Preview: Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns fosters a sense of community

The Story of Seasons and Bokujo Monogatari series have always placed a very strong emphasis on ensuring the player feels like he or she is part of the community. As a farmer, your actions matter. From participation in festivals to befriending people to see special events, the goal has been to make sure there’s no “us” and “them.” It attempts to create the illusion that you are all in this together. With Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, this has never been more evident. Extra effort has been made to make sure your farmer feels like he or she is a beloved member of each village.

This is evident from the moment Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns begins. Your avatar is a young man or woman who has left a rather high class home to start a farm, just like his or her uncle. This very uncle goes out of his way to introduce you to the community. Each of the three towns in the game has their own greetings and population; the moment one unlocks, you’re given a chance to experience their way of life. You learn the traditional greeting. You are given a detailed tour of each town, meeting important NPCs and marriage candidates. In the case of the very first location, Westown, you are actually given an unlimited period of time to see and speak with everyone, though this isn’t present with Lulukoko and Tsuyukusa.

Once you’ve made your introductions and been given access to all three of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns’ hamlets, you’ll have the freedom to visit whichever one you’d like. Well, after your chores are done. Befriending people is handled in the same way as previous games, via talking or offering gifts. What’s nice is that this time, it doesn’t feel like you’re making all the effort to talk to everyone. You can approach major NPCs and marriage candidates to conduct conversations. However, if you happen to be in their home or office when this happens, you might see a little speech bubble appear on screen even when you aren’t engaging with the person. These little remarks are very obviously directed at your character. They show that these people want to converse with you as much as you do with them. It makes Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns feel more realistic.

As do the part-time jobs. Westown, Lulukoko and Tsuyukusa each have hubs where you can undertake errands. Some of these part-time jobs are rather typical requests. Ship a certain number of crops, flowers or animal by-products. Others require you to engage with the people in that town. You might need to help other people with their farm chores. Maybe you’ll make deliveries for a post office or shop. You aren’t focused on tasks within your own space. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns gets you working and influencing other people’s lives as well. You get a chance to spend more time with people.

Another means of spending time with folks comes in the form of meals. Even in the first two seasons of the game, before you really start connecting with characters, you can sit down and eat with them. Let’s use Ford as an example. Ford takes his lunch on the second floor of his office/home at 11am. If you stop by at this time and speak to him, he’ll invite you to join him. This will restore your stamina and give you a chance to talk with him. It’s another way of showing your importance to the people in town.

Nothing shows this sense of connection more than the Town Rank, however. Everything you do in town gradually increases your connection with that town. The shops offer a greater variety of items and more events open up for that region. Everything you do influences your rank. Shipping your goods to that town improves the relationship. So does shopping there, making goods, sending letters, taking part-time jobs, participating in festivals, eating with someone and seeing characters’ events. By making the effort to be involved, even in the smallest ways, you’re boosting your standing in the community.

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns wants to get players involved. You’re supposed to feel like you’re a part of things, even though this is only a game and, as such, results in a natural sense of detachment. Everything you’re doing is bringing you closer to the people around you. Which, in turn, opens up possibilities for things you can purchase or accomplish. It’s designed to be a game that grows with you.

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