Not everyone knows that the first version of Animal Crossing, at the time Animal Forest, was released in Japan in 2001 for the Nintendo 64, only later, the version for Game cube was published, which also came to us in April 2005.
The daily life simulator, created and made famous by Takashi Tezuka and Katsuya Eiguchi, joined the ranks of Nintendo exclusives equipped with the N factor, that unique feature found only in Miyamoto's games.
After having conquered the owners of the cube, in 2006 it arrived on all the DS of the world Animal Crossing Wild World, the first portable chapter of the brand, which introduced the possibility of traveling and playing with other Crossers thanks to Nintendo Wi-fi Connection.
Building on this success on DS, the brand returned to Wii with new additions and new characters at the end of December 2008, with Animal Crossing Let's Go to the City, which in addition to Wi-fi Connection also exploited Wiiconnect24 (predecessor of the current Spotpass) allowing to receive special gifts from Nintendo itself.
When 3DS was announced three years ago, among the titles shown there was also a new title of Animal Crossing, but to be able to finally see it in stores, the Japanese had to wait until last November, while we poor Europeans will finally get our hands on Animal Crossing : New Leaf on June 14.
Fortunately, we at Holygamerz have been creating our new city for about a month, and with almost 100 active hours of play, we are ready to show you a careful review of the brand's new portable chapter.
New Leaf, New Life
As all those who have played and loved one of the previous chapters of the brand know, in Animal Crossing there is no real plot, there is no common thread and above all there is no ending. Being a simulator of everyday life, the whole game is based on beautifying the city, on the various jobs that will allow us to earn Stelline to be able to pay for the expansion of our home and above all on the relationship with the other inhabitants, including shopkeepers and travelers.
In New Leaf, however, there is a small addition compared to the previous ones, in fact we will be elected Mayor of our city as soon as we set foot outside the station, a title that, like it or not, will give you faculties and obligations never seen before in the brand.
Even if we are the Mayor of the city we will still have to continue to pay the raccoon Tom Nook, the building contractor who will build an expandable house, as in the other chapters, and will ask us for millions of Starlets in the form of a mortgage.
But then, you say, what has changed? What does the new charge obtained in New Leaf allow me to do? It is easy to say, by going to the Town Hall, where we will find our secretary Fuffi at any time, we will have two main choices:
Issue an ordinance, changing the lifestyle of the city, and changing its timetables. For example by choosing “Città Bella” there will be less garbage, both at sea and on the ground, and many more flowers; or by opting for "Night City" our citizens, and shopkeepers, will stay awake until dawn, but they will wake up very late in the afternoon, on the contrary in "City Morning" everything will close earlier but will guarantee you to find all the inhabitants awake very early .
The ordinances adapt to our style of play, if a player has to work all day, and cannot visit his city during the sunny hours, he will be able, thanks to the appropriate ordinance, to find the shops open at night, or in the morning. very soon, missing out on what New Leaf has to offer.
The second possibility that we will have, thanks to our powers as Mayor, will be to build Public Works, from normal benches and light poles to buildings significant for the life of the city, such as the Resetti Center, or the Dream Suite (which we will talk about lower).
We will not be able to create more than one public work at the same time, and every time we choose one from the list (constantly updated, depending on the speeches with the citizens or the various events) we will start a fundraiser to which they will contribute minimally anthropomorphic animals and to which our friends who will visit us can also participate thanks to the online connection.
A further way to beautify our city in addition to the classic flowers (to which new types are added), fruit trees and general vegetation, and to further extend the already vast and almost infinite game experience.
Moving on to the normal actions of daily life, all the tools of the previous episodes obviously return, from the fishing rod to the net, passing to the shovel, slingshot, watering can, ax and timer; all the tools always have the same functions, from hunting insects, fishing, up to being able to cut trees to unearth fossils and gyroids; moreover, in New Leaf, with the shovel you can break a stone (one a day) and find a rare mineral inside, to be resold in shops.The Silver and Gold versions of the aforementioned objects also return, although for some the method has changed of obtaining, but we will leave you the surprise of discovering it independently.
In addition to the classic instruments, there are three, the Hammer Piko Piko, useful in a minigame of the island of Tortimer (which we will discuss below), the Megaphone, which uses the 3DS microphone to call fellow citizens and understand where they are and finally, the Diving Suit, the most innovative object of this new chapter.
Thanks to the aforementioned Tuta, we will finally be able to swim in the sea that surrounds our city, and by diving we will find underwater creatures, a new category of collectibles to take to the Museum, which will be accompanied by fish, insects, fossils and works of art .
Virtually no changes to the gameplay compared to the previous chapters of the brand, the movements of our avatar remain unchanged, except for the swimming factor, which will further lengthen the list of things to do in our city.
Still the same social life?
Let's move on to the focus of the Animal Crossing series, also in New Leaf, as already mentioned above, the most important thing to grow will not be the flowers, but rather the relationships with other citizens and with shopkeepers.
As in the previous chapters, we will have to be completely at the service of our anthropomorphic fellow citizens, to have game advantages (such as gifts, or trust for important decisions) we will have to be ready to catch fish and insects for them, collect fruit, make deliveries, respond to disparate questions, treating them in case of illness and many other things.
Obviously we can also behave in the opposite way, denying all the favors listed above and responding badly, but this will only crack relationships and make you hate by the neighbor in question, leading him to leave your city for more pleasant shores.
The AI of citizens is unfortunately the same as always: many times the pets will tell you one thing, and the next day they will have a totally opposite idea, the only thing that does not change over time are the tastes for furniture and the trust placed in the player who will prove willing to do favors.
