Critical analysis and reviews, Videogames

Still playing – Animal Crossing: New Leaf and GOTY

I am still playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS. It’s not that I have nothing else to play on my handheld, but I am still finding it something quite relaxing to play every now and then. The comforting nature of the game is something I have talked about before and it’s nice to be back on it after having had a break due to taking part in National Novel Writing Month.

I didn’t go on my 3DS at all during November and when I booted the system up the other day, all the townsfolk in Balamb we’re like, “OMG! You’ve been away for a month, are you okay?” Or something to that effect. No one had moved away in that time, but I did miss out on a few things: Halloween and the Harvest Festival. Today’s Naughty or Nice Day and I’ve been given a stocking, which I’ve yet to put up, but as you may see in one of the images in the gallery, I do currently have a Christmas tree in my house.

Decorating

Actually, the seasonal items have been things that I’ve tended to steer away from in terms of buying or decorating my house with. This is despite the kinds of points it can give you for the Happy Room Academy. But there’s also a few other bits of décor that I’ve also stayed away from: Nintendo game themed stuff. Unfortunately, whenever I visit other people’s show homes, all I see are loads of Nintendo inspired pieces of décor (shells, Pikmin, etc) and considering how few people I meet being in Cornwall… it’s kind of depressing.

My house has a musical instruments and classic/modernist setup going on. It’s a mixture of stuff, but for me most of it’s connected on some level. Though I will admit to trying to collect Rocco items. There’s the odd event item here and there, but I suppose I’m actually decorating the house in a way that I wish my own could be in real life.

Having played the previous two games (not the original) in the series, I’ve really enjoyed taking on the role of mayor. It’s nice being able to affect changes in the town. Changes that the residents want. I’ve enjoyed the addition of features that have meant that you can play the game more as you want to play it. The ordinances have been one of the key parts for allowing you to customise how you play the title.

But you could also be as frantic as you want with it. Diligently working to fill-up your encyclopaedia, the museum  and the store catalogue. You could work your ass off to churn through the house upgrades. You could get a butt load of project work’s projects done in as short a time possible… or you could not.

Wii U future

If I was planning a Wii U version there are two other things I’d include: compatibility with New Leaf that means that NL users can visit Wii U users and vice versa, plus the ability to open town gates in a manner similar to the online experience of Pokémon X/Y in so much as people you don’t know can affect your game. The Animal Crossing equivalent would be that people you don’t know could visit your town via an internet connection, and the only things you could trade would be non-custom items and communications would only be expressions your character has learned. Less convoluted than getting the Dream Suite in AC:NL.

While the addition of The Plaza on the Wii U after AC:NL came out was interesting, I am hoping that it doesn’t necessarily become a core part of any console sequels.

GOTY

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed the take-it-at-your-own-pace nature of AC:NL so much, and with the additional features they’ve added since the previous two games… well I really like this game. In fact I like it enough to say that Animal Crossing: New Leaf is my Game of the Year. It’s innovated enough on previous titles to warrant its creation and improved on many aspects.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. There are a few things that I think could make it better if Nintendo cared to make some updates available for it like some additional ordinances and even more variety in shop items, perhaps even the chance to set two non-conflicting ordinances?

Regardless of those few things, this is the most enjoyable videogame I have played this year, because I don’t feel pressured to complete any aspect of it. I find it relaxing to play and that’s something I rarely get out of games.

Want to add my friend code on 3DS? Drop me an email with yours at the address here and I’ll endeavour to add you.

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