So, I tried playing Stardew Valley a while ago on PC, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. For whatever reason, I really struggled to get into it. Despite that, I still really liked the look of it, and have been really meaning to give it another go. After the announcement of it being ported to the Playstation 4, I knew that was the opportunity I was waiting for. The gorgeous visuals, the relaxing gameplay and the daunting task of bringing life back to the town was once again in my hands. This time, however, I was determined to stick with it.
Tranquil, peaceful, wonderful
Everyone has said how wonderful Stardew Valley is presented. It’s been the focus of many reviews, and it’s not without good reason. The artwork is simply fantastic. Not quite retro-pixellated, and not quite modern, but somewhere in between, and it is gorgeous. It’s bright, vibrant and colourful which is just so appealing on the eye. It’s not just the art that is of the highest quality, the soundtrack is too. Never needing to be too upbeat or intrusive, the soundtrack matches the game. Tranquil and peaceful, it really adds a great relaxing vibe to the game, which is so nice to hear as you place little seedlings down.
Because I didn’t get into the game before, I hadn’t quite appreciated how vast the game is. Yes, you do farm-related stuff, but there is so much more to it. Going fishing is one of my favourite things as it happens. Definitely one of the more challenging aspects of the game, but it’s always well rewarded when you pluck out a catch. I’ll admit that I’ve actually started on probably the dullest of the features outside of farming, but there is much, much more. You can go dungeon crawling, gathering for resources and even bin diving to satisfy that adventuring craving. The main aim of the game is actually to do all of these things – well, not bin diving, but the rest! You’re tasked with completing a whole bunch of tasks that the lazy bums in the town can’t be bothered to do, in order to restore the community centre to it’s former glory. It’s a challenge, but doing it is such a terrific and enjoyable experience.
There are, as always, a couple of things that bugged me in Stardew Valley. They’re small issues, but issues nonetheless that could probably have been worked around. It does feel a little like they took the winning formula they had on the PC and did the bare minimum to get it to work coherently on a console. My first bugbear is the cursor. I can understand why it’s there, but games with a cursor on console are always lacking a bit. It moves across the screen at a decent rate, but it still feels slow. In this day and age I’d like it to ping across to where I want it to go, but that’s not always the case. It’s also a bit of a pain in the arse when it comes to plopping stuff down from your inventory. Whereas on PC you could click, click, click and everything would be where you want it, on console it’s slightly different. It’s quite a bit slower, which can make building a fence, for example, a time consuming affair.
The other issue I found is a small one, but a weird one. On the PC, I used a keyboard and a mouse, so moving was limited to four directions. This wasn’t too much of an issue, as you would move at the same speed in every direction. I’ve noticed on the console version that when I wanted to move diagonally, most of the time my character would dawdle along. Sometimes if I hit the sweet spot he’d break into a merry jog, but most of the time he crept around as if stalking his prey. Admittedly, this is a small concern, it’s just weird that it’s even present in the game as I don’t see why you’d ever need to walk.
The Final Word
I said at the start that I couldn’t get into it on the PC, but there is something different about Stardew Valley on the PS4. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’ve definitely been converted into a big fan. Coming home after a long, hard day and toiling away in the fields of my farm was once a struggle to get motivated for. Now, when I come home I am excited to experience the tranquility and enjoy the fruits of my labours. Stardew Valley is truly a work of art, and I’m just disappointed it took me so long to properly get into it. It’s well worth the purchase, and now, if you’ll excuse me, there are a few more fish I need to catch…