Alright, allow me to break the pattern of 7's and 8's and give it an average score. I'm a die-hard Harvest Moon fan, I've played just about every game in the series and I've thoroughly enjoyed most of them. The farming simulation has always been addicting enough on its own, but what makes the series truly shine is how atmospheric and deep it tends to be. Most Harvest Moon's have memorable characters and tons of other things to do on the side, so it's kind of your own fault if you get bored.
But not this time. I'm not going to go into huge amounts of detail about the game's mechanics, since if you're reading this you probably already know about it. But you see, outside of tending your farm, there is virtually NOTHING to do. Character's have absolutely zero personality and only say the same two or three things over and over, mining has been taken away, fishing is kind of useless since fish don't really sell for anything (Not to mention you have limited storage, so you don't really want to stock up on lower-selling items)...there just isn't any life to be found within the game's world.
Which is a shame, because the new Bazaar mechanic is actually really good. It's a clever new twist on the formula that forces you to think about how to properly grow your crops, and it suddenly makes cooking and item crafting much more important then ever before due to the high selling prices of your creations. But the problem is that there's just nothing else to look forward to. Even the busiest farmers will be done with their work by 10:00am, and all that's really left to do is forage for more stuff to sell. There's just no incentive to keep playing without all the extra activities and rewards Harvest Moon usually offers.
Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar isn't the worst game in the series, but it's definitely the most boring. It has its moments, and it may still be worth a rental for the die-hard fans out there. Just don't go expecting a new Friends of Mineral Town or anything.
Interesting at first, but eventually boring... The game is easy to jump into, you start off with a lot of upgrades, and get more of them later on for free. No longer must you spend an entire year's earnings on stupid "makers" that only work for one or two items, and no longer must you spend endless months harvesting wood and stone to get a kitchen or a bath.
The only upgrades you must pay for are extra fields, and expansions of your stable and storage.
The new selling system is interesting, and encourages you to strategize and think about when you plant your items and when they'll be ready for harvest. It's easy to rack up profit via this system, even if you only get to sell once a week.
Unfortunately, at the core of it, the game is still the same. There is not much to it besides farming, theres no mining and fishing is less accessible during winter, so that season often drags on uselessly. The NPCs are bland and say the same thing every day, (so far) regardless of your heart level. Gaining heart levels is excruciatingly slow as well, and you will need a few years minimum to get married due to these harsher requirements.
I'm not sure if you can have a child in this game, as I've not yet played long enough to be able to marry anyone. After getting every upgrade, filling all my fields, and watering, fertilizing, harvesting... a thousand times over, it gets bland. After a year, pretty much everything that can be introduced in the game has been introduced, you've experienced all the festivals, and you've heard all the NPCs have to say.
Part of me wants to keep playing just for the sake of completion, but overall? this game is really boring once you've tried everything once, and that doesn't take long to do. If you're looking for a quick fix of farming, this game might be for you, but its not going to keep you hooked for more than a few days- a week at most. There isn't even any end goal to the storyline to keep you going.
I'm a big fan of the Harvest Moon series,and I am enjoying this recent addition.For me,the biggest "problem" I had with the other DS versions was that after awhile,the game would get repetitive and I would quit playing and trade the game in.But with this one,the bazaar makes it alot more exciting for me....I like the fact that you start out with a kitchen,a barn,and an outside pen for your chickens.And when you buy a dish at Joan's restaurant or at the bazaar,you automatically learn the recipe. And I love the windmills too....you can take stuff like milk,eggs,crops, ores,ect. and make things that can sell for more at the bazaar than the item itself.This probably would be considered a "newbie" game,but I don't think that's a bad thing.I think it's a good starter game for someone who's never played a HM game.So maybe rent it first to see if you'll like it enough to buy it.