Play OMG has a new Facebook game out called Shepherd Ville, now the name may sound familiar to some console and handheld gamers for a reason; it is based off of the game Shepherd's Crossing, which is a farming simulator in the same light as Harvest Moon, but with a more casual approach to it. This was my first time even hearing that there was a browser based game based off of that franchise, never mind it being one that was a Facebook game. Being that I am a fan of those types of games, this was something I was looking a bit forward to.
The character creation is the first thing you do in most any game, and this is no exception. The creation process is fairly basic but does serve its job. You're able to pick out what gender you wish to be, and you're able to pick out some basic hair, skin, and cloths options. These options don't seem permanent, since there are options to change your cloths and hair in game if you have the items to do it. So it does give hint to having the ability to customize you look more later on in the game, which is fairly good.
Starting out in the game, I met a familiar looking character named Bramy, which is an odd talking duck carrying a wine bottle on his back. He serves, as his predecessors did in the other games, as a sort of guide on the ins and outs of the game and teaching you the basics to get you started with your farm. The complexity of that is very low like the standard games, learning the basics of what you need to know goes by fairly quick and even rewards you a bit for your trouble to help you get along in the game a little faster.
From what I have played, some of the basics from the original games are there, but it is limited to what you can do on the farm. First off the farm area is rather small, which doesn't give you a lot of room to openly plant all over. It also removes elements that the other games had such as random interaction from the town folk or being able to go into your house. The game has pretty much been stripped to its bare by just having a limited farming element where you can grow crops and take care of livestock, which consists of just laying down food near them and being done with it till you're ready to sell them for profit. The game also still feels like a single player, even retaining a "Save Game" button for you to save progress when you want to, which if you don't use, you won't be able to save your current progress at with. Which to be honest feels really odd in an online game, and seemed like a weird feature for them to add, I didn't really see the point of it, except for people to "roll back" to an earlier time when they felt like they made too many mistakes that day.
While the game is rather stripped in terms of features from its console born brothers, it does try to incorporate some social features as well to try to make it feel more like an online game. One of the main features of that is the ability to visit your friend's farms and even gift them items if you wanted to help them out. But even when you visit, the game lacks any sort of chat or mailing system to give you the ability to interact with that person without needing to use the Facebook IM chat. The game even has a basic quest based system in the game which has a simple complete x task and get a reward, though to be honest the rewards seemed rather small and thus didn't really get my attention enough to really get into them, they seemed just like a grab at attention for people to keep interested in the game.
Another thing they added to try to get people's attention is an actual progression/leveling system. Using this you can progressively level up your farm by selling whatever you can to reach certain "experience" points in the game for a level. When you level you unlock more features and things you can buy. For instance there is a hunting mini game in the game but it takes quite a few levels to get the dog you need for it, and it seems even more to get the gun you need to actually do it even once. You also unlock more animals you can raise and items you can decorate your farm with, so leveling is something you want to do to see what you can unlock, but the way the game progresses feels fairly slow paced and seems to take too long to get to some of the other features in the game, like hunting.
Though I loved the console games, I am not too sure how I feel on this browser rendition of the game. It is appealing in a sense, but it just feels like a stripped down version of the actual game, taking away some of the features that made it good, and trying to make it into another "Farmville" a basic game that doesn't meet the standards of normal games. It has potential, but they need to add more content to the game to bring it up to the standards of the franchise.
Self Introduction From Author:
|I have been playing mmos since about 1999, and haven't stopped since, and I cannot even remember when I started console/pc gaming. I'm an avid gamer who does dive back into the real world from time to time. My all time goal is to start my own business, but that is taking a side step as I am going through college.|
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