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GoNintendo 'End of Day' thought - Animal Crossing: New Leaf review

Time for me to call it a night one again. I swear, having a few hours off on Wednesday takes me out of my schedule like crazy. I get so much more tired when I'm out of my routine! Still, those few hours off are worth it. I got to put together this review while I had that break! Please enjoy while I slip off to bed. See you in a few, short hours.

You know I like Nintendo? I feel like they take a wide range of ideas and somehow turn them all into compelling software. It's easy for gamers to see how titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda can provide fun and fantasy, but who would have thought that titles like Nintendogs and Wii Fit could be the same? Somehow, some way, Nintendo manages to extract and distill the pure element of fun with almost all of their brands.

While I'm sure it's challenging to do that in every bit of software, I imagine the original idea for Animal Crossing was one of the toughest. Sure, you have cooky animals and crazy conversations, but the core of the franchise focuses on everyday activities. It's a life simulator...it's the Seinfeld of video games! Yet here we are, multiple installments later in this hugely successful franchise.

Many were saying that the Animal Crossing series was ripe for a bit of revamping. The last Wii outing left an all too similar taste in our mouths, but it seems like Nintendo got that feeling as well. It was clear from the first mention of Animal Crossing: New Leaf that Nintendo was out to inject the series with some new fun and direction. Is there enough variety and new content this time around to make it worth another trip to (your town name here)?

Nintendo has been very vocal about the new aspects of New Leaf. First and foremost, you get to play the role of the mayor this time around. That's whether you want to or not! When you arrive at your town, you'll quickly find out that you've been elected to the position of mayor. Tortimer has moved onto more tropical settings in his retirement, meaning someone has to head up the activities and direction of your new town. Thankfully, you have a new assistant named Isabelle that will walk you through your new position with ease.

Does being mayor really change up all that much in Animal Crossing? Truth be told, it really does bring in a completely new layer. You're going to end up caring about your town and its inhabitants even more than you did before. Keeping your town clean, tidy and nice looking was always a motivator before, but now the entire community is depending on you. You better take your job seriously, or else you'll have some majorly peeved neighbors to deal with!

While it takes a couple real-life days to get into the meat-and-potatoes of being the mayor, you'll definitely be hit with tons to do. Most importantly, you have to earn the approval rating of the town in order to progress in your job. Talk to your neighbors, see what they want and make sure you keep the town looking nice. You'll have to plant new trees, clean up weeds and take on other tasks to keep that opinion up. As long as you hit that 100% rating mark (which shouldn't be too much of a struggle), you'll have a world of opportunities open to you.

With great power comes great responsibility! No, you may not be saving the world, but you'll certainly be making it a better place to live. Being mayor lets you put up public notices for the town in order to steer things in the direction you want them. You can make sure all your animal friends chip in with keeping the town pretty, taking some of the chores off of you. You can tell the shops when to open/close, making things work much better around your schedule. You can even take on public construction, such as adding in bridges, benches and other projects to make the best town you can have.

Of course, none of this is going to come free. You'll have to earn enough bells to make sure you can fund these projects. You'll most likely spend a lot of your own cash on these projects, but that's what a good mayor does! The more you spend, the closer you come to fulfilling those projects. Once you completely fund things, you'll definitely hear the praise from your townsfolk. A new bridge to cut travel around town is sure to make everyone's adventures that much more enjoyable.

This mayor's position is a constant gameplay mechanic that drives you unlike any other before it. Animal Crossing always keeps you coming back for more because of the care for your town and its people. Now as mayor, you're more driven than ever to keep visiting. You'll certainly have fun while taking on these tasks, but seeing your town grow and the public opinion rise becomes truly addicting. Before you know it, you'll be spending millions of bells on everything/anything you can add to your town for function or beauty.

As you spend more time handling your mayoral duties, the shopping district in town will continue to grow as well. The more you play, the more action will hit the streets. Depending on what you do, when you do it and how often you perform the activity, you'll have everything from clubs to garden shops open up. It's always wonderful starting up your game for the day, then being surprised with a new building under construction. You won't know what's being worked on until the next day comes, always giving you another major reason to revisit your little slice of virtual heaven.

