Today is Thursday, which means I will write about my personal experiences with Animal Crossing, neither having to do with my current town nor about improvements or suggestions for the next game. Since this is my first week, I shall begin with my review about New Leaf, describing what I like about this game compared to the past three games and what annoys me with this game that either shares disadvantages with the past games or are unique problems.
Back when ACNL released all over North America, I would rate it a 10/10. I thought it was the perfect game and only had a few problems. But after playing for one year, my overall rating dropped to a 9/10. While the game is addicting and worth playing, the “few disadvantages of the game” were major, and they are New Leaf’s biggest liability.
The Best of New Leaf:
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the best AC game so far, despite the disadvantages that weighed it down below the perfect rating. With the mayoral features and other new features added, nothing else could top New Leaf in the AC franchise. One thing I liked about ACNL is the interior design feature, where you can lay furniture around, move them, and change the carpets and wallpaper. Also, some furniture series and themes, such as the Ski Set, Gorgeous Series, and Sci-fi Theme are really good and are some items I can’t have a town without. I never liked collecting clothes to begin with, but after the improvements to character design and clothing feature, I don’t need to rely on patterns anymore. I like the clothes available in the game, but I prefer long sleeve shirts and dresses for my characters.
Anyhow, here are the ten best features about New Leaf that weren’t in previous games:
- Public Works Projects – the core feature of the game is also what makes New Leaf better than any game in the series. I always wanted lamps in town, and they have what I want. I can also build lighthouses, benches, fountains, and lit-up public art like the illuminated arches I use as gates to my characters’ houses. The better of the PWPs in the game are the Museum’s second floor, the Café, and the Campsite. Even if the major PWPs are nearly inconsequential, I don’t think my town would feel complete without them.
- Ordinances – along with the PWP feature is the ordinances in the game. I felt that this feature isn’t enough, but it’s worth it. I worked hard on planting my hybrids, and watering them everyday is a chore. One ordinance can make it impossible for your flowers to wilt and nearly impossible for weeds to grow. Another ordinance I like is the Night Owl Ordinance, where stores are open longer. Early Bird does the same thing too, but I’m a night person, and the music at night sound nice.
- Clothes – in previous games, collecting clothes are some things I have no interest in. That was until ACNL, but I still don’t see them as valuable. However, bottom-wear, shoes, and socks can be changed, as shirts and dresses have different sleeve lengths. Although I like the idea that female characters can wear pants, the humans in StarFall look better in dresses or skirts (yes, they’re all girls, coming from a town made by a guy). The females in AC look pretty in skirts, but also with long sleeve shirts.
- House Customization – up until New Leaf, interior design was the best part about Animal Crossing. But now, we have more than just decorating your houses. The extend goes to the exterior as well. Different looks outside, like better doors, cool mailboxes, well-decorated walls, and even the pavements makes the town more diverse in architecture. Not to mention, but the house orientation is like Wild World’s, except that there is a basement and there are only 8×8 rooms at the maximum expansion. But the impact of this made Wild World unplayable. If both the first floor and second floors had the same four rooms (main, left, back, and right) in the next game, then that would make New Leaf unplayable.
- Museum’s Second Floor – As part of the PWP feature, I like the idea of having custom displays. Even if we need new exhibits to donate to, making our own exhibits is the first step to success. In my first and third towns, I tried making theme showcases as my second town was on holidays. And, you can get your silver shovels from Celeste.
- Achievement System – Games these days are being overflown with achievements to unlock, and Animal Crossing is not exempt from it. I enjoy playing games with achievements like that. For example, in some of the PS3 exclusives, you earn trophies after passing one point or doing something. Little Big Planet has pins after completing some quest or achievement, like getting a pin for being Mm Picked when your level becomes a developer favorite. New Leaf has badges, where there are 24 fields of badges. Each time when you get a bronze badge, you unlock a new badge for the area, as the gold badge represents completion in that area. What’s even better is that the golden badges are colored, but the Gardening Specialist badge has an illusion where the badge has no color since yellow is the background.
- Dream Suite – Ever since towns got even more diverse, the feature where you can visit others’ towns through dreaming was added. I can appreciate the work done by other people in other towns now. Some dream towns don’t look so good, but others like my town are fantastic.
- Furniture Modification – the same store that you can sell items to now also has a section where you can modify furniture to look like something new. Some items look better as original, but others are fun to redecorate for more art. The colored chairs and lamps in the birthday room and the multi-colored sci-fi lamps in my mayor’s house makes my interior design look better.
- Where do I want to live? – Back in the GameCube Version, all humans have to live in the same acre in every town. That was so limited to me. In Wild World, we can have only one house. In City Folk, all four humans have their own houses in different areas, but the game decides where they go. In New Leaf, you get to choose where you want to live, like how you choose where PWPs go.
- Island Tours – To me, this is more of a combination of two lost features from the GameCube Version. One of them was the island you can only access with a GameBoy Advanced system. The other was the NES Games, which are mini-games. In New Leaf, combining both features made one super feature. You can even earn medals to buy island-exclusive items.
What New Leaf did Wrong:
Of course, no game is perfect, even Animal Crossing: New Leaf. After playing for over one year, I decided that it wasn’t as good as it was when I first got it. First of all, duping has ruined the game. Even if unorderable items have always been an issue, this is not an excuse to dupe. Not only it has a possibility of losing items or data corruption, but it’s destroying the game’s virtual economy. Also, sea basses are just as annoying as they usually are, and their huge sizes that confuse us with the coelacanth made it much worse. Inspired by the sea bass comics I saw on Tumblr, I wanted to see a comic where a sea bass tells a coelacanth that he duped crowns for all the sea basses to get to the one destination they all want to go to, the Re-Tail. The Coelacanth got mad and said “humans don’t want to accept cheaters.” Although no comic exists, I would like to see it. But there are ten things that were problematic to both Animal Crossing: New Leaf and previous games. Duping wasn’t intended to be in the game, as sea basses are always my favorite annoying characters in the game, so they didn’t make it to my list.
