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My Video Game Reviews

Animal Crossing New Leaf

Posted by sm64provider on November 20, 2013 at 9:15 AM

I'm going to be completely honest, I have never played an Animal Crossing game before (until this game came out) and the reason isn't because I had no interest in it or didn't have the money, but simply because I was just like 'meh' to it since I didn't understand it.


When I was a kid, I used to love the idea of customisation in the digital world, anything you could edit seemed like an amazing idea that few games did but all that was available at the time to me was the 3D Maze screensaver for Windows 95, and WinBrick95 (I think it had an edit level option, but it was hard to use). Over the years I would come across games that gave more freedom like the Terrain editor in Yu-Gi-Oh Dueslist of the Roses, Lego Star Wars (absolute minimal), Crash Bandicoot's Level Editor (lets you place any crate you like in a VS map, then play in it) and I'm pretty sure there are more. Tetris and YuGiOh (arranging cards in a deck) don't really count since these are puzzle games. You know, games made up of puzzle elements. Anyway, these games were already awesome as it was and these extra little things were nice touches which I'm sure increased replayability (like a forever alone version of DLC) and it only got better when I finally got a DS. BOOM! I've talked about this before I know, but this is the point in my life when I came across Mario Kart DS's 'Emblem' editor application which let you draw anything you liked with a grid of 32x32 and 15 colours to choose from! How awesome is that! Actually, looking back, I REALLY would've loved Mario Paint if I had came across it as a kid (I didn't get to play it until I was a teen, and that was a SNES emulator running on my R4 magicom card).


The editor in Mario Kart DS was the first time I looked at a game and said to myself "Yes, this is brilliant! More games should do this, I wish other developers would learn from this because this is such an amazing idea!" (or somethig along the lines of that) and it was many years before I came across another game like this. I'm tempted to say Animal Crossing Wild World but that's not completely true. At some point in my life (I don't remember the order so I'll just assume I saw this next game first) I came across Worms Open Warfare which had it's own version of the emblem editor, a 'Flag' editor for teams! Where as Mario Kart only had 1 space for customised drawings (so 1 drawing per copy of the game which sucks), worms had something like 8? This was unbelievable! And you got more colours to work with! I can't remember how many, I think it was 24? 32? Something crazy like that, but thedownside was you only had a 24x24 size grid. Not a bad loss for what essentially is more. The only downside to this was that the colour selection was not really that good for it had no colour for pink. It had a weird skin colour which could be used instead but it was annoying trying to draw Princess Peach with skin-like colours for her dress (haha). All of this aside, I didn't think it could get any better.


Earlier I mentioned that I hadn't played any other Animal Crossing game before. I'm not entirely sure that's true since I did on one occasion while at a friends house load his copy of the game, walk like 4 paces inside his house (completely confused) and in my confusion I powered the game off which he yelled at me for, so if this counts as playing (more like brief observation) then I guess what I said earlier was wrong. At the time I had no idea that you could customise drawings in the game (I still haven't played it so I don't know if it's the same as New Leaf or not..?) so I had no real intrerest to get the game. Also, what do you even do in Animal Crossing??? Colelct bells, pluck weeds, buy furnature and clothes...why is this fun? You're essentially looking after a clumsy pet that occasionally has days where they trip and constantly need picking up, in fact this is essentially a game an alien would pick up to learn human interaction skills. Anyways, I had no motivation to play again, especially when my friend revealed Mr.Resetti to me (saying he yelled at me because I didn't save. Wtf?) and from what he was reading out loud to me, Mr.Resetti sounds like a pretty crappy game mechanic to me. If I made a game that included something like that I'd either get sued for making kdis cry, or no one would buy my game. And there was me, not buying their weird ass game.


Looking back to all the customisation bits in ACWW, I am pretty certain I would have loved this game as a kid...maybe...I'm not sure, this game (New Leaf) is the game that's gotten me thinking soo much about video games, and why even bother to play them anymore (I don't even know how to enjoy games anymore, I've even been writing a huge document for this very Video Game Reviews page where I ponder about games for like 10 or so paragraphs and I'm not done yet because I still can't come to a conclusion). So basically New Leaf destroyed my enjoyment for Modern video games. I had been playing this game continiuosly over the course of the first 3.5 months since it's release (13th of whatever month, June? 2013) and to this day I have not worked out what to do or how to enjoy the game. Seriously. It's 1 of the few multiplayer 3DS games and there isn't a lot to do other than play the role of a mailman and deliver stuff to people from anything you can store in your inventory, to letters, money, umm...probably other stuff too.


This next section is where I'm going to give my thoughts about Animal Crossing New Leaf as I first thought about them.


So here it was, June the 13th (I checked, yep), the game has arrived a whole day early (but I'm at Uni when it arrives, in a long lecture), anyway I get back to see my package and I'm like "OMFG!" I can't wait to play and see what all of the hype is about. I put the game in and "Ohh cute a puppy running around the Icon" and I load the game. Blah blah blah, I made a file, got on thetrain with that really f*****g nosy cat that you swear is going to kill and eat you, then you get off at a town which you named seconds beforehand. Imagine if it was like that in real life:

Cat: "Where are you headed?"

Me: "Umm, Buttspoopville"

Cat: "Really? I haven't really heard of that place before, hmm let me see, umm, is this the place?"

*Hands scribbles on a piece of paper*

Me: "Uhh, yeah" *Town pops into existance"

Conductor: "Uhh, yeah, everyone please keep calm or whatever but a place named 'Buttspoopville' has just materialised in front of us, would anyone be interested in visiting this place? Probably has a society full of wizards if they can just make it pop into existance like that. Anyone?"

