14 votes

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct - February 20, 2020

14 comments

  1. [4]
    vivaria
    (edited )
    Link
    As someone who's played every release extensively, and who's one of those diehards who gets memed on, I definitely got Feelings watching this. It looks absolutely gorgeous, magical even. Certain...

    As someone who's played every release extensively, and who's one of those diehards who gets memed on, I definitely got Feelings watching this. It looks absolutely gorgeous, magical even. Certain shots of certain locations (e.g. museums) took my breath away. I teared up watching this, as absurd as that sounds, so I've definitely drank the kool-aid.

    What I look for in an Animal Crossing game has changed as I've grown up. When I was a kid, with the Gamecube being my first console (besides GBA), I played AC through wonder-filled kid eyes. The way my brain was developed back then, I didn't have the sense for the limitations of games, so the world felt so deep and immersive. Every little event (from tent/igloo games to turnips spoiling from time travel) was just as meaningful as what was going on in my real life. Ditto for Wild World -- I remember spending hours collecting bugs and building elaborate plots to farm hybrids on summer vacations. The art style and soundtrack for both games felt so personal to me, too. Every little detail sensory detail was seared into my squishy brainstuff, acting as formative experiences for my developing tastes and preferences.

    As I've grown up, I find I approach certain aspects differently. In-game achievements feel less significant to me, and I've found it harder to feel invested in a town. Part of it is the deeper awareness I have of game design; when I come across a limitation, it strikes me as painfully apparent and disappointing. The suspension of disbelief just isn't there anymore.[1] Part of it is the fact that I've done the same things over and over for more than a decade nearly two decades now. And part of it is the game becoming a small part of my much bigger adult life; I just can't devote the headspace anymore to allow it to become a world to lose myself in when there's so much else going on.

    So, the role AC plays in my life is different now. I understand that certain core aspects of the series lack replayability -- Nintendo might put a new coat of paint on year-round events and collectathons, but they're still fundamentally the same. I'm much more attracted to it as a town simulator, one that I can customize and decorate to my heart's content. I dream of building cozy spaces for myself and my loved ones. I like building atmosphere, and putting different aesthetic and functional pieces together to create a coherent mood. But, frankly, I don't have the time or money to actually own a house and flex my creative muscles IRL. AC is escapism, and as the series has developed, the games have put much more of an emphasis on this kind of creative design. Happy Home Designer was a huge step in the right direction; it gave so many little quality-of-life updates in terms of tools and flexibility. But, even that game felt... limited, in some senses? There were designs I wanted to put together that I just couldn't due to the limitations of the game's engines.

    There are all sorts of small tells in this trailer that hint at more flexibility. Some of the room designs they show off for split seconds seem much more complex than anything that could be accomplished in Happy Home Designer. The 'house design' segment they showed is supremely promising! Plus, the thought of building an entire town from scratch is wonderful, and it seems like there are enough tools for you to do just that. There are all sorts of instances in older games where I've felt a craving to do certain things that just weren't programmed into the game. Waterway and cliff sculpting, for example, is a subtle but vital quality of life update. I couldn't help but feel the creative gears in my brain whirring as I watched this video.

    Not to discount the story-based and achievement-based sides of Animal Crossing, of course! Exploring all of the little touches of character will be a lovely bonus. That's just not the core draw for me anymore, though, as I know I'll exhaust those details fairly quickly. Real life is infinite, but a game like this only has as much dialogue and detail as the programmers put in. That's why user customization is so important to me as an adult -- the only limit there is my imagination, so to speak.

    All in all, I think there's enough here for me to be satisfied, though I'm not sure if there's enough for me to get a Switch. That's still a big commitment, but I'm going to keep the possibility the back of my mind for now. :>

    [1] For example, as a kid, I connected deeply with the Sable 'side quest'. Her backstory hit me hard, and I had such fondness for her! As an adult, when I check it at each new game, I notice her dialogue beginning to loop after only a few days and feel deeply sorrowful, wanting more connection.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      So, if you like videogames and your preferences aren't crazy specific (like exclusively playing CSGO or something), I would say a Switch is about the best entertainment investment there is right...

      All in all, I think there's enough here for me to be satisfied, though I'm not sure if there's enough for me to get a Switch

      So, if you like videogames and your preferences aren't crazy specific (like exclusively playing CSGO or something), I would say a Switch is about the best entertainment investment there is right now. The time of "wait for a bigger games library" has passed. There must be at least a dozen, A-tier exclusives out by now, with a level of variety that's just impressive. Then you have all the indies and third party releases on top of that (I find myself playing random indie games on the Switch that I had owned for years on Steam but for some reason never played there). I bought a Switch 2 years ago and I'm actually enjoy playing lots of different games again, it's fantastic!

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        vivaria
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The challenge for me is the the cost. 400CAD for a console and 80CAD per game is unreasonably expensive when there are so many free or low-cost alternatives to spend my time on. (Although, I hear...

        The challenge for me is the the cost. 400CAD for a console and 80CAD per game is unreasonably expensive when there are so many free or low-cost alternatives to spend my time on. (Although, I hear the cough modding scene is thriving?)

        Indie games on my laptop, emulation, and free pastimes have generally been way more than enough to keep me entertained. Plus, I tend to be uh... anti-consumerism? I try to take an active role in gauging when my desire has been manufactured by someone else. These days, I tend to play games way after they're released and after the hype cycle has died down. So, investing in a Switch now would be going against a lot of my instincts.

