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



Friday is here already! Very excited to have some rest and relaxation. I'm sure you guys are as well, with some of you just getting into your first week of Summer vacation! I hope you're all enjoying that time off! See you in a few, short hours.


Looks like the reader reviews section is catching on! I'm noticing a lot more interaction with our games database. This time we have a review of Animal Crossing: New Leaf from reader Sailing_Day!

Remember, we're always looking for more reader reviews. Just hit up the list here and pick a game, then write up a review to be featured in a later Reader Reviews post!

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Out of all of Nintendo's franchises, Animal Crossing has always been one of their most ambitious. Underneath the simple Nintendo 64 graphics of the original laid an astonishingly deep and complex game; one that aimed to suck you in not for just hundreds of hours, but forever. The game shouted its mantra of complete freedom-- you, the player, were completely free to do with your rural town as you pleased. If you wanted to cultivate it, you could make the greatest town around, or you could let it fall into ruin and let it get covered with weeds. Yet, it was still an oddly rigid and structured experience. There were rules you had to live by, and you could even say there was a right and a wrong way to play the game. But still, the potential shone through brilliantly, and it was fulfilled with its DS successor, Wild World.

Wild World was pretty much the same game downsized for everybody's favorite portable system. However, it did a brilliant job of reasserting the original's claim: this is your town, you can make it into whatever you want. You could lay patterns on the ground to create roads, and you could now customize your character with hats and accessories. It became a much more personal experience, made even more compelling by being one of Nintendo's first online offerings. Despite its numerous limitations, and the unwieldy Friend Code system, it was still a blast to play Wild World online.

The series then went straight into a ditch with the third title, City Folk. The series' Wii offering reprised some of the content that was unfortunately cut from Wild World, but it was so shockingly similar to its predecessor that it led to accusations of it being a mere port, and if you have played this game, you know these are not unfounded claims. Now on the Wii, the identical graphics were officially two whole console generations behind, the online multiplayer featured no improvements and it even featured much of the same music as Wild World. The titular addition to the game, the city, was such a spectacularly bland addition that it was shocking that they thought to base the whole game around it-- all it did was take the previous games' special visitors and consolidate them into one always accessible zone. At the time, it seemed like Nintendo had run out of ideas for the series, but little did we know, they would bounce back and give us something greater than ever before.

Full review here

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Anonymous
02 Jul 2013 05:57

"Friday is here already!"? >_>
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02 Jul 2013 06:28

I love this game. it made up for the extremely lazy attempt city folk was. The music has alot of variety and is pretty good. I like the new graphics and how its easier and quicker to get into shops than city folk. lots of construction activities and the new island makes getting bells faster.

The only aspect i don't know like about this game is that drop in and out of online takes forever. I have like three other buddies who plays with me and when we all want to get into one village, its a nightmare. SO MUCH LOADING. and you have to wait for one person at a time.
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02 Jul 2013 08:33

Sailing_Day wrote:At the time, it seemed like Nintendo had run out of ideas for the series, but little did we know, they would bounce back and give us something greater than ever before.


"Something greater than ever before?" Where?

It's funny how I keep reading reviews about how "there is so much new stuff in ACNL" and "it's the best AC ever" but then the reviews never actually tell you what is new. I think the main problem is that there isn't much new in New Leaf.

I appreciate that Sailing_Day kept emphasizing that the game pretty much IS the same as previous iterations, which is something a lot of reviewers didn't want to admit.

There is more to it than Prima Games made out, but it's not significantly more.

As I said previously...To me, since this is the SIXTH version of the game, with barely any changes to the main game, this thing should be perfect. Instead, it's just kinda thrown together.

However, Nintendo KNEW they could sell it no matter what, hence no preorder bonus in the US and no fooling around with "Oh noes! We messed up the shipping" like when Fire Emblem: Awakening came out.
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02 Jul 2013 10:19

Fred Duck wrote:
Sailing_Day wrote:At the time, it seemed like Nintendo had run out of ideas for the series, but little did we know, they would bounce back and give us something greater than ever before.


"Something greater than ever before?" Where?

It's funny how I keep reading reviews about how "there is so much new stuff in ACNL" and "it's the best AC ever" but then the reviews never actually tell you what is new. I think the main problem is that there isn't much new in New Leaf.

I appreciate that Sailing_Day kept emphasizing that the game pretty much IS the same as previous iterations, which is something a lot of reviewers didn't want to admit.

There is more to it than Prima Games made out, but it's not significantly more.

As I said previously...To me, since this is the SIXTH version of the game, with barely any changes to the main game, this thing should be perfect. Instead, it's just kinda thrown together.

