Gaming Review: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

For my first gaming review for this site, I had to review this game, I just had to. I’m in love with the Animal Crossing series and New Leaf has now beaten the original Animal Crossing for the top spot. And what can I say? If you don’t own a 3DS already, you need to. The 3DS has had a bit of a disappointing history, but there is a promising future for it and at the moment, there are actually some pretty decent games out now, and New Leaf is a must-buy for you if you do own a Nintendo 3DS.

The Animal Crossing franchise has certainly grown popular over the years it’s been out, having a game on every Nintendo console within the past (several) years, from the Gamecube all the way up to the Nintendo 3DS. And it’s amazing, because I’ve been a fan right from the beginning and I vividly remember aged 5 years old, sitting on the sofa making my character as I sat on the train, about to be amazed by the world that Animal Crossing had allowed me to explore. For a girl like me, Population: Growing (as it’s most commonly known as) was the perfect game for me, and was in a sense what sparked my interest in videogames. Animal Crossing GCN was a simple game, but it was enjoyable, and I spent hours everyday watching my town develop and grow into the perfect town that I had always envisioned. Wild World shortly arrived after GCN, and because it was the first Animal Crossing game on a handheld, it drew in a larger audience. Now all my friends at school played Animal Crossing too, and I got to visit their towns! After that, there was Let’s Go To The City or City Folk as some of you Americans may know it as… The one that many don’t like to talk about, but I personally still enjoyed it as much as I did as the others. The Wii Speak had its one hit wonder, before quickly fading away again as a failure by Nintendo. So after Nintendo’s somewhat disappointment of a game on the Wii (compared to the other games), they went back to the drawing board. They thought long and hard, and picked out all the best elements and ideas from the previous games, added in even more crazy ideas that if you even mentioned as a good idea for an actual Animal Crossing game you’d deem it as being absurd and impossible, but goddammit!! I love it. I LOVE IT. I’m so addicted to this game! I’ve been playing it for 83 hours and 43 minutes so far and I play it for hours on end everyday and I’m just obsessed. NINTENDO. AFTER TEASING US FOR 3 WHOLE YEARS, 1095 DAYS.. a-AND… many many hours and MANY MANY minutes and seconds and etc… You have finally answered our prayers and blessed us with a godly game. SIGHS.

Okay, so maybe I am a little bit biased, and maybe I overreacted. But I do promise that this review will actually be somewhat interesting, and hopefully convinces any of you viewers who haven’t got the game yet to go out and buy it.

New Leaf is basically what I described it as being in the opening paragraph. We’re welcoming back some of the old and best features from the former games and scrapping the more boring features that just didn’t work out, and adding in even more crazy stuff. For one, you’re the mayor. And that never happened in an old Animal Crossing game. Well, actually, I think that this whole idea of being the mayor of your own town doesn’t surprise me much, because what did Tortimer ever do in the old games? Sit in his chair at the town hall and sleep until it was party time? … Pretty much. You were well, the only one that seemed to give a damn about how your town looked, and you were the one that slaved away for hours and hours and wrecking your social life to create your dream town, so you were technically the “mayor”. But now, as mayor you’re the one who is in charge of everything, like the town ordinance (so how the town is run), adding in public works projects to make the citizens happy… Well, basically, Nintendo just added tons more customization features so you can customize your town more, and that’s pretty much it, along with the help of your cute assistant Isabelle, you’ll be in charge now. Animal Crossing is still well, Animal Crossing: Catching bugs, fish, donating fossils, paying off your mortgage and talking to your neighbors which are indeed animals, but hey, it’s still all fun right? You might think though as if to say “what’s the point in these public works projects?”, but trust me you’d get bored without them. With them, you unlock more in main street, so there are more shops for you to buy things from, and also the Dream Suite, which certainly is the most interesting concept I’ve ever seen and is quite a nice touch (by the way, if any of you guys use the Dream Suite and would like to visit my town, the dream code is 7500-2184-6034), more villagers move in (oh, yes, there are also more villagers now, including new deer and hamster species which is… cute!), we also see the return of things like the police station, the train station, the tents and igloos, the boat to the island with Kapp’n in which you can play mini-games with friends online and make a fortune with from selling the beetles, and so on and so forth. So, Animal Crossing is not just “Animal Crossing”. It’s Animal Crossing… And then some.

The only problem I have with it is the slow beginning to the game, although that pretty much happens with every Animal Crossing game. The fact that you have to wait for all the cool new shops to unlock, the fact that you have to wait for the QR code machine to unlock so you can dress like your favourite character from your favourite anime (I actually have both Mami Tomoe and Zelda from Skyward Sword’s outfits ^^”), the fact that you have to wait to literally be allowed to add public works projects to your town because you need to gain approval from the citizens of your town… Which was a painful wait, but I managed to get the permit with one day with a LOT of fishing and watering flowers and etc. But trust me, this game is looking endless, and I haven’t even began to shape my town into my dream town… yet. Neither have I unlocked absolutely everything, but I don’t really have many negatives to say at all, although I think sometimes I’m struggling to fit all my public works into my town, and I’m desperately running out of space. Plus, it’s so annoying when Isabelle tells you “no it’s too close to another house”, “too close to the river”, “too close to something else”, and etc.

The best parts of this game though, are interaction with the characters. I’ve gotten so many funny quotes and screenshots with my hilarious conversations I’ve witnessed and participated in… For example, you’ve got the clumsy Isabelle who insists she’s fine even though she’s had one hour of sleep, Reese the alpaca and her “Cy-Guy” (oh god), oh, and my favourite villager Pudge who loves to eat moving in pizza when he moves to a new town. Plus, I love being able to visit peoples towns and invite them to my town. It’s like having a social life in an actual videogame whilst abandoning your real social life! I often head out to the island with friends and play mini-games to earn medals to exchange them for prizes back at the island and etc. But yeah, Nintendo really opened up an even bigger world for us to all explore, plus it’s just more fun with friends isn’t it?

Altogether, Nintendo have made yet another flawless game, or a new flawless game and proven that the 3DS is still alive and kicking. That being said, New Leaf doesn’t really use much of the 3D on the 3DS, but what does it matter when you have a game like this, of which you’ll be addicted to and play for hours and hours non-stop. Plus if you had the 3D constantly on, after a couple of hours of your New Leaf marathon you’d end up with a headache. I can’t say that the lack of the 3D feature is a flaw when the rest of the game is so amazing and near perfection, and I can say that I’m absolutely in love with it, also that I will not be putting down my 3DS any time soon… :3

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