Oct 16, 2007
Before we talk monsters: yes, it's a Harvest Moon game, so farming is at the heart of it. But unlike previous iterations (which ran along the lines of "farm crops, get married, farm more crops") you're given a real plot to contend with.
You've lost your memory and been set to work on a farm by a nice girl who points out that the town has recently seen an increase in monsters coming out of strange machines in the cave system. Who put them there? What are they? Who are you? How did you get here? And why do the strawberries on your farm grow to the same size as your head? Constant suggestions from the village's residents that your fighting ability means you were once a noble warrior creates a curiosity that has been rather lacking from previous Moons.
So what about the fighting, then? Quite aside from the fact that a death while fighting in the caves means Game Over and a trip back to the menu screen (player death is all-new to Harvest Moon), it's not as simple as saying that you can choose whether to farm or to fight. If you want to make cash, then you only need to sit at the seashore catching enormous fish, or else go into the caves with a big hammer to find shiny things. What farming crops offers you, on top of yielding interestingly-proportioned fruit and veggies, is Rune Points, which you need in order to fight, or undertake most activities. Kind of like a stamina bar, you run through this before you get onto the health bar proper. And while you can fill your health bar with potions and herbs, the Rune Points can only be filled by picking up blue orbs that appear when a field of crops is ready for harvest.