However, Nintendo KNEW they could sell it no matter what, hence no preorder bonus in the US and no fooling around with "Oh noes! We messed up the shipping" like when Fire Emblem: Awakening came out.


You've hit on some good points, and I don't think they are just isolated to the AC series. A lot of Nintendo's franchise iterations these past few years have been severely lacking in comparison to years past. I don't know what's going on over at the big N, perhaps its the toll from the developer restructuring or learning of the new hardwares (although 3DS seems to finally be hitting it's "technical" stride) or what?
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02 Jul 2013 10:35

Fred Duck wrote:
However, Nintendo KNEW they could sell it no matter what, hence no preorder bonus in the US and no fooling around with "Oh noes! We messed up the shipping" like when Fire Emblem: Awakening came out.


I don't get that. Super Mario Galaxy was a guaranteed seller yet all its preorders still came with that gold coin.

You are right though about there being not that much new stuff in New Leaf. Besides Club LOL, the public works projects, swimming in the ocean, ore, island mini games, the Dream Suit, touring other people's houses, the Dream Suite and the Garden shop.

For me, what's keeps the game addicting (33 hours and counting) is the fact you have to unlock many aspects of the game that were there right from the start in City Folk. City Folk doesn't get a lot of credit for the additions it brought to the series. The problem is it brought those additions in the wrong way. One thing I do miss from that game is getting a balloon or Pinwheel from Phineas' cart in the city circle. That added some whimsy to the game and I wish they kept that little cart around.
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02 Jul 2013 12:34

nGen wrote:I don't get that. Super Mario Galaxy was a guaranteed seller yet all its preorders still came with that gold coin.


I think for Mario games, Nintendo believes that people will buy them, but they want people to preorder them. NSMB2, SM3DL, and PMSS also came with trinkets.

nGen wrote:You are right though about there being not that much new stuff in New Leaf. Besides Club LOL, the public works projects, swimming in the ocean, ore, island mini games, the Dream Suit, touring other people's houses, the Dream Suite and the Garden shop.


Heh heh. I like your sarcasm. But let's take it point by point:

Club LOL - I've only seen it once, and it appears to be a dance floor. I've heard there's more but the game tells you nothing.

the public works projects - The ordinances are 20Kb and the game tells you nothing about what they do. You pay up, they enact, and...you get to figure out what they did. Is Nintendo trying to encourage sales of guides or something? The public works tend to be really, really expensive, which you can look at as: padding the length of the title, giving you something to do with all the bells you inevitably will amass if you do play it every day like they want you to, or catering to the 4-person same-cart sharing, which I haven't heard of that many people doing.

swimming in the ocean - So that makes the map a bit bigger, and adds more fish to collect. I haven't seen it myself, but am I missing something? It's technically "new" not really something different.

ore - You dig up things but the game tells you nothing about them. Maybe one of the animals will talk about them at some point, but without looking online, would anyone know what to do with them? It's kind of like perfect fruit. The game tells you nothing about what they do either.

island mini games - Wherein you get to do the same bug hunting, fruit collecting, and fossil digging as in your regular town, but this time for island-specific items. The point is, it's the same activities you'd do in the regular town, but with a time limit. Not really what you'd call something brand new.

the Dream Suit - I don't know what this is.

touring other people's houses - This is like visiting someone else's town in previous titles but made to fit StreetPass. Unfortunately, it's really really clumsy. Why the airlock to go in and out?

the Dream Suite - This is like visiting someone else's town in previous titles but made to not interfere with other people. I haven't seen it in action myself.

the Garden shop - Which sells stuff Tom Nook used to sell. So, that's not actually adding anything new.

nGen wrote:For me, what's keeps the game addicting (33 hours and counting) is the fact you have to unlock many aspects of the game that were there right from the start in City Folk. City Folk doesn't get a lot of credit for the additions it brought to the series. The problem is it brought those additions in the wrong way.


Yes, NL locks a LOT of stuff and you have to put hours and hours in to grind through all of it. Nintendo designed something they didn't want people beating and selling, so they added more and more stuff to collect. Now you have shoes, hats, socks, glasses, umbrellas, and trousers, on top of the bugs, fossils, art, plants, furniture, rugs, and wallpaper.

At the end of the day, though, what is significantly different from early Animal Crossings? As you say, it's that you have to unlock many aspects of it. Is that really worth it? On top of that, there's a lot of stuff that's worse than in previous titles. As far as Animal Crossing goes, it's what you'd expect.

