What’s new in Story of Seasons? The answer is lying in this article as below
Home, Home on the Range
While leafing through the morning paper you come across an ad to become Oak Tree Town’s new farmer. Pft, modern convenience and critical thinking, who needs that? You quickly apply for the position and a week later find yourself going shopping for some overalls, flannel shirts, and Farming for Dummies Vol. 1.
One of the cornerstones of Story of Seasons is emulating the life of a countryside farmer. The game runs in an abbreviated real-time, traversing in-game days and seasons in a matter of IRL hours. Much like in life, certain crops do better in certain seasons and most fully grow within a few days. Time spent on crops tend to correlate with price, with more intensive crops bringing in more money for the trouble. In an improvement over previous titles, single sowing, watering, and harvesting has been increased to a 3×3 farming system, allowing players to care for nine times as many crops in the same amount of time.
Story of Seasons also expands the variety of produce that can be grown.There’re the standard vegetable crops to cultivate, but also fruit tree orchards, flower fields that would put the Dutch to shame, and even secret mystery crops that provide a nice Easter egg. Crops are rated based on the player’s attentiveness, with optimal care yielding a higher quality harvest and, in turn, leading to higher prices during trade.
Diversity is the name of the game, which I found out the hard way. I discovered that stubbornly planting my peach orchard for Summer harvest didn’t exactly rake in the dollars, especially when I started in Spring. Don’t be destitute like me. Grow different types of plants and make money!
Inciting allergies with a cornucopia of produce isn’t the only thing farmers can do. By constructing a barn on the property, cows, sheep, chickens, and even llamas can also be raised. Llamas! Properly grooming, feeding, and cleaning up after livestock increases the quality of their product and also increases their compatibility with you. Milk cow Hanako, bless her heart, had to live in her own filth for a month before I had the money to craft a pitchfork. She even tried to run away, but I forced her back to her pig sty.
Yet gardening and ranching can only fill so much time in a day. Luckily, each new farmer is quite talented and can learn to cook, make cheese, brew wine, and sew clothes. Or, you can be like me and partake in “man-mode” fishing. Just dive right into your local river and catch fish and other items with your bare hands.
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Oh My Darling, Clementine
Feeling a bit lonely on the farm? Never fear, as the bustling community of Oak Tree Town will keep you company. Like many villages there are people young and old, rich and poor, but most importantly, single or taken.
In total there are twelve romantic companions available in Story of Seasons, but just like in a stereotypical small town boys can only choose between the 6 bachelorettes, while the girls can choose between the 6 bachelors. Identify potential targets by finding the flower located at the top left of their dialogue box. New farmers start with a white flower, but with much wooing the flower slowly changes color until reaching a stage where NPC and player can marry and have children. Talking to a potential lover, gifting them presents, and even wearing certain clothes increases their compatibility rating. But beware, while certain items grant more influence points, other items can drastically lower matchmaking progress.
I’m sorry I gave you carrot juice, Lillie. I promise I won’t do it again.
But potential lovers aren’t the only inhabitants in town. Each NPC occupies a necessary niche in the game, ranging from running the general store to managing the lone medical clinic. One of the more notable NPCs is Veronica, the guild master of the town.
Veronica represents two important aspects of the game: the Conquest system and Farm Tours. In a stunning display of free market, Veronica has the local farmers compete for use of special fields in the Land Conquest Competition. These fields, which are blocked off in the beginning, offer advantageous plots for various crops. As public land, these fields may only be rented by proving that their potential will be utilized.
A player’s worth is based on one of two events: sales through a certain date or via winning certain contests based on livestock or produce. As peach master, I thought I would get the field specializing in fruit quite easily. But after the sales contest Veronica called me out. Apparently the gap between my sales and my fellow farmers’ was quite big.
Way to play into my anxieties about my farming capabilities, Veronica.
Veronica’s second system is the returning multiplayer, also known as Farm Tours. Activating Street Pass on the Nintendo 3DS allows handhelds to passively connect with others, allowing players to visit other farms. This menu can also be used to connect with other games on across a wi-fi network. Visiting other farms isn’t just to show off, as visitors can use a magic wand to help crops grow or decrease an animal’s stress. Did I mention free presents? Free presents.
The Goose with the Golden Egg
While Oak Tree Town is quite quaint, their trade depot is a hotbed of activity and the center of commerce. At the start of the game, only the silk country is interested in doing business with your small town. But, as your crops grow and gain notoriety, more and more countries will visit and trade their own specialties. Also to note is that shipping goods can only be sold through these visiting salespeople. If no salesmen are coming to town, that tin can you found in the river won’t have a buyer. Apparently the townsfolk have wizened up to me selling the trash I pick up.
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Another economic lesson to keep in mind is supply and demand. The trading countries are quite open with what they seek and will pay more for such products. Later in the game these countries will also be able to commission your products for special rates. Just make sure to have the supply to handle their requests.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much the townsfolk of Oak Tree can provide. It’s up to the player to increase trade with other nations to unlock upgrades for tools and farms. The local carpenter can help upgrade a house, but he doesn’t have the blueprint to help build a sewing studio, for instance.
While the name indicates the trade depot is meant for one purpose, the town actually uses it as a base for festivals or contests as well. During each season multiple events take place that require the use of the space. Contests aren’t just to stroke your ego. The different countries will pay more for crops that have won competitions and for the byproducts of award winning farm animals.
Hanako, won’t you come out behind the barn? I have a surprise for you. Perhaps your leather and meat will fetch me the money I need to buy more peach trees (no, you can’t kill your animals… at least that I know of).
Story of Seasons is Marvelous’ ode to the simple life. In that regard, I find the charm of the game a success. The simplified farming belies a complex, layered system to find and farm the best crops. Even after harvest, the game is so open to possibility that it’s nearly overwhelming. Do I sell the crops I’ve gathered or do I use them as cooking ingredients? Should I give my produce to the townsfolk to befriend them? These are all up to your discretion, depending on what you want to focus on in the game.
I did find a couple of annoyances in the game ,such as the inability to sell anything in town. I felt bad selling fish bones, cans, and boots to our esteemed trading partners. I also felt a bit lost at times, as the open world offers so many possibilities, but so little direction. There are books the townsfolk will give you to teach basic concepts, but I felt like some of the descriptions were too brief for some tasks. Despite having a rough first play-through of the game, I find myself wanting to start over and to play even more on
I guess there is a little farmer in this city boy. Start your day with game, app reviews and free online games for kids
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