With the rise in popularity of farming simulator games, thanks in large part to the success of Stardew Valley, companies have been attempting to capitalize on this by re-releasing old favorite in the genre. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is one such release available for $14.99 on the PS4.
Additionally, the game is free with the purchase of a PS Now Subscription. A PlayStation Now Subscription is a service that allows customers to stream PS4, PS3, and even PS2 games on their PlayStation4 devices. When they say stream the game, however, it is important to note that does not mean remastered. No improvements or enhancements are added to the original title, and the graphics stay the same.
The PSN Remasters & Retro Sale continues! Snag a pair of classic #HarvestMoon titles on PS4 for a sweet price~
Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland – https://t.co/l1FRd8Q2H1
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life – https://t.co/W98BHAW0Th pic.twitter.com/MYDCoG4cj5
— Natsume Inc. (@Natsume_Inc) February 18, 2020
While the game has been available on the PS4 for some time, the reason I talk about it now is that I have recently purchased the old game in a fit of nostalgia. However, I cannot recommend that others do the same unless they already happen to be a PS Now member.
The original game was a cult classic, and as I played on the Gamecube I never had issues with the control scheme. However, since porting to the Playstation 4 I find the game cumbersome to navigate. Unresponsive controls, no control mapping options, and an inverted right stick control scheme makes even walking around in the game unnecessarily difficult.
While the game isn’t advertised as remastered, it is still a surprise that the game wasn’t even optimized for use on the PS4. This especially holds true when considering the $14.99 price tag when you purchase without PS Now.
Another concern is the lack of any kind of “Sound” menu. The only real reason this is a concern in a game like Harvest Moon is due to the poor audio mixing found in this version of the title.
The music is almost unbearably loud when compared to other in-game audio, and I often found myself turning the volume on my TV way down to compensate, at the price of the other ambient sounds the game had to offer. This is unfortunate as the soundtrack itself is actually quite pleasant.
While the Harvest Moon series might not appeal to everyone, I encourage caution when purchasing other old titles from the PlayStation Store, as there could be similar implementation issues.
This also calls into question the value of a PS Now subscription as other titles have reported similar problems. While the service is a great idea that could be useful for other companies as well (streaming old Pokemon games on the Nintendo Switch anyone?), at the present there are some notable issues to work out first.