No franchise has been within the farming recreation so long as Story of Seasons, greatest often known as Bokujo Monogatari in Japan (and beforehand often known as Harvest Moon in North America). Celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary, the collection created a method that’s impressed hit video games like Stardew Valley. However in recent times, it’s struggled to remain related with recent concepts. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City tries to maintain the flame alive by having you develop a city and offering enjoyable options (like a photograph mode and museum) to fill with discoveries. The loop is entertaining, however the rewards aren’t satisfying sufficient for the funding required to get them.
Like its predecessors, Pioneers of Olive City begins with you touchdown in a small village and beginning a brand new life as a farmer. Olive City is struggling, and the mayor asks on your assist in turning it round. You obtain growth initiatives, which require you to assemble up the proper supplies to enhance very important parts like roads, benches, and the city corridor. Watching town remodel with every improve feels worthwhile, since extra vacationers come to the realm and Olive City begins to look far more engaging. Nonetheless, don’t count on to have a lot management over the city’s transformation. You get requested questions as in case your opinion and path issues, however all solutions result in the identical place, and occurring fetch quest after fetch quest will get tiresome quick.
That being mentioned, the core loop of taking a farm from nothing to a profitable operation remains to be entertaining. I regarded ahead to each facility improve, new animal, or crafting recipe I may unlock. When you’re wandering the wilderness, it’s also possible to now tame wild animals and convey them to the farm, that means you’re not at all times shelling out money for brand spanking new livestock. Cash can come straightforward, however it’s the supplies you want for the crafting, townspeople requests, and constructing enhancements that convey on the problem. I didn’t thoughts this at first; breaking rocks for ores, reducing down bushes for lumber, and cleansing up puddles for clay is straightforward sufficient. However these things must be processed in machines, and every machine has a singular objective, from changing milk into cheese to turning wool into yarn. The issue? Not solely are there far too lots of them for every little factor, however inserting the required supplies solely produces one transformed merchandise, so in case you want 50 of a particular sort of lumber (and you’ll), it may well take a maddening period of time. You may construct a couple of of every machine sort, however they take up very important area.
My journey by Pioneers of Olive City was filled with highs and lows. Issues both got here too straightforward, like wooing the townsperson of my alternative, or required an excessive amount of effort, like unlocking some farm amenities. I used to be impressed with how a lot there’s to do, however it all comes at a value; I felt like I may by no means spend time exploring sure features, comparable to creating clothes or moving into cooking, as a result of they require treasured time and really feel insignificant in comparison with your different duties.
Olive City’s areas appear small at first, however as you construct bridges to new areas, meet Earth Sprites that take you to particular locales, and search numerous caves with treasure-filled flooring, issues develop an awesome deal. You might be continuously bettering your expertise as you do the essential duties of tilling the land, reducing down bushes, breaking rocks, and this in turns opens up extra crafting recipes to get you issues like computerized feeds on your livestock or ornamental furnishings. This gives a satisfying sense of your character progressing and new issues to at all times sit up for.
I additionally loved the enjoyable little touches like having the ability to journey a bike or use the varied mounts to get round. Festivals are hit-or-miss, with some being extra interactive than others. The sport additionally gives a museum much like Animal Crossing, the place you may donate your treasures, fish, and pictures you’ve taken of wildlife. Furnishings and home upgrades are additionally aplenty, though your own home feels a bit confined to the place you may place issues. You’ve gotten this spacious format, with solely a specific, smaller space to actually adorn as your individual.
For these within the social features, you get new scenes at a gentle fee by strolling across the city and speaking to villagers, which made me need to take the time to go to them. I regarded ahead to those scenes to study extra concerning the folks in Olive City, however total, I didn’t discover this solid memorable or thrilling. Nobody is outright annoying (aside from perhaps meals critic Lovett), however the villagers merely fill their roles as store house owners and members of the group and supply nothing distinctive past that. The occasions as you progress in a romance fare a lot better, as they actually do seize the chemistry and progress in your relationship.
I principally had a nice time with Pioneers of Olive City, however it isn’t essentially the most technically sound recreation. Patches have continued to enhance my expertise, however count on some annoying loading occasions, framerate points (particularly stuttering), and the occasional recreation freeze. Nothing induced me to cease enjoying in frustration, however bear in mind that that is nonetheless not the smoothest expertise.
Pioneers of Olive City is an honest Story of Seasons entry, however it’s no more than that. I nonetheless acquired absorbed by the core method of bettering my farm and cherished making new discoveries as I explored. I’ve loads of issues I get pleasure from about this recreation, however encountered simply as many who didn’t hit the mark. I can also’t get away from pondering, in spite of everything this time, shouldn’t this collection be making bigger leaps ahead and leaving a stronger impression?
For extra on Pioneers of Olive City, you may try these 5 quick suggestions from the director!