As promised, I have sent two preliminary Guides for Hero of Leaf Valley to IGN. One is my Walkthrough/General Guide and the other is a mini-guide in the form of a Calendar of Festivals and Birthdays. Both are rather skeletal at this point, obviously. I have had the game only for one day, and there is a limit to the amount of work I can do in that amount of time!
Nonetheless, there should be SOME useful information in the Guide and as always, I will update my Guides daily until they are as comprehensive as possible.
I did play 'Save the Homeland' a few years ago and in some respects, 'Hero of Leaf Valley' is rather similar to that wonderful Playstation title. Without wishing to cast any shadow on the older game, I have to confess that 'Hero of Leaf Valley' far surpasses its predecessor. There are more Events and more Endings, BUT beyond that, there is the ability to marry and continue to play your EXISTING game AFTER you save the Land. In 'Save the Homeland', the game actually ENDED when you saved the land. You could carry over some of your assets to a new game, but you still had to start anew after any Ending had occurred. Moreover, although you could 'court' some of the Girls in a limited fashion, it would not lead to any life that you could experience firsthand.
In 'Hero of Leaf Valley', much like 'An Innocent Life', your successful completion of the primary quest does not bring the game to an end. You can rest on your laurels, as it were, and continue your life in Leaf Valley once the threat of destruction has been negated. You do have only two years to complete one of the Stories that will 'save the land', but if you fail for any reason, you will be able to keep some of your assets when you start again.
As some of the 'Happy Endings' are very easy to complete, there is no reason why your Character should fail in his Quest. As a matter of fact, if a player is at all uncertain of his potential at the start, he can choose one of the easier Storylines first, in order to familiarise himself with the game and to be able to devote more energy to his own private life while still moving forward towards the vital quest of saving the land.
The fundamental basis of 'Hero of Leaf Valley' is quintessentially founded on the philosophy of Harvest Moon. The last game I played was Sunshine Islands and in the dialogues both of Mark and Chelsea at different Heart Levels, it is interesting to find the underlying principles that created 'Hero of Leaf Valley'.
Mark's Dialogues in his guest room at the Inn:
At Black Heart:
My dream is to become a rancher. Living together with nature is wonderful!
At Purple Heart:
I don’t like big cities because I feel too removed from nature.
At Blue Heart:
It feels nice when the crops you care for grow really well.
At Green Heart:
I keep in touch with my family through letters. Every one seems to be doing well.
At Yellow Heart:
Mark: People need to learn how to respect nature and live with it.
At Orange Heart, a rather heartrending fact:
Mark: The hill that I played on when I was small got flattened for city development.
At Red Heart:
Mark: Freya, your Asgard Ranch is awesome! You have my respect.
As you can see, the dramatic confession at Orange Heart Level mirrors the possible destruction of Leaf Valley, an idyllic place filled with natural beauty that could be 'flattened for city development' by the Funpark Corporation.
You will find links to the two preliminary Guides on the right side of the page. They are not 'live' yet unfortunately, but I have been assured that they will be later today.
For those readers who have not seen or played 'Hero of Leaf Valley', I recommend it highly. The game is complex and rich in detail. The graphics are incredible and the music is varied and sophisticated. With 16 different storylines, you actually have 16 different games for the price of one. The fact that the PSP allows multiple save slots on a memory card makes it possible for players to begin a single game and then branch out along different paths to experience more than one ending and ultimately, more than one marriage.
Friendship always is the most important aspect of any Harvest Moon game. 'Meet and greet' every Character regularly and give them items they love as often as possible. A 'favourite' or 'preferred' gift on a Character's Birthday in 'Hero of Leaf Valley' as in most Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games is worth far more in terms of Friendship Points than it would be if given on any other day. A Calendar that includes all Birthdays therefore provides key information.
Until the links for the Guides are 'live', the following may be useful:
Calendar of Festivals and Birthdays
1 Spring: Renton’s Birthday
5 Spring: Alice’s Birthday
11 Spring: Harvest Goddess Festival
16 Spring: Parsley’s Birthday
27 Spring: Lyla’s Birthday
1 Summer: Earth Day
8 Summer: Gwen’s Birthday
10 Summer: Joe’s Birthday
14 Summer: Rudolph’s Birthday
15 Summer: Zann’s Birthday
20 Summer: Fireworks Day
21 Summer: Wallace’s Birthday
24 Summer: Chester’s Birthday
27 Summer: Race Day
2 Autumn: Louis’ Birthday
5 Autumn: Aurelia’s Birthday
12 Autumn: Tim’s Birthday
20 Autumn: Gina’s Birthday
25 Autumn: Race Day
29 Autumn: Katie’s Birthday
2 Winter: Woody’s Birthday
9 Winter: Dia’s Birthday
10 Winter: Kurt’s Birthday
23 Winter: Liar’s Day
25 Winter: Martha’s Birthday
30 Winter: New Year’s Day Festival
As usual, I will be adding other details to my Calendar Guide, including favoured gifts for each Character and any Seasonal Crops and other items.
For 'Hero of Leaf Island', I will be creating separate Guides for 'First Year Events' and 'Second Year Events', much like my Events Guides for FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/Cute DS. THese will include all of the specific Events that must be experienced in order to obtain each of the 'Happy Endings' required to save the land.