Upon studying that Nintendo was planning to launch a huge 2.0 replace for the wildly well-liked Animal Crossing: New Horizons, most gamers’ feelings traveled shortly from pleasure to worry. After obsessing over the sport for a number of months after it launched, many had left their cities dormant, permitting weeds to develop within the grass and and holidays to be left uncelebrated. The quantity of labor followers confronted to get their cities trying “presentable” once more was imposing sufficient that some mentioned they deliberate to only reset their cities and begin with a contemporary canvas.
Others mentioned they’d courageous the work simply to expertise the replace, which promised a set of returning characters, new experiences and new DLC, and an enormous variety of quality-of-life adjustments. Is the beefy new 2.0 replace price returning to your forgotten city? Based on my time up to now, I sincerely don’t suppose so.
The objective of the New Horizons‘ 2.0 update, which is the last major free content update for the game, is to get players back into their towns. It’s not supposed to get new gamers to purchase the sport. Instead, it’s made up of small however significant updates designed particularly to assuage current participant base’s complaints over the previous 12 months and a half. By all metrics, Nintendo has succeeded: The recreation hasn’t seen these ranges of recognition because it launched. All of my pals and coworkers are excitedly speaking about their favourite returning characters and all the adjustments they plan to make to their island.
After attempting the replace — which dropped a day early — I shortly discovered myself very underwhelmed. Most of the adjustments are geared towards serving to gamers who like to design and customise their cities to the nth diploma. Instead of sticking to the sequence’ roots as a set-in-stone simulation recreation, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is extra akin to The Sims: A very mutable world the place gamers could make their expertise precisely what they need it to be.
Back within the days of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, followers would use hacks and mods to brighten their islands past the bounds of what the sport allowed. New Horizons offers gamers a approach to do this extra legitimately and makes complete customization simpler than ever by usability upgrades like everlasting ladders, extra bridges and inclines, and storage lockers. Once they’ve made their dream island, gamers can snap images of it to their coronary heart’s content material it due to upgrades to the in-game digital camera app, which lets you take nice images like this:
The replace can be painfully apparent about the truth that it’s attempting to get you to play for so long as doable. Don’t get me flawed: Animal Crossing has all the time been an extremely slow-moving recreation, however New Horizons has taken it to a brand new stage ever since its launch. With the replace, many gamers’ time spent on their islands will improve as soon as once more, however how satisfying an expertise will it’s? When you need to spend an additional day donating lacking gadgets to your museum to get Brewster to maneuver in or should grind out bell-making actions, like fishing, for hours to get Katrina to maneuver onto Harv’s Island, is it one thing you play since you genuinely get pleasure from it, or do you play since you really feel obligated to take action?
I’ve by no means been a fan of getting full management over my island. Honestly, it’s extra hectic than it’s enjoyable. I discovered myself craving for the Animal Crossings of days previous that plopped you in a premade city and gave you little management over the comings and goings of your villagers. The “story” of prior video games — what little there was — was about making do with the place you landed in and studying to reside with the locals, whoever (and no matter) they could be. With the two.0 replace, New Horizons pulls itself even farther from that unique mentality and turns into a totally totally different sort of recreation within the course of.
At the identical time, the sport manages to be just a little too just like its predecessors. When I first noticed the reveal video, I believed, “Wow. That looks like New Leaf, but in HD.” Many of New Leaf‘s most popular features, like town ordinances, permanent shops owned by characters like Kicks and Leif, and boat trips from Kapp’n, have been delivered to New Horizons as a part of the replace. Nintendo modified little or no in bringing these options over: The 4 ordinances that gamers can select from in New Horizons are precisely the identical as those in New Leaf. Kapp’n’s sea shanty tunes are all the identical, at the very least musically. Brewster serves espresso the very same approach he’s been doing since Animal Crossing: Wild World. Even if Nintendo supposed to kowtow to followers who simply needed New Leaf on the Switch with extra customizability — which is precisely what New Horizons has change into — it might have at the very least included some new tidbits, like contemporary songs for Kapp’n.
Yes, I’ve a climate satellite tv for pc farm in my city. Call me a nerd all you need.Even the brand new store space in Harv’s Island has been performed earlier than. In Animal Crossing: City Folk, the titular metropolis space was a spot the place gamers might journey to so as to purchase from quite a lot of retailers. It was broadly derided on the time, largely as a result of City Folk was in any other case a Wii port of Wild World and didn’t have a lot contemporary content material to introduce past the principally nugatory metropolis. Yet when it’s reimagined as Harv’s Island, it’s all of a sudden rather more thrilling. The new zone is an endgame quest for gamers who don’t have a lot else to do and have too many bells sitting round. It’s nice for collectors, as gamers now not have to attend for these characters to randomly present up at their island and peddle their wares, however it seems like extra of the identical. There aren’t any new characters, simply returning faces that Nintendo knew followers can be excited to see. If you’ve performed New Leaf, you’ve seen all of them earlier than.
If Nintendo was going to stay to bringing in content material that’s been round for some time, it will be nice to see a number of the older options make a return. When I spoke to my villagers after having not appear them for over 10 months, all of them greeted me with sickening sweetness, speaking about how the island was undoubtedly a greater place as a result of I’d returned. I discovered myself wishing that the two.0 replace included a number of the meaner villager dialogue and actions from the unique recreation.
Some of the replace’s content material is solely redundant — why does hair stylist Harriet should be within the recreation when the way in which gamers replace their look has been basically modified since New Leaf? The solely really new mechanic is cooking, which is enjoyable for some time however doesn’t serve any actual goal in addition to supplying you with one thing else to present your neighbors and giving your character power to redecorate their island.
Nintendo has quite a bit to find out about supporting “live” video games or video games that proceed to obtain updates after their launch, and New Horizons‘ 2.0 update is one of the best examples of this. If the game had had more of a steady drip of content over the past year and a half rather than one huge dump in the update, I think fans would be a lot more satisfied. Then again, a huge fllod on content with everything that most fans want was an extremely successful way to reinvigorate interest in the game all at once. I plan on giving the paid DLC a shot, as I enjoyed Happy Home Designer back in the day, but the chances of me continuing to play the base game on a daily basis are slim to none. New Horizons 2.0 simply isn’t sufficient of a change to warrant diving again into my island.
When I initiated a save and the message “Ready to wrap things up for now?” popped up, I used to be struck with a pang of unhappiness. I knew that as exhausting because the replace had tried to reel me again in, it was doubtless that I used to be wrapping issues up completely with New Horizons.