When you're eventually proud enough of your town, you can always invite friends over to come and check things out. Boast about how great of a mayor you are by showing off all of your public works projects. Let your friends talk to townsfolk so they can gush about how great of a mayor you are. It's always fun to have friends visit your Animal Crossing town, but now you have a new level of gameplay to impress them with!

You can also take those friends with you for a bit of tropical island fun. If you're looking for some competition and mini-game action, a hop on the boat at shore will take you to a tropical island paradise, complete with new beach goodies to collect. Just talk to Tortimer and he'll set you up with activities like diving, fishing tournaments and more. This'll give you a great reason to fire up the game when friends are around, be it online or local. Animal Crossing: New Leaf really is all about customizing the experience you want to have.

That especially bleeds over into your personal home. You don't actually sleep at the mayor's mansion. You have your own house to sleep in and show off your personality, moreso than ever. There's a lot more customization involved in your home this time around, letting you really express your style in ways you couldn't before. Sure, you can still shift around furniture and paint walls, but now the outside of your home has a level of personality injected into it as well.

Once you set things up with your home the way you want it to be, you can always show it off through the Happy Home Showcase. Check out the amazing homes of all those you StreetPass, and even check out what Nintendo themselves have to offer through SpotPass. End up seeing an idea that you like? Take that inspiration and bring it back to your own place! Your own ideas are great, but you never know what you'll be inspired to (steal) create once you see the houses of those around the world!

All this goes on top of the elements that already made the Animal Crossing series so endearing. Head out and fish for hours on end. Maybe you like to collect fossils and take them to Blathers at the museum. Perhaps hunting every type of bug out there is your kind of thing. If you've played any other Animal Crossing game, you know how easy it is to get lost in the simple, everyday activities the game offers. New Leaf brings all the features you love back.

As with other Animal Crossing games, the more you return to New Leaf, the more you'll find to love. Interactions with townsfolk become truly meaningful. You'll have all sorts of holidays and special events to take care of. You can grab special SpotPass items to place in your home or send to friends. Every day, every month gives you something new to do as icing on the cake. It truly is a game you want to keep on your 3DS at all times. It's always great to pop in and see what's up, then call it a day when you've realized that you've been playing for hours.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is without a doubt the boost the series needed. If you thought things were getting a little stale, this is the shot in the arm that things needed. The mayoral activities give you completely new reasons to play, all new interactions to experience and even new reasons to work hard and collect bells. You're still free to do all the other things you love in Animal Crossing, but now you have a major reason to do them.

I don't know where Animal Crossing can go from here, but that's not something to worry about right now. We just need to enjoy New Leaf for what it is. A wonderful revamp that once again proves why Nintendo has a knack for keeping established brands alive and well for years on end.

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13 total comments (View all)
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 02:44

Eff yeah, Animal Crossing! My body is ready!
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 02:55

Just a few more days...
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 03:10

Sounds like being the mayor will add just the extra layer of purpose I've been waiting for to keep me interested in an AC game for more than a few days.
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 03:36

I've played Wild World on the DS and City Folk on the Wii and both were good but didn't have that lasting factor that kept me held to most other games that I continually play. New Leaf seems to rectify that with being the Mayor as well as having way more choices than before and new additions. Definitely excited to download this. I think Animal Crossing fits perfectly as a portable game like Pokemon does. It's just seems like a natural fit considering the ease of getting right into it and taking bit size portions out of it each day, like a good portable game does.
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 05:00

The original Animal Crossing was great because you literally never knew when anything was going to happen. Everything was a surprise. And neighbors asked you to run errands, all the time. You always had SOMETHING you could do. It even had a calendar in your home.

Wild World toned it down. Added some cool stuff, but removed a lot of what made the original great, including real holidays. The online/local multiplayer was obviously a great addition, but if you weren't playing with others it started to get meh.

City Folk, in addition to re-using the old music, added some new stuff and some old stuff (holidays back in), but the City actually RUINED some of it for me. You no longer had mystery elements besides, what, like 3 characters? All the things were consolidated to the City, which sort of took away from the whole reason of checking the game every day to see what new things were happening. The only reason I played as long as I did was because of taking pictures and wifi.

