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Modifié par The First Aifos : 3/25/2024 5:36:46 PM

Harvestella first impressions review

Good evening everybody! This is Aifos coming to you alive from Bird's Eye Brae, where I was just given a house and a farm totally for free, and am now living with a total stranger! Despite how totally sketchy all of this sounds, everything is fine here! Honest! So, if you've ever asked me for game recommendations, then you have almost certainly heard me talk about Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. Sakuna is a game that is one half about farming rice, and one half about fighting demons, and it is brilliant. So brilliant in fact, that I consider it to be the most brilliantly designed game I've ever played--and I study game design! So, when I heard of Harvestella--an action RPG where you're also running a farm--I was immediately interested. A demo dropped, I picked it up, and.. Ehh, I kinda felt like it sucked. However, more recently the game went on sale, and it was cheap enough that despite my experience with the demo I decided to pick it up. Now, I'm still not super far in the game (at least I hope not, because if I am that means it's super short), but I thought I'd share my thoughts, now that I've given the game another chance. So first, let's talk about [b][u]The Farming[/b][/u] The farming is amazing. While overall I did not enjoy the demo, I loved the farming right from the beginning, and the farming is why I gave the game anotehr chance. I've you've played Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, you probably won't be terribly blown away by anything they do here. The farming is great not because it's super deep and innovative, but because they took what they knew, and they just did it well. Now, farming isn't super deep. You take some seeds, water 'em every day until they grow, and then drop your produce in a box for money. What's really great about it, though, is just the game feel. Tilling the ground, planting seeds, watering crops, it all just [i]feels[/i] really good. I always look forward to taking care of my crops every morning. I also enjoy how the game encourages you to cook (more on that later), leaving you with a resource management game, where you have to decide how much of your crops you sent out for produce, and how much of them you turn into food. If it's anything like most RPGs, this dilemma will probably go away as time goes on, and I become flush with resources, but at least in the early game, this is a really fun thing to manage. [b][u]The Dungeons[/b][/u] So, before we get into combat, let's talk about the level design. It's good. The levels frequently loop back onto themselves, allowing you to open shortcuts, and while there are warp points in dungeons as well, they feel more like Dark Souls bonfires than they do generic fast travel locations. The dungeons are a blast. Very good level design, so far at least. There aren't really any puzzles or anything so far, though, so it's pure combat. There are these big enemies called "FEAR" that are designed to be way outside your combat ability, which don't serve too much purpose besides being a minor inconvenience that you have to sneak around, but that's my only complaint so far. Now for the combat. So, when you first start the game, combat is rough. The combat is why I never bought the game originally. And, well, it's still not amazing, but it's not as bad as I originally thought. The thing that really bugs me about it is that there are almost no hit reactions--i.e. when you smack an enemy in the face with a sword, or the enemy smacks you, both of you act like nothing happened. Most attacks in the game come out very fast and without too much windup, making them hard to dodge, and so early on the combat feels very mindless. Thankfully, once you start unlocking abilities, and other classes to play, things get a little bit better. See, you're able to equip up to 3 classes and swap between them with the press of a button. No class has every attribute, and so if you come across a group of enemies who are weak to different attributes, you may need to jump between your three classes in order to properly deal with them. Unfortunately, the AI in this game is totally stupid, and enemy groups will usually attack you 1-on-1 rather than all at once, and while it is serviceable, it would definitely be a lot better if things were more.. Intentional, I suppose? If the game was built for you to be able to dodge attacks better, and you could combo enemies better, that sort of thing. Still, despite its flaws, the combat system feels sort of like CrossCode, constantly swapping forms to deal with different threats. CrossCode's combat is a lot better, granted, but Harvestella's isn't that bad once it gets going. I would say it's the weakest part of the game, [i]buuuut...[/i] [b][u]The Story[/b][/u] It sucks. Like, honestly. The dialogue is so awful. Like, there are a lot of really dumb examples I could use for how bad this dialogue is, but the stupidest line so far probably has to be "So this is the power of the Shadow Assassin..". Like, seriously, it's so dumb. Lots of generic anime nonsense. Moving on! [b][u]How the Farming and Dungeons come together[/b][/u] One of the big reasons Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is so good is because the two halves of the game are inseparable. Your EXP is governed by your farming, so you can't fight the progressively tougher enemies without taking care of your farm, but you can't take care of your farm without the materials you get from diving into dungeons and fighting enemies. This might seem simple, but failing in this regard can ruin the entire game--see Cult of the Lamb for instance, which kinda sucked because the two halves of the game were so separate. So how does Harvestella compare? Well, it's no Sakuna, but honestly, not all that badly. While your farm doesn't affect your combat prowess directly, as far as I've seen so far, there aren't any healing potions in this game. The only way to heal mid-dungeon is to use food. And food needs to be cooked, mostly using ingredients that you're growing on the farm. While not the best way to tie the two halves together--as theoretically gitting gud enough means you won't have to rely on healing anymore--I find this to be a fun way to do it. However, where these games always seem to fail is the other way around; making the dungeons benefit your farm. Harvestella is no exception. You could theoretically never go into dungeons at all, and just spend all your days harvesting crops, and your farm wouldn't suffer at all for it. At least going into dungeons isn't, like, actively detrimental to your farm--which was a big issue with Cult of the Lamb (granted that was a town sim not a farm sim)--but, like, I find this really annoying. These games are usually just built in a way that kind of assumes players are going to just want to dive into dungeons for no reason--which is fine--but then treat the farm like this is the part of the game that the players don't [i]really[/i] want, and so they try to justify the farm (or town sim, or whatever) with some sort of way to benefit the dungeon, rather than treating both halves of the game as equals. A big part of what makes Sakuna so good is that it fully embraced what it was; it was built so that both halves of the game were intertwined with one another in such a way that neither could exist without the other. So many of these "RPGs one on hand, farming/town sim/other relaxing thing on the other" games simply don't treat the two halves of the games as equals. They aren't willing to fully embrace their identity as a split genre game. Harvestella is by no means the worst offender of this, and it's fine as is, but it's just something that kinda bugs me. Moving on. [b][u]Would I recommend it[/b][/u] Yes, I think I would. I'm actually having a lot more fun with the game than I anticipated. The main draw is definitely the farming here, so if you're not into farming then it's probably not your thing, as while the aRPG side isn't horrible, there are also just better aRPGs out there. The gameplay loop of waking up, taking care of your farm, then heading out to a dungeon to handle whatever quests you have is always fun, and while the game isn't quite as good as Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, it's the second best game I've found going for this split-genre thing. It's better than Cult of the Lamb, if nothing else! If you haven't played Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, well, there's literally no reason to play Harvestella over that. Sakuna is better in literally every way. If you have already played Sakuna, though, and are looking for another game with a similar gameplay loop, Harvestella is an alright way to go. [b][u]Tl;dr? Here's my point![/b][/u] Harvestella is alright. I didn't give it a fair chance my first time around. Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is better, play that first, but Harvestella is alright, too. But that's all for now folks! Jambuhbye!

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