Pioneers of Olive Town on PS4 benefits from a long list of updates

Pioneers of Olive Town PS4

What goes good with second chances?

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town was a work in progress when it was released in North America for Nintendo Switch in March of 2021. The Japanese release a month earlier was met with criticism as fans pointed fingers at long loading times, poor dialogue, and a wide assortment of bugs. Patches that were in the works for the Japanese version weren’t ready when the game hit our shores. The result: less than stellar reviews. It needed a lot of work, and to their credit, the developers saw to it to right the ship.

A year and some change later, Pioneers of Olive Town on Switch is the game it should have been at launch. Various updates and patches have fixed nearly everything players complained about. If you haven’t visited your farm in a minute, now is as good a time as any to download the latest update and see how much things have improved. Not only are the Switch and PC versions of the game better today, but all of those updates are present in the PlayStation 4 port launching this week.

If you want to know how much has changed with Olive Town since March of last year, Marvelous has a detailed list of all the patches it created for the game. A lot of it is squashing bugs, but the key improvements include rewritten dialogue, the ability to sidestep, post-game activities, new artwork for the different meals you can eat (though this does not apply to what anyone else in the game eats), the first-person Chat Camera feature, and the much-needed changes to the game’s signature makers.

Pioneers of Olive Town PlayStation 4

Updates can make a difference

Pioneers of Olive Town tries to take a modern approach to farming by mechanizing almost everything you do through the use of its makers. Any raw ingredients you find or grow on your farm can be thrown into a maker to become something more useful, like turning wood into lumber or sage into mixed herbs. This is about as crafting-heavy as the series has ever been, and when it initially launched, all those makers resulted in an excessive amount of waiting. The game’s 1.0.0 version featured makers that could only craft one item at a time. For my farm, this meant building a ridiculous number of machines that I would have to run around to collect my items and load in new ingredients. The Version 1.0.5 update improved the makers’ capabilities by allowing you to load up to 10 items worth of ingredients at a time.

Like the Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ, this allows players to set it and forget it.

When the game first made me aware of this change, I thought it would lead to there being fewer makers on my farm. And while there aren’t nearly as many as I have scattered about on my Switch, the limitations of the makers do necessitate more being built than I anticipated. For starters, no matter how many ingredients you load into your maker, each item it produces is crafted consecutively rather than concurrently. So if you’re really in a hurry for some silver ingot, you’ll need a couple of makers at the ready. Secondly, you can only load one type of ingredient at a time. If you have three different types of logs that you want to turn into lumber, you’ll either need three separate makers or the patience to deal with each item getting crafted one by one.

The change to the makers doesn’t drastically alter the Pioneers of Olive Town formula — and really, nothing that has been tweaked through its updates and patches does — but it does give players a lot more freedom to enjoy the game at their leisure. With all of my makers loaded up with ingredients, I didn’t have to worry about tending to them. Instead, I could go enjoy all the other improvements that have been made to the game. The conversations with townsfolk are legitimately better than they were before and the ability to lock in your farmer’s movement makes watering your crops a breeze. I don’t know if I would have appreciated those changes as much if I were still handcuffed to the original makers’ implementation.

Pioneers of Olive Town screenshot

Smooth like butter

That level of freedom from the get-go made my time with the PS4 port far more enjoyable than what I remember from my initial playthrough. But I can’t dismiss one other factor that largely contributed to this time around being the superior experience. On Switch, Pioneers of Olive Town never really hit a steady 30 frames per second, and it would routinely drop well below that when you had a farm full of sprinklers going off in the morning. The PS4 port is a far smoother experience with a framerate that rarely takes a dip. Admittedly, I am only in the autumn season of my first year on the farm, so I haven’t quite pushed the game as much as I did on Switch. But even with a dozen sprinklers and 15 makers all going at once, the framerate remains solid.

Arguably, an unflappable framerate is more than enough to make this the superior version of the game. But really, no matter which platform you choose, you’re going to get a good farming sim with the updated Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. I was hesitant about using my limited free time to revisit the forested fields of my farm when there are so many other games I could be playing right now, but I’m glad I did. In fact, I think I’ll stick with it a little bit longer to check out the post-game content that was added after I stopped playing on Switch.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town releases July 26 on PlayStation 4 for $39.99.

[This impressions piece is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

CJ Andriessen
Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games.