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on June 15, 2013
Ok, I know I'm a little old to be playing this, but at 65 and all that is going on this country let alone the world, I can honestly say it is a great escape. It's simple, cute, fun, and creative. I have been a gaming grandma since 1981 when I was introduced to a computer game called Zork created at MIT, I believe. That game got me hooked on computers and games in general and since then with the birth of 4 grandchildren that I could introduce games too, it's been quite a ride. When I first played Animal Crossing "Wild World" I got hooked. I'm not a "shoot 'em up" gamer. I like adventure games and this game offers me that playful time of creating a town, meeting nice critters, build houses, bank "bells", and just have a fun moment where the arthritis doesn't hurt, the world is a better place and I can just be retired. As for children playing this game, they will come to understand that work has it's rewards, paying your bills brings you a better house, gardening makes your world prettier, sharing your finds with the museum in town is community service. It's just an all around feel good game for all ages. Another little caveat is I am playing it on my new 3D DS. Enjoy!!!
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on June 9, 2013
I was a huge Animal Crossing fan on the GameCube back in high school. So much so that I would wake up two to three hours early some days so I could play some before I had to catch the bus. I don't know what it was exactly that sold me so hard, but when I think of my most fond gaming memories from back then, Animal Crossing is top of the list. My siblings and I used to FIGHT over who's turn it was to play.

There have been several times were I went back, picked up my old copy, and tried to play again. Only to end up doing the turnip cheat, or time shifting like crazy and just pretty much picking weeds for the majority of my play time. I often found myself saying "what was it I loved so much after all?" and it was never quite the same. I tried Wild World, and never really could get into it, never tried the original DS version.

I was so excited for New Leaf this time LAST June that I pre-ordered it right away. I got absurdly lucky and got my copy 4 days early this year.. And I wanted to write a review on it 5 hours into playing, I loved it that much. In case there was someone out there going "oh, I loved the original but is it worth it?" YES. YES and YES.

I love this game. I cannot find one thing I do not like. It is absolutely charming. The graphics are adorable. They play true to the Animal Crossing feeling, and in my opinion look far better than Wild World did on my flat screen on the screen of my Pikachu 3DS XL. The level of customization is FAR superior than that to original Animal Crossing. I especially like being able to change the color of furniture. I love the wigs, the endless outfit options, changing your hair.. I feel like Nintendo really paid attention to all the little things that were wrong with the older games and fixed it.

This game is wonderful. I would buy every Animal Crossing fan out there a copy if I could afford it. I have so many happy memories and smiles playing this game it's actually kind of silly. I love the cheesey little lines when you catch a bug or a fish. The diving system is neat. There's even a great way to make a lot of bells without having to time shift like crazy and spend hours picking weeds.

Pros: Incredibly customizable, adorable, plesant background music, a nice change of pace getting to be The Mayor for once!, you get to pick your town layout, all the shops are together on Main Street (aside from Re-Tail, which is also fantastic Flea Market feature), AND SO MUCH MORE.
Cons: Pockets too small. But they always are. I want bottomless pockets, who doesn't? :P
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on June 9, 2013
Let it be known that between RPG grind-fests, oddball art games and the latest AAA titles, I enjoy an unhealthy amount of "Animal Crossing." The last portable incarnation, "Wild World", easily received hundreds of hours of my attention, and despite its myriad of problems, it remains one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've ever had. But in 2013, many of the clunky interface issues and limited span of things to do simply will not fly in a modern game. That's why I'm greatly overjoyed that Nintendo has definitely improved the AC mechanics in as many ways possible without changing the core experience here. Make no mistake, "Animal Crossing: New Leaf" is more of the same, but delivered in the best possible way.

There's not much by way of "story" here, as expected. Your custom character arrives at your custom town (the layout of which you can select at the beginning of the game) to discover that he/she is now the mayor of the town. After a brief rundown of basic game mechanics with your perky (read: adorable) secretary Isabelle, you're set loose in a town filled with talking, anthropomorphic animals. Over the course of real-world years, you're expected to expand local businesses, improve local agriculture, and turn your home into a sprawling mansion filled with rare items.

