Harvest Moon: Light of Hope Special Edition is a farming simulator and role-playing game. After arriving in a new place devastated by a storm, it's up to you to rebuild the farms and the town to get everything back up and running again.
Pro You get to rebuild and manage a small town
As part of the main story, you find yourself in a storm-wrecked town that needs to be rebuilt. You take it upon yourself to get the farms, livestock, buildings, and economy back up and running again. Even though Harvest Moon is mainly a farming simulator, there's plenty more to do here. You have access to plots of land to farm, mines for quarrying, bodies of water for fishing, and you can prioritize which town buildings to restore, all in order to bring the residents back. Your priorities and choices make all the difference in how everything gets rebuilt.
Pro Tons of freedom to do what you want at your own pace
You can do whatever you feel like without worrying about too many restrictions. With the main story quest, you get to pick and choose your approach to rebuilding the town. This means that you can focus on fishing and mining over farming if you prefer, aside from instances where someone in the story requests a certain item that you can farm up yourself. There are no looming time restrictions or anything like that; you can go at your own speed and do whatever you choose from day to day.
Pro Farming simulator mechanics are simple to pick up and learn
Farming in Harvest Moon is easy to learn. You have a plot of land with squares of fertile soil, and then you just need seeds for whatever you'd like to plant. Caring for your your crops is only a matter of keeping up the habit of watering them, as well as making sure you pluck out any weeds that crop up from time to time. As long as you have the seeds you want and you remember to take care of your farm, you'll be successful in no time.
Pro Two-player co-op speeds up resource gathering for both players
Playing with a friend makes things go by much quicker. You and one other person can co-op to collect resources together, basically cutting your required time for quests by half. Aside from simply enjoying the game with someone else, if you have a goal you want to accomplish and you feel like it's taking a long time, co-op can help speed things along.
Con Bland visuals
The graphics and presentation are nothing to write home about. They look awkward, with the 3D character sprites moving around in a 2D environment, with odd details that don't look quite right. The sprites themselves are pretty low-effort as well, and they don't at all look like they're advanced enough for a home console. Everything just looks low-effort all around and not that great to look at.
Con Farming is almost pointless outside of story events
Even though Harvest Moon is a farming simulator at its core, the trade is surprisingly not that useful in this game. During your main quest to restore the town and earn money, you have the option of farming, fishing, and mining; by and large, farming is the least efficient of the three, taking more time and earning you less money in the long-run. It's much more productive to either go fishing or mining if you want to rake in more cash at a faster rate, as farming just isn't worth it for the long-haul.
Con Not enough new characters
Most of the townspeople here are recycled from previous games in the series. It's a bit lazy to have so many of the same NPCs around without introducing many new ones. Fans of the Harvest Moon games might be happy to see their old favorites again, though they may also get bored by the lack of new faces around. New players won't notice anything wrong, though.
Con Bugs and game crashes
There are some instances where you may run into bugs or the game will outright crash. Sometimes, quests don't progress they way they should, leading you down the wrong paths or refusing to accept items that you're actually supposed to hand in. Game crashes are also unpredictable, varying in how often they happen. So until a few more patches get released, you may want to be more careful about saving often, just in case you have to redo a quest or you lose out on progress from a sudden crash.