Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - It's Good to be the Mayor

It's been over a week since my purchase of an Animal Crossing 3DSXL bundle and, unsurprisingly, during that time I have spent a goodly amount of it with Animal Crossing:  New Leaf.  As its release drew on the horizon, word of all its changes started piling up and in the weeks, the days prior to the time when it was purchasable, the word was that it was the "Best Animal Crossing game to-date".  As someone who had been jonesing for some Animal Crossing, the news practically drove me to salivation whenever it came up as I could only wring my hands and reassure myself that my bundle was already in a box somewhere and it was only a short journey away on that awaited day.  It was less for the box and more the ability to not only play Animal Crossing, but an Animal Crossing that was apparently better than all the rest.

To be fair, it's...true.  In the most minimalistic way possible.

In what I can only describe as listening to the only, -only- complaints about the last iterations of "There isn't enough to do" but stopping at "enough", all that Animal Crossing has over City Folk/Wild World is more stuff.  Which doesn't sound like a bad thing, of course and it's not, really.  But none of this stuff really...adds more to the game that allows you to have something to do when you otherwise have nothing to do.  Which was the problem, of course, though some would suggest that it's -not- a problem.  That in itself seems to be the real surrounding Animal Crossing and has since its second incarnation where it became obvious that there wasn't very much it intended to change about the formula established in the first game aside from...unnecessary things like a rounder world and the like.

One school of thought insists that Animal Crossing is and always has been a game that you simply play for 15-20 minutes a day to upkeep appearances, collect bells and work towards paying off your loans that you accrue in playing the game.  Everything else, everything beyond that checklist is optional since it only adds 'fluff' to that experience.  Which, to be fair, there is fairly little else to do aside from a daily checklist.  You could hunt for bugs or fish, but that's...about it.  Which suggests then that the 15-20 minutes approach is the correct one, clearly, and that's just how it is.  There's no problem with it if that's simply the way the game was meant to be played.

The other school of thought insists that Animal Crossing is a game and that games should generally have something to do when you play them.  When you play during the day, you have a fine bit of things to do - the checklist of course, but also walking about, talking to folks, going shopping, etc.  When you play at night, quite late, in fact, there is....none of that.  Most everyone in your town is asleep, the shops are closed and all you have available to you to entertain yourself is the same bit of bug hunting and fishing that you can do at any other point in the day.  Or you could play interior decorator, of course, but only if you already have the pieces you want since, well, you can't just go and buy something else.  To say that you're never without something to do because you have a net and a fishing pole is disingenuous, if just a little bit.

To be honest, the fact that your character plays Mayor to the Animal Crossing town this go around means very very little in the long run.  You can enact one of four ordinances to sort of try and categorize your town into either being Beautiful (having a lot of flowers which are taken care of), Rich (except not really because selling -and- buying prices are increased by 20%), Late (shops are open two hours later, townsfolk stay up later) or Early (Like late, except early.) which...is something, I suppose.  Certainly not what I thought of when initial reports claimed you could determine the hours the stores were open.  Yes, technically you are, but it's semantics.  There's absolutely no further customization to that end of things than that, no "This ordinance, but", nothing.

The Public Works Projects are where the bulk of the updates come in which ensures that you'll never ever ever have bells burning a hole through your pocket, as if they ever would in the first place.  Public Works Projects range from Park Benches to Street Clocks to Campsites to a Cafe with everything in-between.  You can only have one project open at a time and the project stays open until the amount of Bells it requires has been 'donated', read:  You raised that many bells and force-fed them to the damn gyroid asking for donations to actually fund the project itself.  Sure, you'll see the bell total go up by a hundred or so everyday, maybe, but I think the least expensive thing is 30,000 Bells, so I'm sure you can see how that might pose a problem.  If you're playing only the required 15-20 minutes a day, you'll be earning 16,000-20,000 Bells a day, or somewhere in that range, so you can see how that is also a problem.

Obviously, I -like- Animal Crossing:  New Leaf because it's more Animal Crossing.  But I also like the game -in spite- of it being more Animal Crossing.  There's a nightclub in the game that is unlocked eventually, so perhaps that's....something that will provide minutes of entertainment should I pick up the game in the middle of the night without the express purpose of building up a collection of bugs and fish to flood Re-Tail with come daylight's rays.  And perhaps once I make Kupolis a bit more...personalized with some effects, I'll enjoy it a little more, but until I get to that point, where I no longer have to spoon-feed hundreds of thousands of bells to the ATM to add just a little bit extra to my house, well, I know what I'm doing in the game.  Possibly unfortunately.

most disappointingly, Nook is a -bitch- in this game, he ain't got shit

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