DORAEMON STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of the Great Kingdom is the standalone sequel to the original DORAEMON STORY OF SEASONS which released on Steam back in 2019, it is a spin-off franchise for the Story of Seasons Harvest Moon games.
If you are familiar with Doraemon then you will know that it’s an extremely popular classic Japanese manga from way back in 1969 and then first adapted into an anime in 1973 with additional adaptations later on, hence you will recognize the characters and their own quirks personality traits while playing the game, though If you are unfamiliar with Doraemon at all, the game does a great job at standing on its own and you will get acquainted with the characters pretty quickly. Now, because the game is based on the Doraemon characters you know that you’re not getting some of the features that you would come to expect in the mainline games such as marrying people and having deeper relationships with some of the towns people and because you play as the young boy Nobita from the anime series, you won’t be able to customize your character. Although I feel like I’m not really missing any of those features but definitely just something to take note of.
If you’ve played the first one then I’m just going to get this out of the way, the sequel is better than the original in almost every aspect. There is no need to play the first game to enjoy the sequel as the story is not a continuation of the first game. The whole plot takes place on a different planet after Nobi and his friends get on a spaceship so all the characters, environments and everything that will happen on that planet is brand new. If you are unfamiliar with Doraemon then it is good to know that Doraemon is a robot cat from the future and he has thousands of different gadgets for any situation so you will see a lot of these gadgets during your playthrough.
Marvelous Inc paid really close attention to the player’s feedback after the first game and that led to a huge number of improvements in the sequel, they kept all of the good things and fixed what people didn’t like. In terms of the graphics and art style, I’ve always thought that the Doraemon: Story of Seasons games look absolutely beautiful and in my opinion are the best-looking Story of Seasons games ever, I just love the watercolor art style, these are just a pleasure to look at and sometimes you just find yourself mesmerized looking at the world around you.
In Friends of the Great Kingdom, there is quite an emphasis on storytelling, there are tons and tons of cutscenes and you’ll have to read a lot, on top of the main storyline each family will also have their own events and things happening, sometimes you’ll will need to trigger some of these events before you can continue the main quest, each event has a specific set of requirements like reaching a certain level of friendship with a character or being at the right place at the right time. The game tells you what the requirements are unlike the first game which can become extremely frustrating. There is also a tracker in the menu that shows you all of the quests as well as a description so you remember what is happening, the same information can be found on the map. Those are just examples of the QoL improvements and I found that the sequel is generally a lot less grindy compared to the first.
Overall, if you love farming sims then I highly recommend buying DORAEMON STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of the Great Kingdom even if you are not familiar with the characters in Doraemon, it’s just a super fun standalone experience. However, if you are wondering if you should buy this when you already have the first game then I’m not too sure if the extra content is worth the full $60 price tag, maybe wait for a sale.