What I find very strange is that so many reviews are so glowing when...it's not very different and not very polished.
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03 Jul 2013 01:19

@Fred Duck

Dream Suit was a typo. It was supposed to be Dream Suite, which I listed twice for some reason.

Beyond that, I'm with you in that Nintendo needs to bring new things to the series. Like I said, I think City Folk introduced a lot, but did it poorly. New Leaf feels like the game City Folk should have been. I don't see this lack of polish that you mention and there isn't anything in this game that I would say is worse than previous games beyond the addition of cliffs to the beaches instead of having a smooth transition like in past games. What I do see are assets that need updating. The entrance to the Museum and the lobby looks exactly the same as the past games. Same goes for the Nook store, post office, clothing store and I assume Shampoodles when I unlock it.
As for Nintendo designing something that they didn't want people beating and selling, that's the point. They also made it easier to "beat" the game more quickly with the addition of the island. If you were to really power through it you could easily bring home 1,000,000 bells a day with several trips to the beach.
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04 Jul 2013 08:51

nGen wrote:Beyond that, I'm with you in that Nintendo needs to bring new things to the series.

Yeah, I was rather disappointed that there isn't anything really new in this game. The mayor angle is hyped to the sky but I don't think my town's mayor looks for bugs and fish all day and raises 100% of the funds for public works projects by himself. :P

nGen wrote:I don't see this lack of polish that you mention and there isn't anything in this game that I would say is worse than previous games beyond the addition of cliffs to the beaches instead of having a smooth transition like in past games.


Lack of polish would be the little details that shouldn't be rough, since this is the game's sixth outing with, as we agree, barely anything new.

For example:
When you run over a bridge, you cast a shadow in the water under the bridge.

When you're talking with someone you can give stuff to (Blathers, Timmy, Reese, etc.), some of them will ask you if you want to do another transaction after one exchange. Others immediately kick you out to the beginning of the dialogue tree. It should be consistent.

When selling one item to Reese, she will tell you the value in her very next line. When selling multiple items, there's an extra screen of pointless boilerplate before she'll tell you the value. Why, does the game really need that extra time to add up the price? Is that useless screen supposed to add something to the game? They had it streamlined, then for some reason, unstreamlined it. Why?

If Blathers identifies a single fossil and it's new, he will immediately ask for it. If you have him identify multiple fossils, you must donate separately. If you try to donate unidentified fossils, he USED to ask if you wanted them identified. Now, he refuses to identify them unless you specifically tell him to. o_O Blathers used to spout trivia about the things you give him but now, he has a boilerplate message for everything, which takes as long as the trivia used to, but since it's generic, is now just a total waste of time.

Online mode is really, really clunky. On top of it being badly done, you can't access the home menu, meaning you can't change the brightness or see your online friend list.

You can have friends in other countries but the US version apparently only lets you type in roman characters, so even if you have Japanese friends, you can't type to them in Japanese. As you might imagine, Japanese people don't like that very much.

That's just a few of the things I've noticed. If the only advances from Wild World are more things to use bells on & shinier graphics, how does that justify the price of admission? How does that qualify 9s, 10s, and 11s from every reviewer ever?

nGen wrote:As for Nintendo designing something that they didn't want people beating and selling, that's the point. They also made it easier to "beat" the game more quickly with the addition of the island. If you were to really power through it you could easily bring home 1,000,000 bells a day with several trips to the beach.


I see, so you can do more than just minigames on the island. That means when Prima called it the island from the first game (GC version), they weren't kidding. The GC island gave you tons of bells for almost no work.

I know AC is designed to not beat and sell, since it's always been like that. However, it is completely evil of Nintendo to make a game whose purpose is to "collect everything in it" and then have limited time items. Unless someone has already purchased it AND knew about the Best Buy items AND knew how to get them AND knew when to get them AND was able to get to Best Buy, they can never, ever get a complete set (without trading someone else, depriving them of a complete set). That was a three-week window.

(Speaking of which, that's another lack of polish thing. When SpotPass was announced, they said we could pass spots and automatically get new stuff for games. If so, why do we have to manually beg for the item through Pelly when connected to the NintendoZone?)

I'm still peeved at how they handled item distribution in ACCF.
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07 Jul 2013 00:40

I think New Leaf gets such good review scores just in comparison to how bad City Folk was. Things like stacking fruit and identifying multiple fossils at the same time are "features" that are ridiculously overdue. It may still be lacking some polish, but there's no denying it's massively more polished than the others in the series.
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07 Jul 2013 22:39

Lyude77 wrote:I think New Leaf gets such good review scores just in comparison to how bad City Folk was.

...

