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What is your opinion of New Horizons 3 years on?

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Happy 3rd birthday to ACNH today! It's so crazy to think that it has been a full three years since we started on our very own islands :) Im excited for the game going forward!
Animal Crossing New Horizons was the new addition to the Animal Crossing series that fans had been waiting on for 7 years by the time it was released; and if it wasn’t already bound to succeed thanks to the army of dedicated Animal Crossing fans that have existed since 2001, then a certain perfectly timed global event that shall not be named was sure to do it. The fandom has been split over the past three years on where it ranks in comparison to other games both in the AC series and in the Switch generation of games, and it doesn’t seem like there is a universally accepted answer as we saw with New Leaf. Many folks who did share their opinions rushed to review the game as soon as it came out, despite being fully aware that the game was not even remotely finished, while others waited until 2.0 to give a review as they considered that point to be the best time to leave a genuine review. However, I am of the view that this point - the 3rd anniversary of the release of ACNH - is the best time to review the game as a whole. We have now had the full complete game for just over a year and have had a decent length of time to find our overall favourite inclusions and our least favourite flaws within the game and so, in the name of ACNH’s 3rd birthday, I invite you to tell me where Animal Crossing New Horizons ultimately stands for you. Is it the best game? Or 2nd best? Or the very bottom of the list? What are some things you would have included - or left out if it was up to you?

Personally, this is a non-exhaustive list of what I would pick out from ACNH:

The Highlights

- The most obvious positive aspect of New Horizons is the ability to place furniture wherever you wish on the island (bar the plaza, which may I say is absolutely infuriating. If furniture with ‘plaza’ in its name… then why no plaza furniture?). This was a pretty predictable evolution after the PWPs of ACNL, but it was still a thrill like no other to get to make a park and a garden for my house - a real garden! With fences and all!! The ability to create a town that truly fits my dream image is so wonderful and with such few limitations on the placement of trees, bushes and furniture it’s never felt easier to create a town that truly reflects my dream Animal Crossing world. A common complaint is that even though there are thousands of furniture options, they removed several fan-favourite items from prior games that I agree could have enhanced the game such as the Aurora Screen - despite this, I think the vast majority of folks would agree being able to place furniture however you like is a massive win.

- Terraforming is absolutely stunning in this game… mostly (see The Lowlights). At last, the chance to exercise complete control over your town! It was so much fun to build rivers and destroy waterfalls and create rolling hills at my will and don’t even get me started on Nintendo allowing us to move rocks - the best thing to ever happen to the tears of ACNL town designers. It was a massive step up from sitting at your DS resetting until Rover gave you a town map you at least mildly liked, and opened the door to some of the most breath-taking islands I have ever seen in my life. I was completely stunned by the beautiful towns I saw in prior games and sincerely thought that I would never see anything top that - until I saw ACNH terraformers.

- Although I would consider the HHP DLC being locked behind a paywall a negative aspect of the game, the actual DLC itself is really good - extremely good in my opinion. I know people weren’t too fussed with HHD when it came out, but I enjoyed it very much in its time and felt a game dedicated to designing houses was swell. That sentiment is something I carried into HHP and I can't describe the true love I have for the DLC. It's really good if you don’t know what to do with yourself in the game, particularly once you’ve reached most of your major long-term targets, and is the source of a couple of HUNDRED new DIYs which opens up so many new avenues for customisation. The features it gave us that rolled into the main game - like editing villagers' homes, partition walls and making those sparkly things happen - did not disappoint at all and enhanced gameplay for even the least design-oriented players. Although the paywall is annoying, I think it’s worth the £25. [NOTE: it’s worth the £25 but NOT worth it in my opinion if you only access it via the Nintendo Online Expansion. Unless you use the Expansion constantly. Idk how you play.]

- Stretch goals being implemented via. Nook Miles was a broad improvement compared to prior games. For the completionist player, there has never been a better time to be into Animal Crossing and the niche detail of the awards being time-stamped seals the deal for me. The awards are pretty lack-lustre once you make it to the late game but if you’re completing awards in the late game Im not going to assume you’re in it for the 500 Nook Miles.

