Sunday, 16 June 2013

EXPOSURES (VIDEO GAMES) -- Animal Crossing: New Leaf

So I bought Animal Crossing: New Leaf last Sunday and have been hooked. I'm so hooked that everyday when commuting, if I get a chance to sit, that's the first thing I do, even if my next stop is in a few minutes. Sometimes I wonder: How does Nintendo create many iterations of the same-ish games and still make it so plain fun? Of course, that is a very debatable statement, and not something I'll be exploring in this blog. Feel free to comment about it, though, if you like! :)

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Playtime Length (so far): 20-ish hours
Platform Played on: 3DS
Language: English
Type of Game: Town Life Simulation, Collection, Mini-Game
Game-specific Details: I'm currently going through my 5th house upgrade, completed one public works project, and my town is a "night-owl" town.

My Impressions
The premise of Animal Crossing: New Leaf is pretty much the same as all the other Animal Crossing games I've played (Wild World for the DS and City Folk for the Wii): your character moves into town, but is in trouble because he / she didn't prepare himself / herself a living space before getting there. Then loan shark Tom Nook steps in and loans you a house. Even though you are the mayor of your town in this game (this is a new feature!), you still find yourself in debt to Tom Nook. The main, main goal of the game is to pay off your character's debt, which gets higher and higher with every house upgrade. That said, you don't have to focus on paying off your character's loan (there are no deadlines). You can set whatever goals you want. One of the best things about Animal Crossing games is that it is very open world and what you decide to do is up to you. And there are a lot of things you can do in Animal Crossing.

Let me try to list all the things you can do in Animal Crossing:

-You can collect things (bugs, fish, fossils, furniture, art pieces, clothing, fruit -- anything that you can stuff in your pocket. And of course, money) 
-You can interact with your citizens (have brief conversations, do errands for them, write letters to them, sell stuff to them)
-You can interact with your town (shake trees, cut down trees, plant trees, plant flowers, water flowers, trample flowers, dig up holes, buy items, etc.)
-You can play mini-games (when you unlock and visit an island)
-You can visit your friend's town and vice-versa (and do all of the above! Yes, you can cut down your friend's trees)
-You can redecorate your house (why else would you want to keep expanding your house and adding more debt to yourself?)
-You can participate in special events (whenever they come, of course)
-You can customize (your character, your town flag, your town tune, clothes, your town, your citizens)

For me, the biggest draw in Animal Crossing: New Leaf (besides quenching my OCD collecting thirst) is the ability to customize and be able to play online with friends.

I LOVE playing a game where I can add my own personal touches -- it just adds to an enjoyable experience. It can give a slightly more intimate experience as well. Also, it allows me to be creative and to express my current interests. For example, my town's name is "Mikunopo". Now, I'm pretty sure nobody would know this, but it is short for "Mikunopolis" (the name for Hatsune Miku's 2011 concert in Los Angeles). My town flag currently features a leek (something that Hatsune Miku often holds). The dress my character is wearing right now is the same dress Alice wears from the Shin Megami Tensei series. In order to customize a flag and clothes, you actually have to design it yourself, but you know what? It's so worth it. I just love that dress to bits. <3

My Alice dress.

 Alice from the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Here's the QR code for my Alice dress (I just unlocked the QR machine):

Now that your character is also the mayor, you can set public works projects and customize your town a bit. You can add a bench, lamp, bridge, whatever you want (from a list of options). The projects can be a bit costly, depending on what you want, but it's pretty neat. When you set a public works project, it requires a certain amount of funding. Now, you could just fully fund the project yourself, but your citizens could also contribute to the fund.

As the mayor, you also have the option of setting an ordinance, which affects your town overall. This is really nice as it can provide a bit more flexibility, or for an extra touch. I mention flexibility because of this:

Animal Crossing games use the system's internal clock for their clock. So the hours of operations for shops, buildings, citizens (when they wake up and when they sleep), and events follow your internal clock. So if a shop closes at 8 PM, it will close at 8 PM, in real life (unless you mess with your system's internal clock, but I'm not going there). Depending on your daily schedule, you may miss out on certain things you want to do.

With the ordinance, you can set your town to either operate earlier in the day, or to stay open until much later. Currently, my town is a "night-owl" town, so shops and everything stay open later. This works with my schedule since I've been getting home pretty late these days and often have just about an hour to do whatever before some shop starts closing.

Playing online with friends often make the playing experience more fun, especially with the mini-games. It's also really nice to just hang out and chat or do whatever. For times when you can't see each other physically, it's a nice way to connect.

Me hanging out with my friends online.

Okay, I think I've blabbed enough about Animal Crossing: New Leaf. If you enjoy life simulation games and collecting things, you'll most likely enjoy this.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment about anything. :)

BTW: this blog is my 100th blog (which includes my end-of-month blogs). Woot for me! :)

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