Tuesday, March 26, 2013

PAX East 2013: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

At PAX East, Nintendo was all about pushing their newest 3DS releases, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, but they were also hyping up their next major 3DS release: Animal Crossing: New Leaf.  Unfortunately, Nintendo did not provide a playable version of the game, but they had a representative on hand to show the game off in a guided presentation.  This would be the first venue in which the English version of the game was shown.

For those unaware of the Animal Crossing series, Animal Crossing is a life simulation game in which players control an avatar as he or she ventures into a town whose occupants are all animals of various species and demeanor.  Whereas in previous games you were just a fellow villager with some big loans to pay, New Leaf gives you the ability to be the mayor!  Now you can rule the village with an iron fist...or something softer, if you prefer.

As mayor, you have the ability to help improve the village to better fit your interests.  You can pay for installations of benches, light-posts, even bridges along the town's river.  Those projects might get pricy, but starting the projects allows other occupants and even your friends online to offer more Bells (the game's currency) to the cause.  Not only can you start building projects around town, but you can also set up special ordinances, such as later open hours for the town's shops or cleanup crews to ensure the village is void of weeds.  All of these choices are on you, the mayor, so there is a bit more to do than just wander around town and play messenger with the other villagers.

Besides your mayoral duties, you can also better yourself with specialized clothing from the long strip of stores in town.  New to this version is the ability to buy shoes and socks and then some to completely customize your look along the way.  There is also a thrift shop in which you and other villagers can leave items to be sold to everyone else; the shop-running alpacas can even make alterations to those items to make them fit your house's design, which by the way is entirely modifiable on the outside and inside thanks to all of the additions you can purchase in-game.

If the town gets too boring for you, you can go take a ride with Kapp'n to The Island, a remote tropical island where the old former mayor and a lot of kappas reside.  There, summer fruit is freely available, and a plethora of souvenirs can also be purchase but not with Bells.  On The Island, you need to play mini-games in order to get special currency for the stores there, all of which last no more than a few minutes each.  Also at the tropical paradise, you will be able to swim in the ocean for the first time in Animal Crossing history, and with that, you will be able to capture deep-sea fish for display.

There is plenty more random additions to the game's content, but there is certainly more to this game than a simple iterative release in New Leaf.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf releases on Nintendo 3DS June 9th.   

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