Lyude77 wrote:Things like stacking fruit and identifying multiple fossils at the same time are "features" that are ridiculously overdue.


I was surprised when you said fruit stacks, so I tried it...and it took me a while to get it to work. Another total lack of polish.

You can try this.
Put two or more individual fruit into your cabinet. Open the drawer and try to drag one fruit onto the other in the drawer. They just switch places. Try to drag them together in your inventory area at the bottom. They just switch places. Unless someone told you or you accidentally did it, you would never find out fruit stacks because it only stacks in your inventory when not accessing a closet. Not only that, but what other items stack in this game? Loose bells? Jeez.

Therefore, if you're hoarding fruit and have a stack in your closet and want to add more, you have to open the closet, take the stack out, close the closet, open your inventory, put the new fruit into the stack, close your inventory, open the closet again, put the stack back in, and close it. Wow, good job Nintendo.

As for fossils, I notice ACNL gives you a lot more per day than say, ACCF.

Lyude77 wrote:It may still be lacking some polish, but there's no denying it's massively more polished than the others in the series.


ACNL is only slightly different from earlier AC games, mostly in the form of "more stuff to buy with bells" and as such, being 90%+ the same, yet being so massively unpolished in its sixth minor iteration is unbelievable to me. In what areas IS it polished? It astonishes me that Nintendo somehow gets a pass on this, and reviewers adorn it with 9s, 10s, 11s, etc. @_@
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09 Jul 2013 18:56

Fred Duck wrote:"Something greater than ever before?" Where?

It's funny how I keep reading reviews about how "there is so much new stuff in ACNL" and "it's the best AC ever" but then the reviews never actually tell you what is new. I think the main problem is that there isn't much new in New Leaf.


If you cared to read, you would see the plethora of new content that is in the game. The amount of customization available is [img]astronomical[/img] compared to the previous games, when it comes to your character, your house AND your entire town. The multiplayer mode is far more enticing, and between mini-games, streetpass and the Dream Suite, most of the time I've had with New Leaf is online. There is furniture customization and limited crafting with ores, swimming and diving, custom museum exhibits and a chat system you can use to communicate with distant players. Still, like I said, it's no huge upset to the formula. It's just more content added on to what was already there-- but that's what makes it the best Animal Crossing.

Fred Duck wrote:ACNL is only slightly different from earlier AC games, mostly in the form of "more stuff to buy with bells" and as such, being 90%+ the same, yet being so massively unpolished in its sixth minor iteration is unbelievable to me. In what areas IS it polished? It astonishes me that Nintendo somehow gets a pass on this, and reviewers adorn it with 9s, 10s, 11s, etc. @_@

We're talking about a Life Sim game where everything revolves around money. The fact that most of the new features require it is sorely irrelevant. Everything about it is more polished. The graphics, the dialogue, the streamlined nature of some of the features that were in earlier iterations and sheer amount of new stuff to play with. I've tried going back to the earlier versions of the series, and after spending time with New Leaf, they just don't cut it. If you stubbornly want to believe this is a mere "minor iteration", I don't know how else to spell it out, sorry.
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10 Jul 2013 01:47

Sailing_Day wrote:If you cared to read, you would see the plethora of new content that is in the game.


Cared to read? I've read so many reviews I've lost count. =_=

The "new content" you list mostly consists of new options and expanded sets of items (which other ACs have also done).

The multiplayer modes are the same activities as before, repackaged. Of course, multiplayer is window-dressing on a largely single-player experience.

Sailing_Day wrote:There is furniture customization and limited crafting with ores, swimming and diving, custom museum exhibits and a chat system you can use to communicate with distant players.


Sure, there's new stuff. I only said 90%+ is the same, not 100%.

Clearly, you've spent a lot of time with it, since you figured out how to tan, breed flowers, and other things but again, severe lack of polish shows through in that these things are available in the game as things to do when not on your main quest to collect 1,000,000,000,000 coins bells, but are really obscure. (Or did some animal tell you?)

Does changing colours of furniture really add a lot to the game? Is crafting ever introduced by the game or do you have to accidentally stumble on it yourself? Is swimming much more than a different kind of "walk" animation? Do custom museum exhibits affect the game world? Does chatting with friends belong as a feature of AC or would that be more useful as a system-level function?

Sailing_Day wrote:Still, like I said, it's no huge upset to the formula. It's just more content added on to what was already there-- but that's what makes it the best Animal Crossing.


That's like saying out of a 12 oz bowl of orange juice, a 14 oz cup of orange juice, and a 16 oz glass of orange juice with a straw, the 16 oz glass is the best. I would expect after 6 iterations, they could, I dunno, come up with different flavour blends or something, you know, to mix it up a bit?