        4 votes
        1. nothis
          Link Parent
          Yea, it's not cheap. All I can say is that I came from a similar position, haven't owned a console since the Nintendo 64 for that reason and I didn't regret my buying a Switch for one second. I...

          Yea, it's not cheap. All I can say is that I came from a similar position, haven't owned a console since the Nintendo 64 for that reason and I didn't regret my buying a Switch for one second. I noticed for myself that a lot of the cheap alternatives tend to just pile up and, ultimately, I prefer buying one 60€ game I truly enjoy over buying half a dozen games on a sale that I'm not truly into.

          Also, yea, look into modding, I certainly won't judge you! ;) You just likely miss out on online stuff, which is way more enjoyable than the "but there is no messaging!"-yellers want to make you think.

  2. [9]
    Nepenthaceae
    Link
    I feel they gave the entire game away here. There is nothing really left to discover, just customization. I get that they just want you to go nuts on the design of your island. But I think there...

    I feel they gave the entire game away here. There is nothing really left to discover, just customization.

    I get that they just want you to go nuts on the design of your island. But I think there is too little variation in the terrain to really make something unique.

    I was hoping to see some mountains or other "biomes".

    Guess I'll stick to Minecraft for my building needs and Stardew Valley for my cuteness needs.

    1. [8]
      vorotato
      Link Parent
      I wonder if this isn't the kind of game that you thought it was. Previous Animal Crossing titles had less customization and less variation in terrain, but I still thought there was a lot to...

      I wonder if this isn't the kind of game that you thought it was. Previous Animal Crossing titles had less customization and less variation in terrain, but I still thought there was a lot to discover. Minecraft and Stardew are very good though so I can't fault you for loving them. I'm still excited but I can also understand wanting more variation.

      7 votes
      1. [7]
        Nepenthaceae
        Link Parent
        I haven't played other Animal Crossing games. I was trying to see if I would like this one and judge it for what I would see in the trailers and this Direct. 'Cuz I love me some Switch gaming.

        I haven't played other Animal Crossing games. I was trying to see if I would like this one and judge it for what I would see in the trailers and this Direct. 'Cuz I love me some Switch gaming.

        1. [6]
          vorotato
          Link Parent
          I would recommend renting it but then I remembered that doesn't exist I guess. Animal crossing is one of my favorite titles, but I view the customization as a bonus and not the heart of the game....

          I would recommend renting it but then I remembered that doesn't exist I guess. Animal crossing is one of my favorite titles, but I view the customization as a bonus and not the heart of the game. A lot of the exploration is meeting the different animal people, experiencing zen moments, and finding little hidden bits about the world. I don't think very much was spoiled in the video. A lot of it is, you come back to this same place over and over, and rediscover new things about the place you thought you knew. The time, season, and weather all affect the mood, and I'm very fond of the older titles. I think it's probably closer to Stardew, but the experience of it is quite different. Stardew is much more busy and directed, whereas Animal Crossing is more like a leisurely stroll through the woods. If you can find a retailer with a good return policy, I would recommend giving it a shot just in case.

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            Nepenthaceae
            Link Parent
            To be honest, I am an avid gamer and I'm not sure if I want to spend the time I reserve for gaming on this/these game(s). Especially because this game will probrably be $60. I feel I won't reach...

            To be honest, I am an avid gamer and I'm not sure if I want to spend the time I reserve for gaming on this/these game(s). Especially because this game will probrably be $60. I feel I won't reach the $/hour ratio I usually go for in games. That said, if I could maybe borrow it from a friend (I know someone who is going to buy this game at release) I will most definitely check it out to form a better informed opinion on it.

            Also: it's a little to cute for my taste, when Links Awakening came out for the Switch, I decided to play the first remake (DX on gameboy color) because of its 'cute' animation style.

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              vorotato
              Link Parent
              That's fair, animal crossing is often the game I play between other games. I use it to chill out more than "play". My current main game is Noita, which has an aesthetic of a mix of caffeine and...

              That's fair, animal crossing is often the game I play between other games. I use it to chill out more than "play". My current main game is Noita, which has an aesthetic of a mix of caffeine and shrooms lol. Animal Crossing by contrast is weed vibes.

              1 vote
              1. [3]
                Nepenthaceae
                Link Parent
                Oh man, please tell me more about Noita, that looks awesome@ It kind of reminds me of Powder Game (forgive me) As for weed vibes, I go hard on 2007 Runescape when I'm baked xD Or incremental...

                Oh man, please tell me more about Noita, that looks awesome@ It kind of reminds me of Powder Game (forgive me)
                As for weed vibes, I go hard on 2007 Runescape when I'm baked xD
                Or incremental clicking games... as long as it's low input I will play it stoned.

                1. [2]
                  vorotato
                  Link Parent
                  yeah Noita is like a mix of the powder game, a roguelike with very weird backstory. Personally I like to switch between pacifist runs and playing exceedingly carefully while killing every enemy lol.

                  yeah Noita is like a mix of the powder game, a roguelike with very weird backstory. Personally I like to switch between pacifist runs and playing exceedingly carefully while killing every enemy lol.

                  1 vote
                  1. Nepenthaceae
                    Link Parent
                    Very cool, I put it on my list. thanks for the tip!

                    Very cool, I put it on my list. thanks for the tip!

                    1 vote
  3. nothis
    Link
    Sorry, I had to post this somewhere: Is the narrator voice actress the one from the Half-Life Hazard Course?

    Sorry, I had to post this somewhere: Is the narrator voice actress the one from the Half-Life Hazard Course?