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Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review

by on July 11, 2013
 
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Players: 1 (Up to 4 on multiplayer)
Simulation
Nintendo 3DS

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – here’s a game that can be described in a few simple words. It is a time waster but not a waste of time. However, this review wouldn’t really be that great if I left it there and there are a few specific details that I reckon need to be shared. I have already spent what feels like a lifetime with this game and I have yet to even scratch the surface. Animal Crossing has been around for over 10 years now but has New Leaf got the attraction that the rest of the series had? Let’s find out!

You are the Mayor. It wasn’t your choice but that’s how it’s got to be and it’s your job to run the town from now on. You are responsible for all of the animals that live in this town, the economy, the shops, heck, even the little things like keeping your town looking beautiful. Don’t worry, it may seem like a big weight on your shoulders but it’s all okay. For one, you have Isabelle, your trusty Assistant, who will aid you wherever possible. She does a good job of letting you know what needs doing around town and offers plenty of advice. One of the first things you’ll do is find a spot for your home from our old friend Tom Nook, who now runs Nook’s Homes on Main Street. You can place your home absolutely anywhere in your town this time, which greatly benefits those who have a specific plan in mind.

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As mentioned, you will be spending a long time playing this game. If this is not the case then there is an abundance of content that you will miss out on. This isn’t a game that for a quick pick-up and play, although you will likely find yourself leaving it on sleep mode during the day and flicking back to it at every chance you get (I know I did). It does require a lot of investment, but should you put in the hours, you’ll get them right back with a fun gameplay experience. However, the gameplay is a bit of an odd subject. I get asked a lot about what you actually do in Animal Crossing. My honest answer is that you lose your life in it. Those words cannot be any more accurate, as you are in essence living a whole new life within your 3DS. The game is more of a simulation in which you control the daily life of yourself within a smaller world. It’s not quite The Sims, but you’ll still be living a double life with New Leaf.

This little world of yours happens to be a pretty little thing with plenty of strong and bright colours to keep your eyes locked in. Albeit natural colours but with a slightly jazzed up appearance, they are exaggerated ever so slightly in order to fit the style and appeal of Animal Crossing. Being a first party Nintendo game, they don’t like to slack, and this shows all over. Whether it’s on the smaller, original 3DS or the humongous 3DS XL screen, it all looks solid. There are minute things, such as the odd texture that might not look great, but Nintendo know how to make their games look good, and this one is another eye-catcher. Not only does the game look good, but it also sounds good. It’s true that the game has similar sounds to the previous animal crossing titles and that is absolutely fine. The sounds still work now and keep an up-beat atmosphere and tone in the game, even if it happens to be pouring down with rain.

As the Mayor of the town it is up to you to keep the town looking good and the townspeople happy. To do this you’ll be able to undertake several different projects, from smaller tasks such as building a lamppost, to much larger projects like a town club. You can also upgrade many of the shops that reside on Main Street, New Leaf’s replacement for the City from previous games. On this street you’ll find many of the classic stores like Nookling Junction, which is now run by Timmy and Tommy Nook, the Able Sister’s clothing store and plenty others and I’ll let you discover for yourselves. However, it feels quite unnecessary to have a single street across the train tracks just for all the shops. Better integration with the town itself wouldn’t have gone amiss.

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Even the mayor needs a bit of rest and relaxation from time to time and where better to take this break than on Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s Island? You are invited to visit the island after a few days of playing by the town’s old mayor, Tortimer, who now lives on the island himself. On the island you can either come alone or with up to 3 other friends and play a bunch of mini games, or even go for a bit of a swim by hiring out a swimsuit.

You may end up spending plenty of your evenings here on the island on the hunt for bugs or rare fish. You see, things cost bells, Animal Crossings form of currency, and you’re going to need plenty of it the more you play. The issue that arises is that the best way to get this money is from this island, catching high-selling bugs that only start showing up in the evenings. This is all I found myself doing in the evenings in order to make myself plenty of bells. It sucks, though, that if I had been busy during the day and come home to find I can’t do anything because I can’t afford anything, my evening playing the game would end up consisting mainly of bug-hunting on the island. Not only that, the re-tale store closes at 11pm so will only be able to sell your bugs before then, or face waiting until the next day. This is one of the reasons that Animal Crossing isn’t for those who are looking for a short stay, but instead, a long commitment. Yes, you could just change the date on your 3DS, but do you really want to cheat like that? What fun is that, huh?

Those bugs aren’t just for selling either. Along with the creepy crawlies, you can collect fish, paintings or fossils and donate them to the museum. Be careful, though, you may end up being sold a fake by Redd! I’m not sure whether New Leaf is a collector’s dream or nightmare yet. There is a huge collection of things for you to gather up, but at the same time some bugs and fish will only be available to you at certain times of the year. This extends the longevity of New Leaf but let’s hope some avid collectors don’t get bored waiting. I’m sure it won’t come to that, there’s enough to do to keep you occupied in between catching the little critters.

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf is packed with enough content that may even keep you playing forever, but when I get to the end of forever I’ll let you know if that was true. Until then, we have a game that you’ll just keep coming back to, if only to clear out the weeds from your town or to fulfil your collector’s needs. It may seem like a chore to keep coming back and forth from the island to sell bugs for money, but in the long run you’ll be rewarded by truly being able to have your way with your little town and making it your own. With plenty to do, lots of friends to make in your town, a giant collection of items to do with as you please, this really is the definition of escaping reality to step into a brand new world. It may feel drawn out but you’ll be swept away in your own little world.

And let’s face it; you’re going to be there for a very long time.

+

Looks and sounds great

-

May feel drawn out with its slow pace

+

Plenty to do that will keep you going for a while

-

Collectors might have to wait a while to finish their collections

+

Creating your perfect town

-

 Everything is expensive when there is only one major way of making quick bells

Animal Crossing: New Leaf : 80% Uncovered

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