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In the summer of 2002, I was lucky enough to be one of the first members of the American press to receive a copy of a game called Animal Crossing for the GameCube. It came in a non-specific transparent plastic case, and until that moment I had no idea what to expect from this new game, which Nintendo describes as a communication game. What set it apart from most other games to date was that it was live (a bit like the hit series 24, but with less torture), and the game encouraged users to go there every day to see what was new. After a few hours with the game, I got hooked and downloaded the game every day for years, just to stop by my roommates, catch a few bugs and go fishing. This basic concept of passing once a day to escape the pressures of the real world still exists today – more than ever. Who wouldn’t want to relax on a desert island with friends?
It’s been too long since we’ve had a real Animal Crossing game. The Wii U’s inability to comprehend is partly to blame, but whatever the reason, it’s great to be able to play Animal Crossing on a TV again: New horizons. I know some people see this series as a portable game and others as a console game, but now both sides have found their way thanks to the Switch’s hybrid nature. Having played a lot (over 80 hours at the time of writing), both in dock and portable mode, I can tell you that the game works great no matter what your preferences are. Whenever possible, I enjoy these HD images on my OLED TV because the men are really fantastic!
Key elements of the previous Animal Crossing games are alive and well in this latest version. The game starts very differently: You settle on a desert island where you have to build new businesses, and after about a week you’re off to a busy island. Your job is to populate the island with animals and to build important buildings, such as B. the museum, which has been greatly improved, and Nook’s Cranny, a small shop selling various items that change every day. This is where the new game brings one of the biggest improvements in gameplay: Craftsmanship. You can now collect resources that will be used to create new tools, furniture and other objects. There are branches you can pick up from wobbly trees, three different types of trees that will fall out of them if you attack them with an axe, rocks you can hit with a shovel or an axe to catch rocks, clay and iron nuggets, and even pulling weeds has its benefits. As you learn about new recipes, your catalog of available items will grow, and soon you’ll be doing a variety of interesting things.
This cycle of game creation is pretty fascinating and it’s probably my favorite part of the game. This has some drawbacks, as you can only create one element at a time. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but as you play the game you’ll find that sometimes you want to make 10 things, but you have to go through the same prompts and animations for each one. Another problem is that your tools often break down. You start the game with only vulnerable tools like an axe, shovel, net and fishing rod. Soon you will be able to build more powerful versions, but after a while they will break even. Since most of the things you’ll do in the game use one or more of these tools, it gets tedious to make new ones every time they break. Another drawback is that if you want to create a better version of a tool, you first have to create a fragile version…. and then have to go through the creation process twice to get the object you want. It would be nice if the game knew you have the supplies for the frag version, then the supplies for the enhanced version, and you just skipped one of the steps.
In addition to creating articles, you can edit them much later. This is really good, and also because you never know what new colors or patterns you can apply to an item until you try it on. This adds another layer of personality, so no two islands will ever be the same – even if they have identical furniture.
Speaking of furniture: Much of it can now be installed outside! It’s a fantastic addition that really brings a lot to the game. Your imagination is pretty much the only limit to how you want to decorate your island. Want to install an outdoor bed and fireplace in your home? Let’s go. In general, you are free to do what you want with few restrictions. When you make your tent a home, you also have plenty of storage space to store items for later use. You no longer need to fill the rooms with fish or bugs while you wait for the store to open – just throw them away or store them for easy access later.
Apparently, Nintendo’s developers have taken a close look at the user interface of the old Animal Crossing games and almost completely stripped it of its content. New Horizons has a brand new inventory screen, easy to access and simple to use. At the beginning of the game, you have the option to spend a few Nook miles (more on that in a moment) to increase the space in your pockets so you can carry more things. You also have access to the tool wheel for even faster tool changes.
