient places next to your crops. You can even pick up your home and move it wherever you like on the farm land. And that’s not all. The entire town’s layout is can be customized to your convenience. Move those shops with the annoying hours next to your farm so you never miss them when they’re open. Or keep your love interest nearby so winning their affection is less of a hassle.

Joining these new features are the additions of two new farm animals: the yak and alpaca llama. Not only are they adorable, but you’ll be able to wield a high profit from yak butter, and a wider variety of outfit choices will be available thanks to alpaca fur. And just when you were bored of fishing, a new type of fish trap is introduced that makes capturing a wider variety of fish possible. The fish trap can be constructed in the workshop and used multiple times. Once it breaks, all you have to do is construct another one.

These are just a handful of the new features coming to Harvest Moon: A New Beginning. Along with a charming 3D aesthetic that mirrors the quality of the Wii titles in the series, this is definitely the 3DS title Harvest Moon fans have been waiting for.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Hard to be impressed with games that are graphically on par with the N64 in 2012.

    • Sal Romano

      @Malcolm Reynolds: Visuals are not equivalent to gameplay.

      With that logic, Minecraft must be terrible.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Obviously graphics arent everything. That argument however is the go to excuse for everything Nintendo’s weak hardware lacks.

    For $180, the 3DS has not earned its keep. I feel sorry for the poor schmucks that spent $250 on their DS 1.2

    And yea Sal, Minecraft is a casual gamers wet dream. In real life, its a total turd.

    Your analogy would have been better if you said Chrono Trigger but of course that came out on HW over 20 years ago but has more charm than anything on the 3DS.

    I’ve noticed you valiantly defend the 3DS. I’m not against buying games on it. (Kingdom Hearts, Luigis Mansion, etc) I’m just stating the fact that for the most part there’s nothing on the 3DS that really impresses.

    Graphics =\= gameplay. I agree.

    They sure do help though.

    • Rezar

      @Malcolm Reynolds: Have you played any games on the Nintendo 3DS? Just wondering.

    • Sal Romano

      @Malcolm Reynolds: Not sure where you’re getting at with the whole “valiantly defend the 3DS” bit. If a system has good games, its worth ‘defending’. Though, if a system has good games, it shouldn’t be ‘attacked’ in the first place.

      “I’m just stating the fact that for the most part there’s nothing on the 3DS that really impresses.”

      That is not what you were stating. Your initial comment — “Hard to be impressed with games that are graphically on par with the N64 in 2012″ — was completely ignorant of the preview at hand (Harvest Moon), and merely jumped to a conclusion based on the game’s visuals. Maybe, perhaps, take some time to read the preview Olivia took time out of her day to write, and provide your insight into its actual content.

      “Graphics =\= gameplay. I agree.”

      Right. So then that initial comment should not have been made then, should it? Because it seems to state the complete opposite.

      “For $180, the 3DS has not earned its keep.”

      Once again, you lost me. Kid Icarus: Uprising, Resident Evil: Revelations, Tales of the Abyss, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Pushmo, Cave Story 3D, Star Fox 64, and in the future: Etrian Odyssey IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Devil Summoners: Soul Hackers, Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Castlevania: Mirror of Fate, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Code of Princess, Unchained Blades, Harvest Moon, Project X Zone, Monster Hunter 4, Bravely Default, Animal Crossing, Rune Factory 4, Fantasy Life, and Culdcept aren’t “earning its keep?”

      “Minecraft is a casual gamers wet dream. In real life, its a total turd.”

      Nine million sales and a towering online community say otherwise. You don’t have to like it, but at least acknowledge it for what it’s achieved.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Oh Sal: I do appreciate your willingness to banter back and forth with me.

    How does me saying “graphics =\= gameplay, I agree” in any way shape or form negate the factual statement that it is hard to be impressed by N64 visuals in 2012?

    The gameplay on a good few 3DS titles is great but the graphics still look like ass.

    You named a big list of games as “proof” that the 3DS has earned its keep but for my tastes I havent wanted to buy or play any of them.
    There are a few upcoming that I definitely want.
    Kingdom Hearts, Theatrythm, Bravely Default etc….overall though, mario for the most part doesnt interest me anymore. Not my fault or me trying to hate, I have simply grown tired of the character and the formula since 1987. Sorry.

    Now, using the sales as evidence of a great game is a little silly dont you think?
    Some of my favorite games of all time sold like trash.
    If sales were the earmark of greatness then Halo, and Gears would “mop the floor” with everything on PS3. Thats laughable.
    Farmville would be a killer app triple A title and would demand respect from every gamer.
    Farmville is played by unemployed middle aged women like my mother in law and casuals in general.
    Im glad casuals have something to play but please dont mix their crap up in my games thanks.

    Btw, I did read the preview for this. Sounds like Harvest Moon to me. A farmlife sim with rpg elements.
    Never having gotten into the series, nothing hear has caused me to think that will change with this release.
    Was hoping for a pretty facelift but that didnt happen either, hence my comment about 3DS graphics in general.

    One of the expected improvements whe one buys new HW is a graphical improvement. Its a little unfair though with the Vita on the market raising the graphical bar the 3DS will rarely impress now.
    Thats the price Nintendo and its fans must pay for playing on outdated, generation behind HW all the time.

    The only chance 3DS has of visually impressing now is art style. Bravely Default gets it.
    Most 3DS games dont.

    I also dont understand how this site and many others can bash the Vita for having ports of Current Gen games but zelda OoT and Starfox 64 are feathers in the 3DS’ cap.
    Those are legacy Nintendo titles that should cost $10 or less as downloads but its cool for Ninty to port them and charge $40.
    Meanwhile, when the firmware update for Vita drops soon that enables PSOne classics, the greatest legacy library in gaming will be available for $10 or less per game but the media pans that as a big joke.
    The double standards are so tired which is why I try to even the playing field and be as critical of all systems across the board as the media is of Sony.
    End of the day I buy all systems and love great games.
    I’m just willing to be critical of all 3 major companies instead of just 1.

