Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon

By David Rasmussen, 14th Sep 08
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At one point in the franchise, after some complaints about the series being the same formula over and over again, somebody over at Natsume finally paid attention. Now mind you I usually didn’t think much of complaints about the game formula, since if it’s not broken there’s no real need to fix said game, but after awhile even I began to want to see the game branch out in new and different directions delivering a gaming experience fresh and innovative. Only my idea of innovation was a lesbian option where you marry a female partner and set up house together, but whatever.

Deciding the best way to take the game into a new realm was to latterly take the game into a new realm, Natsume put together two games for each handheld system (the DS & the PSP) that took the game into a fantasy “past” as well as the future.

This version, Innocent Life, takes the game into a possible future of the Harvest Moon world (and a farflung colony world that needs your help).
The farming is futuristic, the world is futuristic, and oh dear god Talk Radio in Grand Theft Auto : Vice City turned out to be so

correct!! In the future? There WILL BE ROBOTS! Must be since every human in this game acts like they are, in fact, robots!! (That’s is so wrong on so many fronts I can’t tell you how wrong!)

In this game you are future storyline cliché number 115, in that you are a newly made robot human that was made to save this island from disaster. Once upon a time two warring groups lived on the island, and one eventually was wiped out (but not before cursing the land to make it infertile and “sealed” from sustaining food life). Before too long everything became automated and the need to do traditional farming of old was long forgotten… until now. You are brought in to bring back the traditional farming ways of old, with all the bells and whistles of the here and now future… and also with none of the human love and compassion of the original Harvest Moon world.

So at what point did Natsume think it appropriate (let alone agreeable by us the Harvest Moon playing community) to replace the heart and soul of a good Harvest Moon game and replace it with a whole bunch of new trinkets

and gizmos and stuff that (by the way) are nice, but don’t replace a soulless world of lifeless automated people that say the same things with the same lack of enthusiasm or overall joy in their words. Hmm… I guess I’m not the only robot in this world.

Farming is fresh and new, bright and innovative with a ton of new gizmos and tools and a mini side quest to find crystals which can unseal plots of land on your large temple/farm (and thus open the paths to new areas of the temple and the island itself allowing you to find new challenges, mini quests, and crystals to unseal more land). Still, with all this unsealing and exploration, it would be nice if this game wasn’t so soul wearying mind numbingly dreary. Even with all the upgrades you end up losing things (you can’t do your own cooking anymore, fishing is no longer fun as you must catch and release all fish meaning you can’t raise money by fishing, you can’t get married anymore it seems though I heard a rumor once there might be a marriage option (but rumor only), and there’s no more festivals that do anything

but push the storyline along -- I.e. no fun festivals anymore).

Each day is a routine of drudgery and dulldom that doesn’t change except for outings to find crystals and other tools you’ll need to advance, which is in itself dull (which is the one major problem with this game). For all the bells and whistles and tech they crammed into this game to make farming “fresh”, the loss of all the heart and souls of this game is too much to bear in exchange.

That’s why I would rather play the tride and true favorite port “Harvest Moon : Boy & Girl” (reviving once again Harvest Moon : Back To Nature on the PSP) than this game. I’d rather play a game that’s fun instead of this slow march to sleep… but if you are a die hard Harvest Moon fan and must play EVERY Harvest Moon in existence (including the new experiment on spin-offs) then you’ll be playing this no matter what I say to you about it… just play it in bites as too much of Innocent Life is not a good thing.

Innocent Life : A Futuristic Harvest Moon manages to locate 3 crystals out of 5.

By David Rasmussen, 14th Sep 08

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