First I would like to thank Publisher XSEED Games for providing me with a review copy of Return to Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale. If you’re not familiar with the Story of Seasons series, I’m actually new to it as well. A new game based on the Japanese PopoloCrois Story comic book series, and a new entry in the wildly successful Bokujo Monogatari farming and life simulation series, now known as STORY OF SEASONS in the West. The simplicity makes it a good title for players new to JRPGs and the difficulty is at a enjoyable pace. Veterans of JRPG games might be disappointed by the easy difficulty but it does make up for it in other aspects. Don’t worry about reading spoilers as I won’t be revealing any major story details.
The story of Return to Popolocrois resumes off the previous game Story of Seasons. It’s Prince Pietro’s 13th birthday, and townsfolk of PopoloCrois are ready to start the festivities. PopoloCrois is experiencing troubles from shadowy creatures who are affecting the soil. You are visited by Marmela who is representing another kingdom called Galariland. Her kingdom is also experiencing the same tragedy and offers to provide a solution. You are now given the task of personally visiting Galariland to learn the ways the citizens are combating the effects of the shadowy creatures. You soon realize you have no chance to return home and learn the real reason why you have been sent to Galariland. Pietro makes a farmhouse a haven and learns to cultivate the land of Galariland. Its your responsibility to restore Galariland to its former glory and find a way home. Many obstacles are in your way but with the help of allies you will find a way to make it happen.
In my experience of playing this game I found myself removing the voice acting in the game itself. Only certain parts of the dialog are actually spoken out and at first i thought it was audio/video syncing issue. While some might not find this an issue, I found having no spoken dialog to be a better experience. Maybe in the next game XSEED should consider having all the dialog spoken out and not just certain lines. If you hope farming will be a big aspect of the game be prepared to be disappointed. Return to Popolocrois treats this as an optional mechanic and therefore many people will probably not engage in this in-game activity. This element is more of a side quest than anything else but you do gain stronger weapons from accomplishing the duties. If your a fan of Harvest Moon you will enjoy growing crops, raising livestock, mining for materials and making new items with the synthesis feature.
The combat in the game is pretty standard and offers newer features that current JRPG games have now made standard. With auto and manual modes, you can change up the amount of tactics you want control over. Fights are completely random encounters and can also be adjusted to minimize grinding. This is great if you hate consistent fights and want to focus more on the story elements of the game. Customization is pretty bland but gets the job done and doesn’t overwhelm the casual player. Your combat is not stationary and uses a grid layout to progress with attacks. You also have access to specials and that have decent animations to them. Dungeons are also pretty basic and feel really repetitive. I was able to complete the game without hardly ever dying and I can state this is the easiest JRPG I have ever played.
This has a fantastic story and will keep you going to reach the conclusion you’re hoping for. It’s by far the strongest reason to play this game and with more games continuing this series. I can see this franchise getting bigger if they continue to better develop the features present here. Overall I would recommend trying it out if you new to JRPG games and veterans will enjoy it if you had high appreciate for the simple JRPG games the SNES offered. I hope you enjoy this review and once again I would like to thank XSeed for making this review possible.
Team Hackinformer signing out