Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life
Platforms: Nintendo Swtich | PlayStation 5 | Xbox Series X and Series S | PC
Genres: RPG | Life Simulation | Adventure | Casual | Simulation
Publishers: XSEED Games | Marvellous Europe Limited | Marvellous
Release Date: 27th June, 2023
CULT CRITIC : ★ 7.5
Nearly two decades later, Marvelous Inc.'s development team has remade the game with XSEED, contributing to the expansion of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory franchises. While A Wonderful Life attempts to evoke a sense of reminiscence for a GameCube classic, it may not offer enough to stand out in the crowded subgenre it helped establish. However, it is on the right track.
A Wonderful Life, like many Harvest Moon games, begins with the protagonist inheriting a farm from a family member. As they develop relationships with the locals and eventually wed one of them, the protagonist's father's best friend Takakura teaches them how to farm. Same-sex marriage and child rearing are also incorporated into the game, making it accessible to LGBTQ+ players.
The other Story of Seasons games, such as Friends of Mineral Town and Friends of Olive Town, do not give players the opportunity to explore different epochs in the protagonist's life like A Wonderful Life does. You bring up a kid from early stages to adulthood, and your decisions influence how the kid ultimately ends up. Getting to this stage of life requires hours of gameplay, but it does provide more "plot" outside of the core gameplay loop.
The remake utilizes many of the original game's mechanics in a similar manner. However, it feels like a missed opportunity when developers could have added more quality-of-life features like item stacking or a fail-safe for planting crops without overlapping with one another, both of which were present in Rune Factory 5.
A Wonderful Life simply gives the beloved classic a facelift, for better or worse, when it probably needed more.