Moving on to the news of the shopkeepers, in the Street of Shops beyond the classic Tom Nook and family, Agostina and Filomena (accompanied by her sister Bice, introduced with Let's go to the City, and by a special sewing machine capable of reading QR Codes) and to some old acquaintances of the chapter for Wii such as Bigodina and Sciuscià, we will find (not immediately) the Club LoL (or 101 depending on how we want to read the sign) disco managed by Strizzo, the comedian introduced by Let's Go to the City , which every evening will host DJ KK, while on Saturday we will meet the legendary KK Slider, the most famous singer of the brand.
The biggest news for the shops is certainly Recycle & Recreate, we will find it in the main map and it is managed by two new characters, Alpaca and Merino, this building will replace the itinerant flea market that was held one Saturday a month in the homes of citizens; it is in fact possible to put objects that we no longer use for sale, available to our friends who will come to visit us or to the animals themselves, who will ask us for advice on what to buy (Here there is another lack of AI, in fact sometimes it happens that the animal refuses a price decreeing it too high, and then buys something that costs much more without batting an eye).
In addition to this personal market service, Alpaca also offers the purchase and sale of everything that we do not need and the purchase of turnips which in previous episodes was exclusive to the Nook family.
Her husband Merino, on the other hand, will allow us to change the color of our furniture, and will make models from the fossils that we will bring to him.
Each store will improve by offering new services and functions over time, and over the days (counted as always in real-time) and above all depending on how many purchases we will make, reaffirming and strengthening the concept of how Animal Crossing repays the player for his patience. in the long run.
In company it is always better
The method that today allows in a game to socialize with everyone at any time is certainly the online sector. In a game like Animal Crossing, this element could only be taken care of in the smallest details, so New Leaf presents itself with the richest and most complete online mode ever seen in the brand.
We have the normal visit of the cities, in wireless local multiplayer and global using the internet connection, where up to four players at the same time can find themselves in one of the cities, which will have to open the now famous gates made famous by Wild World.
If we register visitors among New Leaf's Best Friends, we will know instantly when they will be online and we will be able to start group chats in real time, to be able to organize ourselves better without the help of a PC or a social network.
Visitors will be able to indulge themselves, make mischief, destroy lawns by running ruining all the effort of the player who hosts them, or they can behave well, in mutual respect, exchanging objects and fruit while having fun with the mini-games of Tortimer Island.
Tortimer Island is another of the novelties of New Leaf, managed by the ex-mayor of the series, where it is perpetually summer, and we will be able to take advantage of it to catch insects and seasonal fish even when in our country it will be winter both alone than in the company of our friends.
On the island there are Special Tours, full-fledged mini-games (lasting a maximum of 8 minutes) that span all the action park allowed in Animal Crossing: there will be fishing competitions, labyrinths, couple hunts, fossil collection and minerals and many other different activities, with an increasing level of difficulty, and at the end of the race we will get medals that can be spent in prizes.
Among these prizes, in addition to exclusive clothes, plants and furniture, there is the Diving Suit we talked about earlier and a special card that will allow us to visit the island even with people we do not know from all over the world.
The latest addition to this already rich online sector is the Dream House, which can be built with Public Works, allows us to visit cities all over the world both randomly and through research, even if in dreamlike versions and without being able to bring anything to home with the exception of personalized themes, all to be able to take inspiration and further embellish our city.
The online is stable and almost entirely lag-free (I only encountered a slight lag when trying to dig ndGuido) and makes the whole multiplayer experience fun and immediate.
Obviously New Leaf also uses Street Pass and Spot Pass, the first to be able to "peek" the houses of those we meet on the street, and the second for special gifts from Nintendo, as WiiConnect24 did on Let's Go to the City.
Beyond the appearance there is more!
The Animal Crossing series has never had excellent graphics, and has always been proposed with cardboard graphics in pseudo cel-shading, especially because the focus of the brand is not the external appearance but everything that is behind and inside. the game.
Although on 3DS the models are cleaner and more defined, the style of New Leaf remains the same as its predecessors, but we are sure that fans of the series will not mind at all some graphic improvements and special effects on flowers and other objects.
Unfortunately, the 3D effect is not among the best, on the contrary, it is completely superfluous for the purposes of the game and does not offer anything really innovative.
The sound sector instead relies on the usual voice simulators, making it nice and captivating as in the previous chapters, all surrounded by a new soundtrack and the inevitable sung songs by KK Slider; finally an applause for the always perfect Spanish translation of the infinite dialogues, while we are still a bit skeptical about some of the names chosen for the Italian public.
After being born on a home console and finding his real home on a laptop, then returning to the Wii, Animal Crossing finally returns to 3DS where it gives its best.
Due to the immediacy and daily routine of the actions to be taken, New Leaf could not go out except on 3DS, bringing the brand created by Tezuka and Eiguchi back to the glories of Wild World.
A title that knows how to give satisfaction after a little time has been devoted to it, and which literally does not have a conclusion; the only problem is the desire of modern players to dedicate themselves heart and soul to a game of this kind, which will find its main supporters in those who have madly adored the old chapters.
Verdict 9/10 It is synonymous with Drugs Comment If I could, I could still talk about Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I would take away many of the experiences you can have by buying it. After more than 100 hours of gameplay, I can say that New Leaf is the best Animal Crossing, and the worthy heir to Wild World on DS. However, as explained in the review, it may not be suitable for today's players, due to the lack of immediacy and also for the excessive amount of time that must be dedicated to fully appreciate it. However, it remains the best simulator of everyday life (even if not realistic) in real time on the videogame market, and a title that cannot escape those who want a game different from the others. Pros and cons ✓ New additions that will delight fans.
✓ Useful and versatile system of ordinances.
✓ Virtually infinite. x 3D superfluous.
x Citizen AI equal to 10 years ago.