Review cover Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (Nintendo 3DS)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): February 28, 2017
  • Release Date (JP): June 23, 2016
  • Publisher: Marvelous
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Genres: Farming, Simulation

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
The raging crusade against Harvest Moon's farming simulator dominance continues in Story of Seasons' latest installment for 3DS.

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Living up to the title

As you may have guessed, Trio of Towns' defining feature is its inclusion of two extra towns. The usual bustling marketplace seen in most farming games has now become three bustling marketplaces. The somewhat dully-named Westown is an appropriately wild-west themed village, the Hawaiian town of Lulukolo has a heavy Polynesian theme, and the eastern Tsuyukusa hits close to home for the Japanese developers. Each town has its own individual NPCs, shops, and quirks; to give an example, Lulukolo closes all shops for a "mid-day siesta" to beat the heat. Each town has its own festivals, eligible bachelors, and prices, giving the player a plethora of places to visit during the day. 

Lots of the title involves increasing the Town Link Rank, which starts out as an E for each town and can be increased up to A.  This can be increased by forming relationships, patronizing shops, doing small jobs, and attending other social events in each town. There are also rewards to be had for getting each rank to A, so it's beneficial to visit and socialize in every town each day. 

 

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While this addition may not seem like much, this is a huge step up in terms of the content and longevity that this game can offer. Prioritizing farm chores, social events, and relationship development in three different places is a challenging activity in itself. This might seem overwhelming, but Trio of Towns goes out of its way to make this all possible. The various townships' schedules tend to line up with each other in a way that makes patronizing all of them within any given day entirely doable. Settling into the right rhythm of hopping from town to town to town is a good feeling which makes the player feel on top of things, so to speak.

Agriculture is bliss 

Admittedly, Story of Seasons is slow to start. Half an hour of entirely unnecessary cutscenes and tutorials are definitely a slog to get through. The tiny house, inadequate farm lands, and single town feel very limiting at first and are an unnecessary way of slowing progress. However, once everything gets unlocked, the experience becomes much more pleasurable and relaxing. Like I said earlier, settling into a rhythm feels smooth and easy, and there's no particular stress to do anything unless the player wants to. If someone really wanted they could quit farming and just focus on getting married or vice versa. The freedom to choose is here in a very low-pressure environment. While the game certainly does encourage a little bit of everything in terms of farming, husbandry and relationships, it's unnecessary to do any of those if it's inconvenient. Story of Seasons does an excellent job of putting the control in the hands of the player.

 

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This leads into the title's atmosphere and the general farming experience. In one word, the entire ambiance of the title could be described as "peaceful". The music, the events, and the whole essence of Story of Seasons is calming and made to please. There is basically no stress to be had in any situation, making it a perfect game to put down and pick up at any time. Although eventually plants and animals can be lost due to lack of care, caring for them is no difficult task, and the game is somewhat forgiving when it comes to forgetting to feed the chickens or water the potatoes. Overall, Trio of Towns does a good job of keeping the player relaxed throughout the experience, disguising the many layers of content it contains.  

A trove of features and content

While it may not initially appear expansive, Trio of Towns is absolutely packed with content, giving the title a surprising amount of longevity. There are over 40 individual NPCs, many of whom can be courted for marriage, and each of them has different lines for different events and different times of the year, each with a unique personality. Surprisingly, a huge variety of pets is also a main feature, ranging from common dogs and cats to the adorable capybara. Pets can accompany the main character on walks, unlocking many different dialogues, sometimes even between pets and other animals.The strange "furmiliar" system involves a weird initiation ritual which essentially selects a pet as a favorite and "bonds" it with the main character, also unlocking various different events. 

 

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Other new features include fishing in any body of water that can be accessed, which is a noticeable improvement from the previous title, in which fishing was only possible at one spot. Quick greetings can be sent to NPCs by pressing the L button to determine their mood and affection, as a small response is shown at the bottom of the screen. All these small optimizations make the game feel much more full-featured when compared to its predecessor and serve to heighten Trio of Towns' quality.