Perhaps the biggest quality of life improvement during the game is the ability to have an overview of the rooms in your house and move furniture and objects with ease. Those of you who have played previous games may remember that in the past you had to place an object on the ground and then drag and rotate it manually – which often became very tedious very quickly. Here you can easily select an object and move it to any position. You can even do it for items hanging on the walls, which is really great. If you want to grab multiple pieces of furniture and move them all at once (handy when your rooms get bigger), just hold down the button, drag and grab. Ironically, objects outside your home behave the same way as objects inside your home – in other words, we are always placing the object and they move it by hand. However, I accept this limitation because it is light years away from the New Leaf, where Isabel had to be brought in to assess the location of each object. Overall, the game’s interior design surpasses any other in the franchise, and that’s a big step forward.
If you’re completely new to the Animal Crossing experience, you may be wondering what you’re doing in New Horizons? Well, there are often many tasks that can be done in a day. You are always looking for more clocks (game currency) because you want to buy items in the shop every day, improve your house and even improve the infrastructure of the city. To earn bubbles, you can sell things like the fish and insects you catch. It’s not surprising that some are worth more than others. So knowing which ones will win you a top-of-the-line bubble, and knowing where and when to find them, is half the fun. Other random events, like a balloon floating over your island with a gift that you can shoot with a slingshot, happen all the time. You will have random visitors selling new items or other strange events like a ghost needing your help. In many cases, it’s good to get in the game at different times of the day, because you never know what to expect at that time!
As if the basic mechanics weren’t addictive enough, there’s a new Nook Miles reward system. You can think of them as achievements that you earn by performing certain tasks. As you reach other stages, you earn bonus miles that can be redeemed for special items ordered from the kiosk. At the beginning of the game, you have access to the Plus version of this bonus program, and once you have this access, you have five randomly selected destinations to work and earn more miles. When you finish one thing, it disappears and another appears in its place, so you always have something new to work on. It can be as easy as catching five insects or talking to three villagers, and as difficult as catching a threadfish.
As a reward, you can buy a ticket to each island for 2,000 miles. If you do, you can fly to a small isolated island where there are often other sources, such as. B. Iron, there, that you can collect. Some of them (in my experience, most of them) will have the same local fruits you started the game with (for me, it was peaches) and similar wildlife. In this regard, the high cost of 2,000 miles may seem impractical – and it probably isn’t, unless you are in dire need of iron. If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself on an island with exotic fruits (worth 500 clocks instead of the usual 100), or on an island with fish that are very hard to find elsewhere. There are even reports of islands full of silver stones or teeming with tarantulas – all of which can get rich quick. Although I have attended over 20 such retreats, I have not been so lucky. The best thing that has happened to me so far is that I have met two bamboo islands. I picked up some and now I have a large supply of income claiming it.
Animal Crossing : New Horizons is by far the best game of the series so far. Colorful graphics are on display and the graphics engine has been completely reworked from previous games to include elements such as realistic lighting. Almost every object casts a shadow, and the shadow changes constantly depending on where the sun or moon is above the object. The whole color palette changes as day turns to night, and the sky often takes on beautiful shades of orange and pink just before the stars appear. The furniture and objects you collect are presented in a fantastic way this time, with very detailed textures. A great selection of clothes to wear and everything is so beautiful. It’s clear that every element of the game has been rethought from top to bottom to be at its best. Now you have full control of the camera when you’re in the house to take a look – something I’ve wanted for a long time. The museum has undergone its biggest update to date, with huge and extensive exhibits to explore. I like to hang out at the aquarium and look at all the fish I’ve given away so far.
At first I was disappointed with the soundtrack, because for about the first week you always hear the same music on the island. In previous games, the background music changed every hour, and I always liked that in the series. Fortunately, after completing the task in the game, this feature returned. Again, you can create your own city theme that will play every time you talk to someone, and in time. As usual, the animal sound effect is back, so be prepared to hear distorted sounds when talking to different animals. I still find it appealing after all these years, but maybe not to everyone.
