Animal Crossing New Horizons Review (Nintendo Switch)

Animal Crossing New Horizons Review (Nintendo Switch)

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Like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey
before it, Animal Crossing New Horizons is more than just the newest entry in its series. It takes everything learned from the series
previous entries, integrates new online social features, and creates one of the most compelling
experiences and newest reasons to pick up a Nintendo Switch. Animal Crossing formula has always been a
life simulator with plenty of customization and social features to go with it. That bit hasn’t changed, in fact, the focus
is more concentrated than ever. There isn’t much direction in Animal Crossing,
no end game to seek after or story really. The narrative is truly what you aim to make
it and what island you decide to craft in the process. It’s an evolution of the mayor feature in
Animal Crossing New Leaf now fully fleshed out to let you terraform your island, choose
who lives on it and where everything is. It’s a gradual process though, at least if
you don’t time skip. The world of Animal Crossing goes along to
your Nintendo Switch’s date and clock. That means when it’s day time outside, your
game will follow alongside. Playing through Animal Crossing is like checking
in on your small worlds. It continues on whether you’re there or not. That means if you don’t play for a while,
villagers will begin to ask where you been, weeds will sprout throughout the fields and
flowers will wither away if not watered. When you do check in on your island, the day
to day tasks are left up to you. You can collect fruits across your island,
catch fish, look for fossils underground, or collect shells across the beach. There’s a long list of things you can do and
they all have some sort of purpose. Collect your fruit and you can eat them for
energy and perform larger tasks. Maybe you just want to plant them for more
tree or perhaps sell them to pay off your home loan. You collect fish and insects to sell, create
your own little zoo in the world or donate them to the local museum. I actively participated in just about every
little activity I could but alongside them, the game itself would unlock more activities
and initiatives as I put more effort into my island. Sailing off to other nearby islands, I ran
across villagers that I invited to move to my island. Just a few days later, I found them arriving
with new recipes for me to craft. With more villagers came more necessity for
expansion. Suddenly my small tent shop became a building
and more commodities started to be built. The whole time, I had full control of everything
went and so even though these new features were being added, I still felt like I had
some sense of control over them. Outside of the single-player play, there are
a few online and local multiplayer aspects added with new horizons. The airports at every island let you access
your friend’s list as well as Nintendo Switches nearby via local play. Even later on in the game, you’re able to
connect multiple users on a single switch. Though the whole you have to share a single
island on one switch dilemma still remains. While the initial excitement of playing with
friends was fun, I saw it start to die down once I had collected more items. You see once I had most of the fruits needed,
most island visits boiled down to “Let’s see your island layout and let’s take a picture”. After that, there wasn’t much to do outside
of trading random furniture. Some members of the online community started
inventing games like playing. hide and seek in the museum but without a
proper mini-game suite, it’s short-lived. Single player might be the best in the series
but multiplayer still has some room for improvement. I’ve only been living in the world of Animal
Crossing for about week and there’s still so much left to do. Every day is a new progression to making my
island my own and with holiday events coming in the future, there’s no telling what other
surprises lie in store for my island. It’s been a gradual treat to play Animal Crossing
both alone and with friends. The more effort I put into my island the more
I felt rewarded and accurately saw the fruits of my labor across my island. Sure the introduction progress was a bit slow,
but the wait felt worth it. Nintendo’s cute high pitched animals have
never looked this on neither a handheld or home console before. We may have gotten a glimpse at an HD animal
crossing future with the Wii U Wara Wara plaza, but Animal Crossing New Horizon blew my expectations
out of the water. Villagers look cute as ever with both old
and familiar faces coming to your island. Just about everything has a new sense of animation
detail, the leaves moving along to the wind, the characters reacting to the environment
and all the props you’re able to place in the world. The little touches of interaction and animation
make everything feel so much more lived in. Being on more powerful hardware, this new
entry in the series fully renders everything in 3D. Gone are the 2d sprites in a 3D world for
a more immersive world that combines Animal Crossing signature cute cartoon look with
arguably one of the most realistic models for the collectibles. Your villager and neighbors might look wholesome
but the fish and fossils here look like 3d models from a photograph. In dock mode, you can expect a performance
that locks at 1080p 30 fps. In handheld mode that’s kept that 720p 30fps. Along with those bumps in resolution for the
series comes an assortment of new visual upgrades. Shadows are rendered for moving objects like
villagers and presents occasionally floating over the horizon. The horizon itself has so much more color
to it that truly shines when the different seasons come into play. If there’s one thing I would have loved to
seen play with more in this entry, it’s the field of view or perspectives with the camera. While you can still change the point of view
using the right analog stick, it’s limited to two notches while moving, three if you’re
holding still for use with the camera application. The use of more 3d models in the world made
me want to look at it from all sorts of angles. I loved having the ability to turn so much
more in 3d space in areas like my home. I just wish that the same rule was applied
to the rest of the environment. Just like the animation and visuals have been
looked at under a microscope with this entry, the audio design has gotten the same treatment. To be frank, Animal Crossing music has never
failed. It’s why there are hours of music loops across
YouTube. The music is timeless and is the perfect ambient
tunes for just about anything. It’s calming, soothing, even nurturing to
some extent. I found myself humming along to my town’s
music both inside and outside of my time playing. It’s that good. Furthermore, it’s the sound effect that really
helped sell the world. The differences between running through my
town plaza and the grass. The thumps of hitting a tree or the sound
of the different weather patterns around me. It’s completely captivating and the combination
of good audio design and fantastic music is on display at all times. The Nintendo Switch’s iconic HD rumble also
gets some vital use throughout New Horizon’s different gameplay elements. While fishing, you can feel the splashing
of the fish trying to pull on the hook line. Hacking down trees sends the vibrations of
the bark trembling down your joycon. Trying to stop while running not only makes
you slide, but you can feel the skids shake throughout your palms. Animal Crossing New Horizon is a gem of a
video game that lures you with its sense of freedom, customization, and wholesomeness
and never lets you go. This new entry in the series offers a new
level of personalization not just to the characters but to the world itself. It’s the most approachable and accessible
entry in the series that truly has a bit of everything: exploration, world-building, collecting
and more. In a week that’s been nothing but at home
lockdowns, Animal Crossing made it feel more social than ever. Connecting with friends online, sharing items
and checking in on each others’ latest projects, it’s the social sim to beat in a world that’s
becoming slowly less sociable.

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