Unfortunately, I did find presentation to be a bit lacking. While the 2D assets are nicely drawn and look great, the 3D models are clearly in need of some work. The proportions are off in a semi-chibi style that looks inhuman and is unappealing to me. Performance takes a hit here as well, as frame rate drops frequently occur during certain events. While some of the stereoscopic 3D effects look nice and are well-executed, the performance takes too much of an overall hit as a result. Unremarkable, often repetitive music doesn't help make up for these visual issues either. However, good character designs and 2D assets do offset the generally poor quality of the 3D figures. 

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Relaxing atmosphere
  • Tons of content
  • Three towns is better than one!
  • Low pressure environment
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Slow start
  • Shoddy 3D models
8
Gameplay
The gentle rhythm of a low pressure farming life quickly takes over after an unusually slow start to an otherwise relaxing and frustration-free gameplay experience.
6
Presentation
While the 3D models and performance are certainly a bit lacking, the quality character design and 2D portraits make up for these faults to some extent.
9
Lasting Appeal
Packed to the brim with content and replayability, the investment in this title is sure to pay off with many hours sunk into its many meaty layers of depth.
8
out of 10

Overall

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns improves upon its predecessor significantly by adding tons of content and many new features and mechanics. While the title comes out slow, it quickly picks up to a nice, steady speed which serves to relax the player and keep up a gentle atmosphere. Presentation issues aside, Trio of Towns with its plethora of content is certainly an enjoyable timesink.
add to con : they removed Hantaro from western release :v
lololo sad that they never tell the real reason just that " oh we had a reason!, of course" but just come with an excuse " nobody care to hamtaro merchandise on western nowadays" :T
they could at least replace him with Jerry (? xD)

anyway XD I was looking for this , I really like the bokujou monogatari series, but I even stop playing when I fell it taking much of my time ... I don't even finished a year on the a new beginning yet :x

and I wanted the capibara plush
 
add to con : they removed Hantaro from western release :v
lololo sad that they never tell the real reason just that " oh we had a reason!, of course" but just come with an excuse " nobody care to hamtaro merchandise on western nowadays" :T
they could at least replace him with Jerry (? xD)

anyway XD I was looking for this , I really like the bokujou monogatari series, but I even stop playing when I fell it taking much of my time ... I don't even finished a year on the a new beginning yet :x

and I wanted the capibara plush
where did they say no hamtaro?? D: '
 
Probably. But not being able to get the license for Hamtaro is a pretty definite reason lol.
them, they should have told that instead of covering like that XD

I really hate these stuff in the way of how the games where made :/ we could get the japanese game and still have hamtaro on the place they don't allowed him, right? XD
 
them, they should have told that instead of covering like that XD

I really hate these stuff in the way of how the games where made :/ we could get the japanese game and still have hamtaro on the place they don't allowed him, right? XD
Yeah but I think that still falls under the licensing publisher. I believe the NA publisher couldn't get the license for hamtaro and the other monkey looking thing because they aren't considered as big here as in Japan, while the Japanese publishing house could get it with no issues. So if you bought the Japanese game, you'd essentially be getting it from the JPN publishing company, which has all the license. I'm hoping hamtaro is still in the English game cart as data so we can eventually - hopefully hack him in !!
 
Is that a foxgirl? Sold! I need this game, now!
There are a foxboy too ...
Yeah but I think that still falls under the licensing publisher. I believe the NA publisher couldn't get the license for hamtaro and the other monkey looking thing because they aren't considered as big here as in Japan, while the Japanese publishing house could get it with no issues. So if you bought the Japanese game, you'd essentially be getting it from the JPN publishing company, which has all the license. I'm hoping hamtaro is still in the English game cart as data so we can eventually - hopefully hack him in !!
Yeah but I mean being straight with the fans... other hand they could recolor them or something to make look like an easter egg but still there lolololo
If he were removed, I wonder if it's possible to get the English text over the jp game... sure it's not going to work smooth but well is something we can try xD
 
I sawn on their twitter/localization blog :/
hope we can easily restore him with hacking the game Xp

Won't be that easy. You'd need to change the ConstData.xbb file in the root of the ROM, and that's been trimmed down from the original so just hex editing it is a no go.