If you've played an AC game, you know the drill. The conniving Tom Nook screws you over (he does it worse than ever here, but I won't spoil) at the beginning of the game, you pay off your debt to him, your house gets upgraded, rinse, repeat. All the while, you make friends, fish, water plants, hunt bugs and dig up fossils that can sold or donated to the museum. This time around, though, there's a flea market where you can set prices for items, and buy stuff from other townsfolk. The addition of the store adds an interesting element to the game, as you find yourself going back and forth between stores, seeing where you'll get the better deals. It's a nifty little mechanic that adds a new level of depth to the game.

While this does seem like an old hat of a game on paper, it's all about the execution, which is where "New Leaf" truly excels. The controls are tighter than they've ever been, thanks to a completely retooled interface. Gone are the days of having to go into menus to dig out equipment; switching between nets, shovels, watering cans, etc, is now allocated to the D-Pad, making it much more convenient to do what you want, when you want to do it. Also welcome are little graphical changes, such as shimmering flowers to indicate you've watered them for the day, and birds that perch atop bulletin boards to indicate a new message. Little things like this help make the game more streamlined.

Another great thing about the game are the enhanced internet capabilities. Visiting your friends' towns is back, of course, but the biggest draw here is the ability to mingle with players from around the world on a tropical island. You can see what their towns look like, among other things, which is a first for the franchise. Then there's the "Dream Suite", which lets you upload a "dream" of your town to the internet for other players to explore, and the Happy Home Showcase, which lets you see the homes of other players you've met via StreetPass. This is the most online entry in the franchise yet, and it's nice to see in Nintendo embracing internet play finally; it definitely bodes well for the upcoming "Smash Bros", after "Brawl" had such an abysmal online mode.

This is also the best-looking AC yet, with beautiful textures that easily trump "City Folk". Water glistens and fluidly moves, characters have elaborate and varied animations, and every detail of the landscape is rendered with beautiful clarity. 3D helps to add an extra level of depth to the game, but other than that, it's actually one of the most unremarkable usages of the feature I've seen in a first-party 3DS title. On the audio front, we have an incredibly safe soundtrack. It's pretty and relaxing, and one of the best in the series, but it's definitely very similar to other entries, and it doesn't rock the boat in too many ways. In my opinion, it didn't need to, but a little more variety would have been nice.

Nintendo has easily made the best "Animal Crossing" game yet here. There's more to do in this than in any previous entry, the controls are pitch-perfect, and the entire experience is absolutely beautiful, especially considering that it's a handheld title. That being said, not much has changed in the core gameplay and sound department, and while that won't bother the fanbase (myself included), it makes me start to wonder how long the venerable developer can keep doing the same thing repeatedly until it starts to get old. Until then, though, "New Leaf" is a really fun little game, and one that I expect to hold me over for not months, but years to come.

Plot: 8
Gameplay: 8.75
Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 8.75
Overall: 8.75

Update (6/11/13): Because of the nature of this game, I'll throw up a new update every now and again if something of note pops up. Today, my game introduced the feature of public works projects and ordinances. The former allows you take requests to alter your town, then gather donations in order to complete them, and the latter lets you change the times of local stores to suit your playing time better. Also more fleshed-out is the island, at which you can eventually unlock a wetsuit that allows you to swim around (a series first.) I stand by my original score, but this is a most impressive development, and without a doubt makes it the best and most varied "Animal Crossing" yet.

Update (7/7/13): It's been about a month, and things have gotten pretty interesting! A dance club opened up in town, payments for getting a house have steeply increased, and there are still new tools to unlock and creatures to catch. The added variety of deep-sea diving definitely helps. Furthermore, the adorable Isabelle gets a much more defined personality, as does Sable, who works at the clothing store. If you build your relationship with the latter, you'll unlock the ability to get new patterns via QR codes scanned in via 3DS Camera. Not only that, but you'll get cool backstory about the Able Sisters, which ties into past games. Still a solid 8.75 in my book!
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on June 9, 2013
I've played all of the Animal Crossing games, and this one definitely meets (and exceeds) the mark for Animal Crossing expectations. My favorite was Animal Crossing on the DS (Wild World) and this one plays so similar to it!