Not everything is perfect, sunny and bright in Animal Crossing: New horizons. I have a few complaints (in addition to the ones mentioned above), hoping someone at Nintendo sees it and passes it on to the development team. First, while it doesn’t affect the way I play, it should be noted that the local multiplayer experience isn’t that great. While the game is heralded as a communal experience to be played as a family, the sad truth is that only the first person to create the island is truly responsible for what happens. Those who settle down can continue to build a house and collect resources, crafts, shops, fish, etc. Big decisions, like. B. the location of buildings, bridges, ramps, etc. can only be determined by the first person to create the island. Other players may feel like second-class citizens, and they do. The risk of injury is exacerbated by the limitation that only one island can be created per switching system. If you want multiple islands, you have to have multiple consoles, and that’s not cheap!
Another area that needs improvement is the online element of the game. It’s still a bit complicated to invite people to come or go to a foreign island. You have to go through different menus every time, and there’s really no reason for all these complications. Every time someone travels to another island, the residents of that island are hit with a 30 second black screen with an icon that slowly shows the plane crashing. At first I thought it was something like a novel, but when you’re on an island with lots of visitors, every time they come or go, you have to stop and let it happen. I like the idea of adding people to the best friends category, so you can message them even if they’re not on the island. I’d like Nintendo to go a little further and see if the doors are now open to visitors, so I don’t have to go to the airport, navigate through various menus, connect to the internet, and then do a search only to find that no one has an open door. A small symbol next to their name will do.
Staying online is a serious lack of activity in communicating with your friends. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting other people’s islands, swapping things and seeing what their shops are selling. But beyond that, there’s little that’s even remotely entertaining. I spent a few hours hanging out with friends while we fished and talked through the Switch Online app, but it would have been a lot more fun if there had been some mini-games to play. Besides, why can’t we take friends to a remote island like we could in New Levee? Overall, it seems that the online mode is specifically for sharing with friends, but very little is played.
The original version of Animal Crossing on GameCube included NES games that could be played in the game. Now I understand that Nintendo has moved on to things like the Virtual Console and Online Switch, so I didn’t expect that to be the case here. However, one thing that has always bothered me about this series over the years is the complete lack of interactivity with many of the objects in the game. While it’s prettier than ever, there’s not much you can do with a pinball machine when you have it at home. You can get close by pressing A and watching the ball turn around and the fins move in a few seconds. The same goes for many other things like cycling, horse riding, jumping, darts, billiards and the list goes on. We’re talking about Nintendo – the king of mini-games! How many copies of Wii Play did they sell, and you’re saying they can’t convert a few small mini-games for this game?
How cool would it be to buy an air hockey table and, when you get close to it, play air hockey? I’m not asking for the moon, but I think it’s a huge missed opportunity and something Nintendo could have easily afforded. One of the last things I got in the game was a real underground pool. Sure, he’s handsome, but there’s nothing interactive about him. It would be cool if I could go up and jump in the water and swim a little. I have a phone booth too, and you can’t even open it and get in. This kind of thing really pisses me off. Many gadgets light up and make a nice little animation, but it would be great if about 20 objects in the game made an extra effort in terms of interactivity.
Despite these problems, crossing animals: New Horizons is always a surprisingly fun game. As always, the writing style is excellent and you feel very connected to the various residents. The game was the subject of some media hype, some of which was immediately persuaded. It’s easy to waste hours in this game that feels like minutes. Although the holidays are supposed to be slow, I often try to do as much as I can as quickly as possible. Whether you just want to relax on the beach while fishing or try your luck on the high stakes of the steal market (buy beets at low prices and sell them at high prices), how you play the game is entirely up to you. I am looking forward to the future with the upcoming holidays and change of season. In this difficult time of social distancing, I can at least escape to my island and forget about everything – if only for a few hours a day.
Animal cross: Overview of new horizons
- Charts – 10/10
- Sound – 9.5/10
- Gameplay – 9/10
- Last call – 10/10
Final thoughts : EXAMPLES
I love Animal Crossing: New horizons. Fans of the series will appreciate the many improvements in quality of life, especially in the interior. A new shipyard mechanic and a mileage allowance system are welcome additions to an already exciting experience. With gorgeous graphics, adorable characters, a memorable soundtrack, and incredible timeless value, this thing will be on my Switch HOME screen for years to come.
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published in various media. He is currently an editor and contributor to Age of Games.
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