    • Sal Romano

      @Malcolm Reynolds: “How does me saying “graphics =\= gameplay, I agree” in any way shape or form negate the factual statement that it is hard to be impressed by N64 visuals in 2012?”

      Because you didn’t say “it is hard to be impressed by the graphics of games on par with N64 in 2012,” you said it is “hard to be impressed with games that are graphically on par with the N64 in 2012.”

      “The gameplay on a good few 3DS titles is great but the graphics still look like ass.”

      Grouping quite the amount there, aren’t you?

      Sure, there are plenty of games on 3DS with abysmal graphics (example: Harvest Moon), but once again, if it’s good and you can have a fun time playing it, why does it matter?

      “Now, using the sales as evidence of a great game is a little silly dont you think?”

      I wasn’t trying to. But in this case, sales have reason. I really don’t feel I need further explain Minecraft’s success. Maybe read up on everything here.

      “If sales were the earmark of greatness then Halo, and Gears would “mop the floor” with everything on PS3. Thats laughable.”

      Once again, forcing Microsoft into a conversation where it’s not relevant simply to cheer on Sony. For the final time, we get it, Malcom. And for the record, Halo and Gears are great games. I don’t play much of the former, but when I did, I enjoyed my experience.

      “Im glad casuals have something to play but please dont mix their crap up in my games thanks.”

      What are you talking about? Who’s mixing what in your games?

      “Btw, I did read the preview for this.”

      Cool. Should have commented about it then.

      “Was hoping for a pretty facelift but that didnt happen either, hence my comment about 3DS graphics in general.”

      Oh. You mean the flamebait.

      “One of the expected improvements whe one buys new HW is a graphical improvement. Its a little unfair though with the Vita on the market raising the graphical bar the 3DS will rarely impress now.”

      3DS saw quite the graphical jump in comparison to its predecessor. Obviously, it’s not on par with Vita, visually, but it’s not like every game looks like Gravity Rush or Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation on Vita. And every game on 3DS doesn’t look like Resident Evil: Revelations. But the potential is there for both systems. It’s the developer’s responsibility to make use of it.

      I assure you, 3DS will still impress.

      “Thats the price Nintendo and its fans must pay for playing on outdated, generation behind HW all the time.”

      If you’re talking about the $180 it costs to play great games, then I don’t see the issue?

      “I also dont understand how this site and many others can bash the Vita for having ports of Current Gen games but zelda OoT and Starfox 64 are feathers in the 3DS’ cap.”

      I’ve seen one person do that on this site.

      “Those are legacy Nintendo titles that should cost $10 or less as downloads but its cool for Ninty to port them and charge $40.”

      Sure, if it was just a straight port (go on Wii’s Virtual Console, you’ll find OoT for cheap). But it’s not.

      “Meanwhile, when the firmware update for Vita drops soon that enables PSOne classics, the greatest legacy library in gaming will be available for $10 or less per game but the media pans that as a big joke.”

      Not sure who’s panning this as a “big joke.” I think it’s just your over-exaggerating of the media hating Sony again. Link me to one article that pans PSone Classics on Vita as a joke.

      “The double standards are so tired which is why I try to even the playing field and be as critical of all systems across the board as the media is of Sony.”

      Oh, okay. So it was your over-exaggerating of the media hating Sony again.

      “End of the day I buy all systems and love great games. I’m just willing to be critical of all 3 major companies instead of just 1.”

      Really? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you be critical of Sony.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Thanks for the pics Sal.

    I concede that OoT looks leagues better than it did.
    Maybe even enough to where I will snag a copy on the cheap and play through it again.

    I wont argue with you about the media bias b/c well, you are likely a little biased ;)

    Some of the screen shots look great and are of games I have reserved already like kingdom hearts.
    Still, there are far more examples of games on the system that look like trash and we have nintendos lack of quality control standards to thank for that.

    Revelations looks great for a 3DS game as well but on my iphones retina display compared to playing revelations live on my 3DS….I’d say the screen shots you posted were doctored up a bit.
    Looks good, but not that good.

    As for being critical of Sony, I’ll try this if it makes you happy:
    Too much time was spent on Wonderbook’s presentation. Not enough focus on Vita games in a time where the Vita owners could use some major announcements to look forward to.
    CoD Blops will do well but we have no date or gameplay at all.
    ACL looks fantastic but only showing that was a poor decision.
    That said, the games they showed exclusive to Sony platforms handed Nintendo and the joke that was the MS kinectFrence their asses.

    I mean, why would I be critical of Sony when they are the ONLY one of the big 3 who has not forgotten that core gamers butter their bread?

    • Sal Romano

      @Malcolm Reynolds:

      “I wont argue with you about the media bias b/c well, you are likely a little biased ;)”

      Oh, yeah, sure. That explains why Gematsu started as a PlayStation-only website in 2007.

      Seriously, man, you’ve got to get that whole media bias thing out of your head.

      “I mean, why would I be critical of Sony when they are the ONLY one of the big 3 who has not forgotten that core gamers butter their bread?”

      Because you said you were willing, and I’d never seen it.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    ^I was critical of Sony in the above response.
    Just in case you missed it,

    They spent way too much time at E3 on Wonderbook and blew a perfect opportunity to showcase future Vita games.

    Now you have seen it.

    Regardless, they have far less to be critical of than the other two. Thats for damn sure.

    I, like you, enjoy great games. Only 2 of the big 3 even try anymore when it comes to games. Of those two, I think Sony tries harder as they continue to bring new IP to the gaming landscape.