That said, New Leaf still has the whole "well, everything's in one place", but so much stuff was added and so much customization to not only your home, but the town itself. There's just so much to do. I'm legitimately excited and feel like this will be definitive and the best overall title since the original.
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 06:54

I think it's time to finally try out this animal crossing thing.
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 10:07

MoldyClay wrote:The original Animal Crossing was great because you literally never knew when anything was going to happen. Everything was a surprise. And neighbors asked you to run errands, all the time. You always had SOMETHING you could do. It even had a calendar in your home.

I don't know if Nintendo will ever be able to capture the magic of the first game and you nailed why. It was all so unknown back then and now everything has become pretty routine. They've worked towards perfecting the gameplay, but what they really need is to introduce some great unknowns and great mysteries to this series.
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 10:23

I will never understand the appeal of games like Animal crossing and The Sim's. What can you do in those games that you can't do in real life (and most likely enjoy more in real life). I thought people played games to be able to do things that aren't possible in real life, or for an interesting story or anything other than to live a second life, a very boring second life
No Avatar
06 Jun 2013 11:08

motherbra1n wrote:I will never understand the appeal of games like Animal crossing and The Sim's. What can you do in those games that you can't do in real life (and most likely enjoy more in real life). I thought people played games to be able to do things that aren't possible in real life, or for an interesting story or anything other than to live a second life, a very boring second life

Animal Crossing is nigh on impossible to explain why you should play it. You can explain what you can do but that really doesn't do much because of how boring it all sounds. It's not for everyone but give it a try- you might be surprised!
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 11:20

well, if anyone wants to visit my town, go ahead and add me:

3DS code is 0173-1332-6809
Nickname: PezManMike
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 12:22

motherbra1n wrote:I will never understand the appeal of games like Animal crossing and The Sim's. What can you do in those games that you can't do in real life (and most likely enjoy more in real life). I thought people played games to be able to do things that aren't possible in real life, or for an interesting story or anything other than to live a second life, a very boring second life

I agree in the sense that I'm not interested in realistic sports simulators or fitness games because if I was interested in those activities, why not just go outside and do the real thing? But Animal Crossing still has this fantastical element, and not just because you live in a town with talking animals. You have more control over your town and virtual life than what you can expect in your real life. And I'm sure that being a real-life mayor isn't quite as fun.
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 13:47


I have, played for about 4 hours, it's possibly the most boring game I've ever played
User avatar
06 Jun 2013 14:36


Which one?

That said, people play the Sims because they play god. You're not PLAYING as a Sim in those games. You can design the house or whatever, but for the most part, you're just watching them do crap.

The real fun, for most people (I don't play Sims), is using mods to make things or characters that exist in other universes and having them live together, then trapping them in a building and killing them. People will set things on fire, remove doors so they go crazy, take toilets out and have Wesker get married to Sephiroth.

The Sims is mostly just a game to be cruel.

Animal Crossing comes mostly from being able to design clothes and customize with things that obviously don't exist. Unless you want to tell me how to get a moving Triforce in my house, or some Pikmin.

In addition to easier customization and being able to design your own clothes, you're not just managing your home, you manage the town. You can't donate fish/bugs/fossils to a museum of just your stuff, design constellations, or some of the other stuff.

Also, the new one has minigames that you play with your friends.

The bulk of what makes Animal Crossing fun, for me, is collection/hoarding, designing things, playing multiplayer and taking pictures in-game of weird happenings or dialogue. That and changing the town, having things happen (like the house getting bigger or the shops changing, etc).

If you played for 4 hours and it was just "fish, bug catch, talk to people" then you're doing it wrong.

But in all fairness, Wild World and City Folk were boring as hell.

An element of the Gamecube version that was fun was that you didn't know what happened every day. Characters would be in town and things would happen randomly. Recently, they just clumped it all in one place, so there's no real "what is happening today?", it's just formulaic.

And honestly, what if someone DOES just want to play it as a second life? In some instances, it could easily be better than their real life, depending on their home situation and so on. It could help them out. It's also a game for winding down. Don't want to be running and gunning or jumping and hitting? Animal Crossing it up.


Yeah. They seem to have perfected everything else, but I need more random occurrences now besides Katie, Wendall, Gulliver, Pascal & Sahara (spelling on all of them? I forget lol).

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