Sailing_Day wrote:We're talking about a Life Sim game where everything revolves around money. The fact that most of the new features require it is sorely irrelevant.


It's totally relevant. The majority of the "new content" is just stuff to buy with bells. Public works! Socks! Shoes! "The Sims 3" is a life sim game where money is a key factor, but it's not the entire point of the game! Look at how different The Sims 2 is from The Sims 3.

Sailing_Day wrote:Everything about it is more polished. The graphics, the dialogue, the streamlined nature of some of the features that were in earlier iterations and sheer amount of new stuff to play with.


Polished?!

Graphics are more detailed but it gets a bit busy at times and hard to see. Your shadow shows under a bridge. It's even just a circle! Oh, well, I didn't have any major problems with the graphics in early AC games; gameplay is what's key.

Dialogue? Like how when you buy a tool from T&T, you can ask what it's for, and when you buy it, they'll ask you if you know what it's for? How Reese's multiple item price gets bumped to the second screen to make room for boilerplate? LIke how all of Blathers is now boilerplate?

Streamlined? Identifying fossils? When dealing with a lost item, you still have to manually pick it, even though it's 99.9% likely there's only one selectable item? When picking up bags of bells, they don't automatically go into your wallet? There are so many things they could have done but did not.

New items does not equal polish. Dialogue and streamlining are what really got me. So much of the game is spent going through the same conversations... "Hello, I'd like to sell." "You came to sell?! What did you bring me?" You'd think they could switch it up a little or maybe even cut it out after a while. (Eg: "Hi, I'd like to sell..." [open item picker])

Sailing_Day wrote:If you stubbornly want to believe this is a mere "minor iteration", I don't know how else to spell it out, sorry.


It's okay, you tried. Unfortunately, the company that led me to believe this is a minor iteration is Nintendo, since they added zero major new features. What are the big, major features that expand the game beyond "get stuff to sell for bells to buy more stuff?" I wish Nintendo would try to be at least a little ambitious with this series. It's always been so shallow and simple. Unfortunately, with ACNL, it looks like Nintendo has run out of ideas. Instead of say, letting you levy taxes or try to convince other animals to move into your town or anything with a new play mechanic, it's just more of the same. So many possibilities...so little effort. In SimCity games, you're also mayor. How many of your responsibilities are the same in both games? Which one more closely resembles the things your town's mayor deals with in real life?
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14 Jul 2013 22:08

While New Leaf may not be a completely new and innovative title, it does add things that were never in the series before that take up a large amount of time. There is the island with the minigames, swimming, ore, the dream suite, upgrading the outside of your home's appearance (fencing, roof color, mailbox, etc.), being able to view other people's homes online without having to visit them, public work projects, ordinances, etc.

On the island, you can play minigames that earn you tokens that can be redeemed for items/furniture that you cannot obtain elsewhere. You can also connect randomly with others on the island to play the minigames with them or to just run around and collect bugs/fish with them on the main island.

Swimming is completely new and adds underwater creatures to the list of things to collect for the museum. Things like starfish and anenomes.

Ore is a new element. Later in the game, these ore become more and more available. They are used to transform your furniture into a different color that is completely unique in that they are made in these shiny, reflective colors. It definitely adds a large amount of customization.

The dream suite allows you to visit an image/copy of someone else's town without having to actually visit them online/in-person (wirelessly).

As I said about the home appearance upgrades, you can change many of the things concerning the outside appearance of the home from the roof color to the outer wall appearance to the fencing/mailbox.

You can visit other people's homes online without having to visit their town. A copy of everyone's home via streetpass or spotpass are saved to this area within the game that allows you to view their homes on the outside and the inside including their items and furniture.

Public work projects are things like bridges, various structures to improve the town's overall appearance/attractiveness, and new building structures or upgrades. You can use it to upgrade the museum as well as the train station and town hall's appearance.

Ordinances are unique in that you can change the time of day that stores will open and close. If you choose the early bird ordinance, stores will open earlier and villagers will be outside earlier in the day. If you choose the night owl ordinance, stores will stay open late (as late as 2 AM depending on the store and its upgrade) and villagers will be outside late. There's also the beautiful town ordinance that makes it so that villagers will essentially pick most of the weeds that appear as well as make it so that they plant and water flowers often. I've found these ordinances very useful in-game.

Aside from these things, the game is pretty much the same game as Wild World but with nicer graphics and sounds. I've put in over 60 hours to the game so far and it's great. :)

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