Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City Evaluate (Swap)

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Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City won’t bear the Harvest Moon title that might establish it as a continuation of the beloved collection, however that is all right down to copyright, Japanese-to-English translation, and a schism between XSEED and Natsume. It is not very attention-grabbing, so to summarise: Story of Seasons is the unique, and Harvest Moon (as it’s now) is an affordable pretender to the throne.

However previously few years, although the rival Harvest Moon video games have decreased quickly in high quality, the Story of Seasons collection has floundered all the identical – and Stardew Valley got here to take its crown. Does Pioneers of Olive City return triumphant, or does Stardew proceed to reign supreme?

As we stated in our preview, Pioneers of Olive City is disappointing within the first season. It’s going to take gamers a very long time to heat as much as the concept that all the pieces is dealt with with Makers – the sport’s model of processing items, which flip uncooked supplies into usable and saleable objects, like wool into yarn, ore into ingots, and wooden into lumber. For some purpose, these Makers take one merchandise at a time, and so, to make any progress, you may want roughly 100 of them chugging alongside. It is virtually a full-time job to deal with all of it.

One other big difficulty is the shortage of persona within the townsfolk. For some purpose, they’ve solely the sparsest of dialogue, and even while you’re really relationship them, that does not change an excessive amount of. Exterior of occasions and dealing within the numerous outlets, they principally wander aimlessly across the city, or stand like statues subsequent to their beds, ready for the day to finish.

Nevertheless. Very like most Story of Seasons video games, the world brightens up after the primary couple of seasons, and issues begin to get extra attention-grabbing. As soon as you have befriended somebody as much as two hearts, you may get some perception into their favorite presents, which suggests a fast-track to seeing their “coronary heart occasions” – the cutscenes that additional your friendship. The guts occasions are brief however candy; we spent probably the most time with Bridget, so we had been handled to a narrative of her studying to belief different individuals by animals.

Likewise, the Maker difficulty does not ever go away, but it surely does get higher. As soon as you have acquired a good set-up of all of the Makers you want, it is fairly fast work to fill all of them up, and turns into a part of the farm routine. Afterward, you may even unlock Big Makers, which might course of a couple of objects at a time, though they’re costly to construct, so you may possible be caught with those you get as rewards for levelling-up your abilities.

There are 12 abilities to degree up in whole, together with fishing, cooking, communication, and mining, all of which cap at degree 10. The extra you degree these up, the higher you may get at them, and the extra supplies of a greater high quality you may get because of this. The ability progress is a pleasant addition, and makes progress fairly regular and satisfying, so long as you are focusing your consideration on a number of abilities directly.

There are nonetheless a couple of bottlenecks, like the truth that cooking takes half an hour, even in case you’re simply making Sizzling Milk. What’s extra, you possibly can solely prepare dinner one meal at a time – even if you wish to simply make multiples of the identical factor, you possibly can’t – and the Seed Maker, which is the one solution to flip high-quality crops into higher-quality seeds, is gradual, and might solely course of one crop at a time.

Mining, farming, fishing, and animal care will take up most of your time when you wait, although, and all of them are as satisfying as you’d hope for, in a sport that is about these issues. The animals are extraordinarily cute, if a bit of… deformed (there is not any manner a cow with that large of a face might survive), and it is simple to unlock new ones, since they seem wild in your farm each season (within the first 12 months, no less than) and you’ll tame them so as to add them to your assortment.

Mining is a take a look at of stamina and occasional mole-battling, and although there aren’t skips that can assist you to get to decrease ranges instantly, it will ultimately take you one of the best a part of a day to resolve the third mine. Fishing is just like how Stardew’s system works, and there are bait varieties and fishing rod upgrades that can assist you out.

As for what your farmer appears to be like like whereas they work, the character customisation is fairly good – loads of outfits, hair adjustments, even eye color adjustments if you need – however the furnishings and common home ornament is weirdly restricted to a really particular, small space of your home. You’ll be able to’t change the wallpaper or the ground, both. This space will get larger as the home upgrades improve the scale of the place, however you may by no means be capable to place furnishings anyplace you need, sadly.

One of many largest caveats of all that is that the farming completely tanks the framerate. This is a matter that the builders find out about, and are engaged on, however working by ploughed-and-planted fields, and even empty ones, will scale back the framerate to about 5 frames per second. Add this to the weirdly lengthy loading screens, and you will be questioning what is going on on behind the scenes. We really had one loading display screen that was nonetheless going after three minutes, and needed to restart the sport, however that was a one-off – all different loading screens had been sub-ten seconds. Nonetheless, that is a protracted wait.

New options, just like the Photograph Mode and the Museum, are enjoyable to mess around with – however the Digicam solely holds ten photographs, and you’ll’t actually do something with them in addition to donating photographs of animals to the Museum. You’ll be able to’t even full-screen them to save lots of them as screenshots.

The Museum is maybe probably the most disappointing of all. Taking clear inspiration from Animal Crossing, however with a fraction of the funds, Story of Seasons’ providing is simply not good. The fish exhibit is a bunch of fish-shaped shadows. The treasure exhibit is a bunch of pillars topped with similar-looking rocks. The animal exhibit is a bunch of animal statues on pillars. Analyzing these pillars offers you no additional data past the title of the factor and when it was donated. If we would paid to go to this museum, we would ask for a refund.

Pioneers of Olive City’s story is all about bringing vacationers to the city – and you will see them flocking in on the ferry, with randomised appearances, however the identical title, “Vacationer”, every time. Sadly, they do not do a lot past that. Your donations of supplies and cash will not actually change the city in any significant manner past a couple of beauty adjustments, and the townsfolk thanking you. The vacationers do not go to the eating places, they do not enter the outlets, they simply mill about on the port. It is a disgrace, as a result of seeing the impact of tourism on this struggling city would have been actually attention-grabbing.

In abstract, all the problems that we talked about within the preview are nonetheless there, plus a couple of extra that we discovered by taking part in by a complete 12 months. A few of these points will not be too unhealthy when you get into the rhythm of issues, and it is actually a mile higher than Harvest Moon: One World, but it surely’s under no circumstances one of the best Story of Seasons sport you will get. Nevertheless, followers of the style will discover that they settle fairly properly into Pioneers of Olive City, whilst they’re disenchanted by the issues it lacks. It is a stable, if comparatively unremarkable entry into the collection, however in our opinion, you would be greatest off ready for a sale and a bunch of patches, and getting Mates of Mineral City within the meantime.

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