The graphics are crisp, clean, colorful, the motion and touch screen is fluid, easy and intuitive.

All of the amazing things about Animal Crossing have carried over and can be found in this newest edition, right down to banging on the rocks in the town with your shovel to try to get thousands of Bells. In addition to that, so many new fun things have been added that I've stumbled across, I'm always pleasantly surprised and smiling over it! Before I knew it, I looked up and realized a couple hours had passed.

Excellent edition, amazing graphics upgrade, unlimited fun. This is a must have title for the Nintendo 3DS, especially if you played the previous versions!
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on June 10, 2013
This game is beyond words.
I'd like to start off by saying I've played every Animal Crossing available for the US from the Population Growing for the GameCube to City Folk for the Wii, and now New Leaf.
Nintendo has definately done a great job in adding new features. From the bigger things like the new projects we can make and Main Street, to the smaller things like socks & shoes, and my favorite - pants. I can honestly say I have never been so excited for pants in my life.
I love how some of the older characters have now moved on with their life and started a new beginning, so to speak, and have grown into new people. For example, Tom Nook getting into the real estate business and Shanks opening up his own shoe store.
The island makes it so much easier to make bells now that you can get rare bugs and sharks all year long.
I've found myself unable to put this game down ever since I got it. If you've never played Animal Crossing before this is a great start off, as this is the best one yet.
The possibilities are endless with all the new features (including the smaller ones that I'm sure all Animal Crossing fans will appreciate and love), the furniture, the complete customization of your house and much much more.
You won't be disappointed.

Bravo Nintendo, bravo!
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on June 9, 2013
Coming from Tumblr I can say that everyone was in an uproar over this game and I didn't realize how exciting it was until I started reading the thoughts of others. Now that I own it, I can say this is by far the best AC installment yet.

Gameplay: 9/10. Of course, everything in this game is starting out very slooooooowly. You only have a few basic stores and ways of making money. That said, it is very easy to pay off your first two loans and unlock the island, which surely means Bells will come more easily. I would suggest looking into getting the guide or borrowing it from a friend who owns it, because I believe there are more things with unlocking requirements in this version than any in the past. Plus, there are new villagers and items, and who wouldn't want to have a book full of every last one? :)
**IMPORTANT EDIT: I recommend AGAINST buying the Prima Offical (aka only English) guide out right now. I have purchased it, and as many others would say, it's full of incorrect nonsense. You would be better off purchasing the Japanese one, which has great reviews from its English owners.

Graphics: 10/10. They really outdid themselves with this one. The water looks absolutely stunning, I have to say, as they've added what appears to be a very shiny, glossy texture to it, so it looks very real. The trees and grass have very natural fading, the houses are unique and cute with their little chimneys, and all the animals appear to have a furry texture that seems to be new to ACNL. They've changed the sizes of the animals and the main character, too, making them more realistic and charming.

New features: Not sure if you knew this, but the features on this game far surpass every single predecessor by a landslide. The island is a stellar addition that earns high marks, even standing alone. There are new trees, fruits, and games to play here, a handful of which I've tried, and they're very fun.
Some of my favorite smaller features in this game are the wetsuit/swimming, building your own bridges and cute pieces in your town, the ability to change your shoes, pants and even socks, and the fortune cookies which are just plain adorable.

This is the kind of game that you want to play simply for how cute it is, and it's worth it all the way. Absolutely get it.

