Animal Crossing: New Leaf ReviewAlex Follin
It's time again to sit there for hours on end with our 3DS' in hand, grinding to the bone, pretending that we're all doing something far more cool than simply playing the brand new Animal Crossing. However, that is in fact what we are all doing! Animal Crossing: New Leaf, released on the 3DS on June 19, 2013 in the U.S., seems to be one of the many new addictions that came out this year to fuel the gaming fire.
There is really not much of a plot to the new Animal Crossing and it seems to follow the same formula of its predecessors. You play as a resident moving into a new town surrounded by several personified animals that are also residents. Tom Nook returns in this game in about the same form as you continue to pay him back outrageous loans for a home and any improvements that you may or may not choose to make on your house. Players still run around catching bugs and fish, picking fruit, and searching for money rocks just to try to get the rarest catches to pay off that new door they just purchased for their home.
However, there are a few new additions to the formula. One of the biggest to note is that players can now play as the mayor of whatever town they moved to. The role of mayor is simple, but complex enough to give players a slightly refreshing amount of new goals to meet. As mayor, players can add special things to their town such as benches, fountains, or even a new coffee shop. These "projects", however, have to be funded with a good chunk of players' own pockets unless they want to wait forever. These special things add a little bit of personality and flair to towns where it previously could not have achieved.
Another nice feature of the game is the online multiplayer function. Players will be allowed to visit friends' towns and be visited by them via streetpass or WiFi. They can gather fruit from other towns to plant in their own towns, talk to the villagers, and explore friends' Main Street.
Now, a few things have returned in this installment in the franchise. The island, from the GameCube version, has returned with ol' loveable Kappn' will take them. This island contains tropical fruits, bugs, and fossils for players to return to their own towns and plant for new trees and completing collections in the museum. Villagers still exist within the towns that players create, except now they are more diverse and there are more of them. Villagers still move in and out of town and still have the cute babbly noises that are supposed to be their voices. Main Street, or the city, makes a reappearance. It contains some new buildings that can be unlocked by going through a set number of days, but the concept isn't exactly new.
The graphics of Animal Crossing: New Leaf are nothing short of beautiful. The textures and artwork all are bright and vibrant and really cute-sy, which is a staple of the franchise. Also, when players turn on the 3D setting, it really feels like the characters come to life just a little bit more, as it plays through smooth as butter without glitches.
While Animal Crossing may not have replay value in the sense of starting over and starting anew, there is always something to do. Between going to the island and gathering new fruits and bugs, building up bells for a new town project, or simply greeting a new villager that moved in recently, players will always find something to do. The main complaint that many people (and myself) share about the franchise is a constant feeling of grinding. The game starts very slow with little to do at first and takes a while to really get anywhere, as it takes quite a bit of collecting to work up the bells to do anything. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is definitely a collect-a-thon, just like its predecessors. I would, personally, recommend it to any casual gamers, younger audiences, and those just looking for a nice little break from a gamer's life of the normal Call of Battlefield.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.