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Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Review

Anyone who has played a Story of Seasons game before knows the plot of Pioneers of Olive Town: an enterprising young 20-year-old escapes city life and takes over his grandfather’s old, dilapidated farm outside a small, rural village struggling to keep residents entertained. . To turn things around, you grow crops, raise animals, talk to city people and repeat. Pioneers in Olive Town are not trying to change that, but it adds a huge amount of land to manage and create mechanics to work with, and that complements the familiar loop into a complete, enjoyable experience. For those of us who have played Stardew Valley non-stop for the past five years, it is a much needed update. Pioneers in Olive Town are full of things to do, and as the seasons go by, I was amazed at how much I packed into one day ̵
1; as well as how much more I still wanted to do at the end of each one. At any time, you work towards rebuilding a structure, clearing a new piece of land, planning another excursion in one of several mines, and saving for the purchase of a new tool upgrade, trying to complete a mission to develop the city, and trying to get the cute girl who works at the museum to take a walk on the beach with you. These are pretty common things for the most part.The most dramatic differences that separate Olive Town and previous Story of Seasons games are the materials and craft systems, and the sheer size of farmland you have to remove. The former borrows heavily from (surprise!) Stardew Valley, and teaches you new craft recipes as you level up various skills such as mining, fishing and logging. This includes a number of recipes for machines that will convert materials into other materials, such as wood for timber or ore for rods.

It’s a problem to have to fuss with machines instead of all the other, much more fun pieces, like exploring the huge farm I had inherited.

But there are simply too many of these! Some of them even perform very similar functions, such as Maker machines that convert thread into cloth, but then completely separate to make wool into, well, another cloth. Or the separate machines for converting rice and beans into powder, converting herbs into spices and salt and pepper into spices. I could have done without, as half of these machines, especially since I was a few seasons in, half of my farm looked like an industrial area between all the machines I had run at once and all the storage boxes I had to set up to keep all the products organized for when I inevitably need them to build something. Story of Seasons would be much better if cultivating your farm did not necessitate something like a quarter of each game day to play a completely different management sim instead of the actual farming sim I wanted to play.

It’s a problem to have to fuss with machines instead of all the other, much more fun pieces, like exploring the huge farm I had inherited. As with previous games in the series, Story of Seasons starts you off with a small, overgrown piece of land that you will slowly remove from trees, rocks and grass with tools such as an ax, a hammer and a scythe. You will also repair dilapidated structures, such as a chicken coop, using the materials you get from clearing the land (and later from running these materials through as 20 different machines). Early on, the plot of land you start with seems like a lot to handle and certainly enough space to farm in.

Then you need to repair the bridge.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Review

Crossing the bridge southwest of your farm reveals a plot of land twice as large, just overgrown and with new, dilapidated structures to repair. And there are even more parts of the country beyond that. The farm is just huge, ok? When you repair the stable, you need the horse to get you back and forth over the stretches to do your daily chores. That means plenty of room to build and grow whatever you want, including making ridiculous decorations like, I’m not kidding you, a giant top cow.

Unfortunately, the size makes it clear that Story of Seasons struggles to run on a smooth frame, especially when running over an area with many things on the screen. And the scale of the farm can become time consuming later because puddles, weeds and trees grow back quickly. If you want to keep the land clear, you spend a lot of time driving all over your yard and hammering down unwanted sprouts. The worst offenders are puddles and even larger ponds, which appear in abundance every time it rains and require repeated, tedious use of a bucket to drain if you want the space back.

There has obviously been a lot of love for both the original writing and the location of some of these scenes, as well as the willingness to be silly

But the size works mostly in its favor, as you need all that space for your hundred converter machines, but also for crop and animal grazing. And it’s just fun to explore these new areas too, because every new section you unlock contains new docile things, new materials to build, new buildings to rebuild. In addition, each season brings new cute stray animals that you can eventually tame and add to the barn and cook. A highlight of my entire gameplay was unlocking new areas, discovering the embarrassment of riches that awaited me within, and enjoying even seasons later in new roaming animals like a silly brown cow and the dumbest, cutest rabbit I’ve ever seen, ready to be tamed.

It’s good that the days in Pioneers of Olive Town are long, because getting to your farm is only half the job, and there are really only piles to do every day. The Olive Town itself is significant and will grow with new shops and activities when you complete assignments for the city mayor. For example, you will unlock a salon with a wide variety of customization options that will grow even more over time. Delicious, all options are available for all characters, regardless of gender.

The residents of Olive Town may not seem like much when you first talk to them. Most of them will make similar comments about which event is closest in the calendar – so in anticipation of the Pet Derby for a few days, and then discuss the results of the Pet Derby in the next few days. It’s unfortunate that the everyday dialogue is so boring, because the cutscenes are where characters are really going to shine. There has obviously been a lot of love for both the original writing and the localization of some of these scenes, as well as a willingness to lean in and be tough and heavy in the cheek as usual.The solid writing extends to the cast of five bachelors and bachelorette parties, all of whom have many charming interactions with you as you increase their love for you with gifts and conversations. The bachelorette parties are a little more varied in appearance and personalities than the bachelors, but the good news is that if the men are not looking for you effectively, you can date women just as easily, regardless of the gender you play as. Thank you Harvest Goddess that Marvelous did away with “friendship ceremonies” after the remake of Friends of Mineral Town made it as gay as you like a standard for the series.

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