Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The new Animal Crossing game just debuted at E3 this week. Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I think I almost always hate every new title when it comes out, then it starts to grow on me, and I suppose this one will too. At first glance, I wasn’t too impressed, but the more I’ve watched of what little info is out there, the more I’m warming up to it, and the more it’s starting to definitely look like the best Animal Crossing game, even if it will fall short of what I’ve always hoped the game could be.
In all the entries in the series that have come before it, they all kinda start out the same way. You’re new in town. Tom Nook hooks you up with a place to stay out of the kindness of his heart, until you find out your his debt slave for the next year or two of your actual real life. In New Horizons you start out on a deserted Island. I was a little skeptical of this as I really enjoy the town atmosphere of the Animal Crossing games, and I definitely don’t want to lose that. It’s something that really holds Pocket Camp back from feeling like a real Animal Crossing experience. But there are tents, which I assume grow into huts, and maybe then houses or whatever. I think it will be okay.
One of the biggest pains in the butt has always been inventory management in Animal Crossing. The touch screen made that easier, but still currently the only way to know what an item is, is to select it. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but after you’ve gone through icon by icon just looking for one specific pair of socks… it starts to get annoying. At least now it looks like you’ll have a better visual representation of the item when you’re looking through your inventory or pockets.
Crafting is here. Which is… fine. I don’t hate crafting. As long as most of the materials can generally be sourced pretty easily. It’s when you have to have super rare materials, or materials that are incredibly expensive that it becomes annoying. There’s no word on how all that will play out, so for now, yeah… it’s fine.
Some of the little visual details they’ve included I think will really make the game even easier to get sucked into. The way the ocean water breaks against the rocks, clouds passing overhead leave shadows on the ground as they go by. And generally, it all just looks very well polished and put together. The world they showed was pretty empty, but that’s how all the Animal Crossing games start out. It’s up to you how you want to fill that space.
Honestly, if it’s just kinda of “quality of life” improvements, I’m okay with that. But Animal Crossing has always had the potential to connect with your real life friends and family at a really fun level. But Nintendo is always very cautious when it comes to allowing people to communicate with each other. And you can’t really blame them. Humans are the worst.
My dream is an Animal Crossing place that is always there, online, living even when you’re not playing. You can send mail from your town to your friend in another town, or you could get a friendly message from one of you fictional in game villagers on your real life phone to make you smile.
But let’s be honest. Nintendo doesn’t have to do much to Animal Crossing to get me to buy it again.