And I can't really find much information regarding xbb files outside of Msg.xbb

I've managed to restore everything except Hamtaro's model because of the ConstData.xbb.

If he were removed, I wonder if it's possible to get the English text over the jp game... sure it's not going to work smooth but well is something we can try xD

Tried this as well, it lead to some bizarre results. Either replacing every single line in the game with .........。 or just crashing on boot.

And yes, the Hamtaro stuff is translated in the NA version.

lvQDjmh.png

OnymkkK.png


But they removed literally everything else that isn't his AI or references to his model.
 
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Tried this as well, it lead to some bizarre results. Either replacing every single line in the game with .........。 or just crashing on boot.
maybe it need the font too? pokemon platinum had similar results when I was messing with the Chinese fan translation

And yes, the Hamtaro stuff is translated in the NA version.

lvQDjmh.png

OnymkkK.png


But they removed literally everything else that isn't his AI or references to his model.
oh :c
 
"The raging crusade against Harvest Moon's farming simulator dominance"... you realize story of seasons IS harvest moon... right? it was simply re-branded for its international release.
 
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"The raging crusade against Harvest Moon's farming simulator dominance"... you realize story of seasons IS harvest moon... right? it was simply re-branded for its international release.
Not for international release, more because Natsume basically ran off and took the trademarked Harvest Moon name with them. So they took the literal translation of the Japanese version and marvelous and xseed partnered up with each other to produce the SOS games.
 
it's simple actually :
natsume still have the " harvets moon" brand but lost the right to translate the game " Bokujou Monogatari", other teams get the game but had to give a new english name, while Natsume still creating new cheapy HM not related to bokumono and looks bad enough to don't get another languages :v
 
Not for international release, more because Natsume basically ran off and took the trademarked Harvest Moon name with them. So they took the literal translation of the Japanese version and marvelous and xseed partnered up with each other to produce the SOS games.
my point is that sos isnt competing with harvest moon because its only different in name only. its literally the same series it's always been in japan. also,technically the literal translation of the japanese name (Bokujō Monogatari) is "ranch story" or "farm story", not harvest moon, not that it matters or anything, just a fun fact.
 
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my point is that sos isnt competing with harvest moon because its only different in name only. its literally the same series it's always been in japan. also,technically the literal translation of the japanese name (Bokujō Monogatari) is "ranch story" or "farm story", not harvest moon, not that it matters or anything, just a fun fact.
I said story of seasons is closer to the translation of the Japanese game, not harvest moon. What harvest moon games have become since the split is a joke. And I'm glad they went with the new name change anyways, just wish other people and reviewers could understand as much without thinking the way they do in reviews like this.
 
I said story of seasons is closer to the translation of the Japanese game, not harvest moon. What harvest moon games have become since the split is a joke. And I'm glad they went with the new name change anyways, just wish other people and reviewers could understand as much without thinking the way they do in reviews like this.
well, you actually said "literal translation", and i wasnt correcting you, i just mentioned it, which is why i followed it with "not that it matters or anything, just a fun fact"
 
Somehow I did not notice this sooner.

Those two are the exact same character, even in the game's coding. There's only one version of them and it does not differentiate them at all by gender or your gender.
really? LOl so the only change is the portait and stuff?
 
Wow I wanted to buy this game today, to my surprise it isn't sold in Europe... So I actually have to pirate it... god damn it.
 
Wow I wanted to buy this game today, to my surprise it isn't sold in Europe... So I actually have to pirate it... god damn it.
you still can import xD but maybe the european release come more complete? :v (or at least hamtaro XD)
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): February 28, 2017
  • Release Date (JP): June 23, 2016
  • Publisher: Marvelous
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Genres: Farming, Simulation
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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