Here are the ten liabilities of ACNL:
- Club Tortimer – This is arguably the worst part about Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It’s not that it’s so useless, but I heard many horrible stories about child trolls that grief other players (even some 9-year olds would get bullied by 13-year olds on Club Tortimer), but most of the griefers are kids, bullying players over the age of 18. Some stories include where kids would beg for the money made by other players. They call them names, hit with tools, scare fish and insects, or worse, trap them on the island using the island tours. The woman at the desk says that “the waters are choppy”, which means the victim can’t escape. The troll won’t let them leave until they give them what they want from them. I mean seriously, we worked hard on getting all the money (even if some were lazy and duped crowns for it), and they’re begging for it when they didn’t work for it at all. If you want the money or rare items, you have to do it yourself, or organize a trade through an AC forum. Other stories include gender bias, inappropriate talk, and other stuff like that. I did go to Club Tortimer once, but I never had any online conflict. But I feel bad for those who did. Next game, I think they need to remove Club Tortimer completely or make it possible where you can escape the island even when a tour is set. I heard that MiiVerse is bad too, but I don’t go there.
- Who moved in front of my house? – While community related problems are always going to be problems, the worst of the game that isn’t related to community issues is the animal moving mechanic. Ever since the removal of the sign posts, animals are free to move wherever they want. This is a problem, especially to those who want really nice towns. The animal moving mechanic includes killing hybrid flowers and perfect fruit trees, disrupting paths and PWP plans, and worse, obstructing or obscuring other landmarks, especially moving in front of the mayor’s house. I had problems with this one too. I seen many complaint threads, on GameFAQs and Bell Tree, about this. In my Idea Book, I have a solution to this problem listed as one of my ideas. Some people plot reset or place PWPs to prevent animals from moving in the wrong spots. The worst case in StarFall was when Prince moved in front of my campsite, crushing trees and paths. I picked him up from another town, unexpectedly, and he plotted his house as soon as I returned to my town.
- Group Mechanic – along with the animal moving mechanic that bugged me about ACNL was this algorithm that makes some items sold very frequently as others are almost never sold. It may work well in the GameCube Version and Wild World, but not when there are more items to be sold. I think this algorithm needs to be removed in the next game. I don’t care if it was to encourage trading. I wouldn’t need to join an online AC community if it wasn’t for that, but some items I was looking for were never sold. I tried time traveling back and forth on my towns before StarFall, and they never had the items I wanted. It’s become a liability.
- Luck System – I hate the luck system in ACNL. I know Nintendo intends us to do one thing, but judging by the mechanic, it’s basically punishing people for not wearing what they want them to wear. On the good luck days, to unlock your fortune, you have to wear the lucky item. On the bad luck days, you will face bad luck unless if you wear your lucky item. I think it’s unfair to do that. You are promised big riches coming out of the rocks, but you won’t get it unless if you wear the right item. On your bad luck days, you would get only half as much as a money rock would emit if you don’t wear the right item, or you could trip unless if you have the lucky item. I think this is bad for the game, especially if someone is carrying a balloon. The balloons are rare streetpass items that can’t be ordered from the catalog, and they can be lost if someone trips over, carrying one. I confirm, this is punishing you for not wearing what they want you to wear. Do you hate that you trip on random days?
- Farming for PWPs – what’s even more annoying than the sea bass is when you go looking for PWPs. The most effective way is to use the diving trick. Animals would randomly suggest PWPs, but the chances are higher if narrowed down. Even when I go as far as I can, they would rather ask useless questions rather than suggest the right PWP. This is getting very annoying, and I think there should be an easier way to get more PWPs in the next game.
- They’ll stay if you’re nice – in New Leaf, animals are more likely to move away if you max out their friendship status, as being violent to a villager makes them want to stay longer. This can be a problem if an animal that you hate moved in or if an animal that you like is more likely to leave because you were nice to them enough. Shouldn’t it be the other way around where if you’re nicer, they’ll stay, but if you’re meaner, they’ll want to move. Yeah, I actually suggested the solution in the title of this problem, but I think if you’re equally nice to every villager, everyone has the same chance of moving, as unequal treatment leads to one more likely to leave.
- Flowers – the issue here is that some scammers or vandals would want to steal or kill your hybrids you worked hard on in town. A solution here would be that you can enable or disable picking up flowers when the gates are open. In this case, vandals can’t mess with your flowers like what the problem is in New Leaf.
- Grass Decay – although this hasn’t bothered me too much in ACNL, I have sympathy for those who did have issues with grass deterioration. Just alleviating it a bit like in New Leaf won’t really solve the problem. Removing it completely would be better.
- Do I have to carry it all? – In City Folk, you had the shopping cards where you don’t have to carry so many Bells to buy something expensive. In New Leaf, this has been removed, making it possible to only buy one item at GracieGrace per trip. I think increasing wallet size or returning shopping cards would be the best choice.
- Beetle Sensitivity – the last problem on this list is more of a minor problem, probably not even as severe as the sea bass problem, but a problem in ACNL. Ever since sneaking up on a bug came back, rare beetles like the Hercules Beelte are easily scared, as even walking by, slowly, but four blocks nearby, would scare them off. This makes beetle farming harder.
That’s all of my ups and downs on ACNL. If you want to see more entries like this, check out Town of StarFall every Thursday.