Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is yet another release in the series to pick up where other farming simulators have left off. After playing Friends of Mineral Town a few weeks ago, this next installment is clear to show some extreme developments in the franchise. For those who have reached New Horizons burnout and played through Stardew one too many times now, this game might be for you. With such wholesomeness readily available on yet another farming adventure, Pioneers of Olive Town inherits all the best bits. Seasons pass and you continue to farm crops and raise animals, and get to know the townsfolk. It’s all comfortable and something you’ve experienced before. Even down to the inheritance of your farmland.
The grind never stops
You are given a large section of map to work on from the moment you arrive, but tasks have to be completed in chunks. As per usual, you need to upgrade your tools in order to face the larger challenges. You can access so much from the get go, including the mine to harvest ore in order to upgrade but progress still feels slow. Stamina depletes slightly slower than it originally did in the Story of Seasons game so more can be achieved per day. Despite this being a definite plus for the game, it is still annoying. When you start out, you want to be able to progress quickly to get the farm going which seems impossible. It feels a bit like you spend more time worrying about stamina than you do actually achieving anything.
The character creator you are given at the beginning of a game is a first for the franchise. You are able to fully customise your character, including selecting a voice from a wide variety. Rather than having to choose between a standard male or female pre-built character you are open to present yourself as whatever you’d like. The characters already within the game are a little boring though. In the first season, and during your first interactions, they seem excellent. There are many new faces to greet and you have a good time doing so. But as the days pass, they become static and repeat the same things. Interactions are few and far between and you will more than likely lose interest in speaking to others. When there’s an event on, townsfolk will fixate on speaking about that and only that. Even after the event has finished. It feels lacklustre and could definitely use some work. Especially as you are intended to find a love interest in the comfort of Olive Town.
Makers on makers on makers
Additionally, the game does become a little repetitive regarding construction. You need to build a whole army of makers in order to progress. Even though your farm seems extremely spacious when you begin, it quickly clogs up with these eyesores. It seems so tedious and becomes very frustrating in a short space of time. Each maker produces one product, so you spend a lot of time hanging about the farm and just waiting. If you think you can get round this, I can reassure you now that it is inevitable. You will end up with a whole field of these.
The game recycles a lot of content already featured in the franchise. Although the new character customisation and photo mode is refreshing, it doesn’t seem like enough to tie us over. Despite the art style and location being different, the game as a whole remains the same. It’s enjoyable, sure. But to fans of the franchise it’s a little disappointing since we have all definitely experienced it beforehand.