EDIT: ** Is anyone else having an issue with the Dream Suite? It's not an important factor for me, but... myself and some friends I know can't seem to connect to the "random" dream town feature. It keeps telling me that I have an unstable internet connection, which isn't the case.
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on February 3, 2014
Most nights I come home from a long day of work, get the baby fed and bathed and in bed, and sit down needing to unwind and remove the stress of my work day from my brains. Animal Crossing: New Leaf does just that. It's my evening therapy and my path to a better tomorrow. I'm not kidding.

I've played other versions of the AC franchise and while I enjoyed them, I got bored eventually. I didn't feel much like I had anything to work for. The humdrum of fossil collection, fishing, and bug catching just wasn’t appealing eventually. I also lamented the lack of interaction in the online world with others.

I get hours of enjoyment out of AC:NL almost every day. Some nights I have just enough time and energy to log in, find my fossils, say hello to a few neighbors, check my stores, and log out. Other nights I am able to run around for a while collecting fruit and fish/bugs to sell. I don’t find the money grinding part of this version nearly as boring now because I’m really enjoying using it to make my house grow and to decorate my rooms. The online additions to AC:NL are partially responsible for the enhanced enjoyment of this version. Visiting dream worlds and other friend’s towns via WiFi has provided inspiration for my own home decorating quests. Having so many great websites to check for trading forums and item information has further added to the game experience. Nintendo’s addition of the Miiverse to 3DS, with the ability to share AC:NL screenshots and chat with others, has been icing on the cake.

Being unable to play for a few days (or more) at a time is less painful in AC:NL. While things like flower dying and weeds popping up still happen, the new garden center proprietor is more than happy to take some bells and clean up your town for you. What a relief! This was one aspect I hated most in previous games. The mess of a town I knew I would log into if I wasn’t able to visit for a while.

Many of the other additions to AC:NL that have kept me playing daily. Being able to travel to the island for diving, mini-game tours, and fish and bug collecting has kept the bells rolling in. Public work projects to further individualize my town have been really enjoyable too. I’ve found it a lot easier to focus on the parts of the game I enjoy most (home expansion, decorating, and collecting) with this version. The multitude of ways to earn bells has made the game feel less of a grind over all.

Although other games (Pokemon X/Y!) have taken me away from my town some nights, I find myself still trying to log in for a little AC relaxation every day. This game is great for casual play and seriously has helped me to feel more relaxed and stress free at the end of a long day. AC:NL goes beyond just town building with online play. For the casual gamer who loves to collect, decorate, and build their own town, this game will assuredly be hours of enjoyment, with additional features that make it the best version of this franchise available.
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on June 9, 2013
This game literally blew me away. I've been watching videos, reading reviews and attaining as much info as i could over the past 7 months about animal crossing: new leaf. Let me tell you that those words did not excite me until the minute i played. Its amazing, so many new customizations at the palm of your hand. By the end of the first twenty minutes i had rallied up 23,000 bells and was able to pay off the home loan. And plus you dont have to do that boring old job for nook which was a big improvement in my mind. The town is so well put together and it excited me that there is a store for every thing. I've spent alot of time waiting for this day to come and i cant wait for many more days to come.
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on March 2, 2014
This has absolutely all the content to make it the best game in the series. It's got the fishing and the home decorating. It's got the charming animals (shoutout to my boy Bob). And it's got the online components like, user content, mayoral duties, etc. that gives you everything you could ever ask for in a Animal Crossing game....if you have the patience. You'll log in, fish, shop, get a task to complete, complete it, start a public works project, donate to it, save, turn it off. The next day you'll log in, donate to public works, notice you still need 300,000 bells but no worries, fish a little but catch nothing but fish you've caught before, donate a fossil, save, turn it off. And so it goes. Eventually you'll pay off the publics work project, eventually you'll catch a fish you haven't caught before, but most of the time in between will be spent doing mundane and repetitious tasks. Many love this about the series, but it just couldn't hold my interest. It's totally zen and a quality product, but I guess I've gotten too impatient to enjoy that approach.
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on June 9, 2013
From the train ride to town to paying my first down payment on my house...the first hour of Animal Crossing New Leaf has been everything I wanted and more. Great game so far!
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