I have always loved the Animal Crossing series ever since I first played what those outside of Japan know as the first the game in the series (Since in Japan the first one actually came out on the N64DD). The game was something that was kind of magical, and the sequel, Animal Crossing: Wild World, did a great job of allowing you to have that kind of warm and fuzzy feeling and fun on the go. Then came City Folk for the Wii.............yeah......... Um, Don't get me wrong, City Folk is still a great game....Unless you've played the first two for hours on end. City Folk didn't change enough. That magic feeling of living life with anthropomorphic animals wasn't there. Wild World at least made the fun portable. My brother bought City Folk and I think I played it for about an hour, and then never again.
With that being said, when I first heard of a new Animal Crossing game years ago for the 3DS, it was kind of a lukewarm feeling. I was afraid I wouldn't have fun with it, like City Folk, but then they announced more details and then the game came out, and I am proud to say that was not the case. The new, warm, magical and fuzzy feeling from this game is back, and in my opinion, it's stronger than ever!
Of course, like with all the other Animal Crossing games, there isn't much of a story. However, New Leaf has a slight bit more of a story than the other games. It all begins with a train ride which is used as a set up for the game. You can pick the layout of your town from four options (though if you reset, you can get four more options and so on), you name your town, name your character, and answer questions that determines how your character will start of looking. Once you arrive in town, the five or so townsfolk there accidentally mistake you for being the new mayor of the town, since Tortimer finally retired. No matter how much you deny it, the townsfolk are convinced you are the new mayor, and you are thrust into the position. Thus begins your new life.
The Animal Crossing series has always been about living life that is customized how you want. Your character, your house, your friendships, and so on. New Leaf adds so much more customization abilities and builds on what was already there. Now you can change more than just your character's shirt and their shoe color. Now you can change your pants (or skirt, or shorts), your shoes, and even your dang socks! You can change the patterns and colors of all your furniture. You don't like the fact that the modern couch is red? Then make it blue, or yellow, or whatever. You can do so much more with your house too. You can get a different door, surround it with different fences, change the side paneling, and even change the structure (like making it a mansion, a castle, or one of those Japanese buildings). Also, since you're the mayor of the town, you can build all sorts of structures all over the town. You can add in street lights, benches, a campsite, more bridges, and so on. It's awesome!
Since you can edit and customize your town the way you want, the town actually feels like a real town. By that, I mean that it grows and evolves like a real town. Towns in the real world are constantly innovating by adding buildings, stores upgrade, putting in little things like street lights, and so on. It's a great addition to be able to do these kinds of things in New Leaf.
Graphically, the game doesn't look much better than City Folk, but it does look better. The graphics are still cute and colorful. Characters are now more detailed and expressive, even without using emotions. The 3D effect is subtle, but very nice. Nothing really pops out or anything like that, but it isn't supposed to. The depth it adds looks nice, and just makes the colorful world pop out even more. It's subtle, but really adds a lot to the atmosphere.
New Leaf finally got some new music. a majority of the music in the last three Animal Crossing games was nearly identical. That may be another reason why City Folk felt so boring. New Leaf got some new music, from the town's ambiance music to the title screen music and so on. Even K.K Slider finally got some new music. This is a welcome change.
What else is there to really say? There are more fish to collect, new bugs to catch, and now you can even go deep sea diving, so now there are even more ocean goodies to find and donate to the museum. Visiting another town through Wi-fi works a lot better now, and you can even visit other towns without a friend, through something called the "Dream Suite". There are new items, some of which you can only get with play coins (which are Nintendo game themed), new animal neighbors, and new characters for towns and shops. You can even hitch a boat ride from Kapp'n to go to a tropical island and play minigames. By the Way, the songs Kapp'n sings when he gives you a boat ride are awesome!
This game is just filled to the brim with content. There is so much to see, so many animals to befriend, so many bugs and fishes to collect, so much new furniture and clothing. There is just so much to do in this beautiful world, and you're in control of it. I hope you have fun, and welcome to Animal Crossing: New Leaf!
P.S: I would suggest you get the download version. This is a good game to always have with you.