E3 2012 Preview: Harvest Moon: A New Beginning

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.

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