Monday, 23 September 2013

Game Review: Animal Crossing New Leaf

Both before and when it came out, I genuinely didn't think this game would appeal to me. I expected it to get boring very quickly due to there being very little storyline to follow. And even now, I'll freely admit that, if I were to try explaining the appeals of the game to another person, it would still seem boring. But having played it for a few weeks now and having played enough hours that Animal Crossing New Leaf is already in my Top 3, I can give you the best word to describe the latest installment in the Animal Crossing franchise: addictive.

The game starts with you travelling by train to a small town that no-one except its residents has ever heard of. When you arrive, you're met by a welcoming committee of talking animals, proclaiming you to be their new mayor. Except your character has no knowledge of this. But hey, might as well roll with it.

The first few days may seem a bit tedious until you pay off your initial loan (trust me, it's not hard to pay off) that gets you a real house instead of a tent to live in and do enough favours for the locals to start making some changes in your town. 

But over time, you'll start to build up a routine made from what might sound like the most mundane of tasks. Collecting fruits from the trees, fishing for sharks in the ocean, selling loot at the pawn shop and finding the best items of furniture to suit your style. In my case, I usually end up getting the most classical items like swords, daruma dolls and statues.

After a few days, you'll even unlock access to a tropical island where you can play minigames that you'll play over and over to get the best rank and the most medals. The island is home to a whole host of new items and collectibles that you won't find back home.

Some of the most infamous frustrations present in the older games remain, like your increasing loan courtesy of the devious Tom Nook. But as long as you know the best ways to put some bells in your pockets, you'll have a sized up house in no time.

I wasn't kidding when I said you have the power to make some changes in your town. Once you have your permit, you can add new structures and buildings to add a bit of life to your town. The well-known character K.K. Slider even makes a reappearance in Club LOL once that project gets unlocked.

And if you're thinking 'oh, is that it?' you've barely even scratched the surface. Public holidays coinciding with those in the real world and weekly special events will have you switching on your 3DS to make sure you don't miss them. You can visit your friends in their own towns and explore or invite them to see the developments you've made. And even though your villagers might seem like annoying collections of data at first, you'll grow attached to them as you do favours for each other and pass gifts back and forth. Seriously, every time one of my villagers does something nice for me I want to reach into the game and hug them.

Don't expect a game that will keep you playing all day long. This is something to be sampled carefully like a fancy buffet. There's only enough to keep you playing for a few hours each day, but you'll be coming back every afternoon to examine your new fossils, and see what furniture falls out of the trees (no, I'm not kidding).

Even doing my best, I don't feel like I can do this game justice. It's something you need to experience and grow close to on your own but I can hope I've helped recommend it. Undoubtedly, it's one of my favourite 3DS titles so far, and I'll be playing for a long time to come. 

That's about all I've got to say.

Can you really resist something that adorable?