Me: "Lol, yeah I'm totally getting off here"

Cat: "Back in the old days, I used to travel on this very train. This was back in 2002 when..."

Me: "SEE YA!"

Anyways, that was kind of a weird concept to me but I suppose it's pretty smart compared to Pokemon's 'Are you a Boy or a Girl?' which is a similar thing, but a different, more blunt approach. So I arrive there thinking "Wow, I'm the Mayor of this forsaken place!" and everyone is waiting for me outside the station. Typical responce, but my character on the other hand idiot. Every time Isabellend asked my character a question, the options were like 'uhh' or 'W-what is this?' or 'I'm not mayor, you've made a mistake', I mean c'mon, seriously, how dumb is the character supposed to be? Of course you're going to be mayor, it's the selling point of the game, It's written all over the box likea ribbon constricts a present. Anyways, after that Isabelle is all like "Come to my office" which convieniently is in the exact centre of town (makes sence, like a town hall) and so I go there and...pfft, I can't be mayor without a house. Ok, cool, I know this part, I get given a tent and have to pay 10,000 bells for it....bells? Why are they called bells? They look like regular coins and coin bags to me? I wonder if Isabelle's name has anything to do with it. Probably not but bells? How random? Why not call them spinning tops, or glue sticks or drumkits, I mean becasue this is completely random! Yes, in Zelda, the currency is Ruppees (I probably spelt that wrong) but that's becasuethe money is low poly capsule shaped gemstones that could be called anything, and so is named after an existing currency that is used in India. Why? I have no idea, but Zelda does borrow a lot of terms, and symbols from economies, religions and other stuff around the world.


So the first thing I'm thinking is "wow, this place is soo big! I wonder how you make money?" and I'm looking around and all I see are cherry trees and (on the beach), shells. It doesn't take long to find out that I can sell just about anything to Re-Tail (R Parkers in Japan) and they will buy it. Imagine in real life picking up stones or snails, rubbish etc, and going into a shop expecting the keeper to buy everything from you. That's just not a system that will work. But as you do, I picked up some shells and cherries and sold them thinking "I am an outsider, and I have come to your town, picked up your own fruit, and am selling them back to you for my own personal profit. What right do I have to do this? Yeah I'm Mayor but it's your own stuff, why would you even buy this?" but that feeling soon went away because I realised that there were no consequences so this was a good idea for money. Soon I had enough money to buy a shovel and a fishing rod and so I started fishing and digging holes. I had my own thoughts about these actions. When I first started fishing, it was really exciting catching more and more new fish but it didn't take long to dawn on my that I was destroying the ecosystem, and this made me feel really guilty because when a species of anything is caught in mass numbers, it has a chance to die out proportional to the demands for it. Sicne you call sell just about anything to Re-Tail (and always get the same price or more on specific days), it seemed that I was destroying the natural environment for my own profit, kinda like how poachers make a living, which is bad! And the scary thing is that the game is ok with it, it rewards you as you destroy it because well, it's just a game and fish technically just spawn so I shouldn't have been thinking about it too hard. What I was afraid of was 1 day in my town (which is supposed to evolve over time) someone would come up to me and make me feel guilty for everything I had done, stealing all the fruit, digging holes everywhere, or whatever but nope, it's totally ok.


The other thing that came into mind with these 2 new items was the shovel, and because I play a lot of Zelda games I assumed it worked the same way but it doesn't. Hmm. You use shovels to bury items, unbury items, and stab rocks until valuables come out like insects, bells and gems. What? Because I was used to Zelda, I assumed the holes would despawn if I entered a house but this wasn't the case. Something I noticed almost immediately about the game was how much it reminded me of The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass for the DS because the characters walk/run the same, they bop the same as they move, the way the main character turns, the way he holds a shovel and digs, just about everything feels like Phantom Hourglass, and eventually I found out why! The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time is a game that was made using a heavily modified Super Mario 64 engine, making this the OoT engine. This engine made it's way into TLOZ The Windwaker and Animal Crossing (The original N64 version in Japan). The Windwaker Engine was modified for Phantom Hourglass on the DS and the N64 AC made it's way onto the Wii. Ok, basically this engine floated around a lot between quite a few Nintendo games and perhaps were modified by the same staff that created it for those wanting it in their games? I have no idea but for whatever reason the engine pretty much is the same as Phantom Hourglasses. That's pretty cool.


Playing Animal Crossing New Leaf was always the same formula for me. Open the game, do activity 1, possibly unlock something which I would get excited for maybe about a day, do activity 2 and then quit. activity 1 would be the same repetitive stuff, check the mail, water the plants, pluck the weeds, dig up the fossils, shake the trees for money bees and furnature, find the gem rock, find the money rock, get the fossils analysed, donate if neccessary or if not sell them, and then do a bit of shopping. That's too much repetition that I wish I could just not do -.- Activity 2 would then be to go to the island, catch all the expensive bugs, return and sell them, then either bank the money or get an extension on my house, and each trip to the island would get me between 320,000 - 600,000 bells, normally around the 400,000 mark since sharks did not appear that often. Sometimes I would do the random thing like start a town project, decorate my house, plant a bush, write a letter or whatever. But to this day, I still do not understand what you do in Animal Crossing, so I just eventually...stopped. This game lets you make 10 custom 32x32 designs with well over 80 colours to choose from, plus an additional 10 if you save some designs at the Able Sisters shop, and even more beyond that if you get the Able Sisters to save the designs as QR codes, and not only can you design things, you can decorate furnature with them, and then use them to decorate your house, but I just don't seem to enjoy it as much as I thought I would've, especially now as an adult, and that's why I'm going to have to give this game a low rating.


Overall, as a game that keeps you hooked, you either have a reason or you don't, so I'm going to put this in the middle with a 5/10.

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