- While island hopping is incredibly time-consuming I sincerely appreciate Nintendo allowing people to hunt for specific villagers they may want without requiring online play or expensive Amiibo cards - the thought was there.

- This isn’t really that important, but I appreciate being able to see the island before naming it. In prior games, the player hasn’t had the chance to get a feel for the land before naming it.

The Lowlights

- The lack of shop upgrades for Nooks Cranny is sincerely disappointing. Especially when you consider how in past games we were blessed with the most fantastic upgrades (Im looking at you T and T Emporium), it just becomes all the more upsetting. For most people the only upgrade the Nooklings would get came very early in the game so it just felt like a letdown all around. Even now 3 years on Im stumped as to why they cut the upgrades so short. I think the inclusion of upgrades like there were in prior games would have given more reason to play on a regular daily basis and therefore would’ve increased the longevity of the game.

- Probably the biggest criticism of New Horizons is the villagers. They are overall still pleasant, and it’s nice to have company on the big lonely island, but the near complete removal of personality and the limited lines given to them ruins the magic for many. If you talk to your villagers regularly you’ll quickly notice them saying the same lines if they share a personality, and even if they don’t the text they do give you is very tame in comparison to the other games. Part of the charm of older games was the villagers didn’t pander to you as the player; they had lives just like everyone else and opinions and attitudes; the village you lived in had a lot of depth when there were folks within it who you did and didn’t get along with. I loved Pecan because she always did quizzes with me in Wild World and I disliked Elvis because he said my outfit was ugly that one time and had a bad attitude with me - this sense of the villagers being real and having unique behaviours and mannerisms feels far removed from the reality of Animal Crossing New Horizons, where they happily talk to anyone and don’t even consider telling me how stupid I am! It was nice to see the humanity (haha) of the animals around me, it’s something that would bring players back time and time again if it had been included.

- DIYs are wonderful, I’ll admit. I wasn’t very confident in the idea of crafting recipes when the game was first released, but they were implemented well and so I have a level of respect for them. What I DONT like is how collecting them was implemented. Gone to talk to a villager and they give you a DIY you already have and don't want a copy of? Oh well, you have a 5th Nice Branch now. Have 900 DIYs already and only hunting for a couple more? Good luck getting those last few organically - because your best options are checking the beach and getting any one of those hundreds of DIYs or talking to your villagers and getting any one of those hundreds of DIYs. It is so so frustrating beyond words to be stuck trying to fill out your crafting catalogue unless you have a hacker friend or fantastic luck on Nookazon.

- Having items locked behind a paywall is almost as infuriating as New Leaf’s region-locked items. It makes the game less accessible to certain players, and it is decently frustrating as the game is already £50.

- Im sorry but I know we're all thinking it: the multi-player in ACNH is [insert expletives]. It's terrible. Nintendo fumbled when they didn’t continue or expand on Kappn’s island, and that significantly impacted the replay value of the game. Part of the draw of specifically New Leaf even 10 years on is the online multiplayer being really good and feeling very natural within the world of Animal Crossing, and I just feel bummed that they didn’t capitalise on that popularity.

- This isn’t an actual criticism but Im still a little mad that Nintendo removed tree stump designs and the ability to sit on rocks. I don't know, it was nice.
 
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This is my experience as a day one player. I may have said this a long time ago so I'll say it here. When I first got this game back in 2020 the day that it came out (March 20th) I had no idea what to even expect. All I remember was I was greeted by Timmy and Tommy then picking a map layout for the island. I had no idea what I was even doing. The idea was that I wanted to make an island based around Kingdom Hearts but the original idea I had was that I wanted to name it "Kingdom" but that didn't work so I choose the name "Traverse" instead. The name is a reference to the world of "Traverse Town" from Kingdom Hearts 1. I always liked that area and the music so thats why I decided to go with it.

I didn't have many friends going into this island. It was just me. I was just doing a lot of stuff because truth be told I was new to Animal Crossing and know nothing about what it had to offer. So I was just making helping out Tom Nook making this strange desert island (honestly I knew that he would fool me) but I had to pay a lot of bells. At the time I did not know how to earn them. I went around catching fish and bugs the first time after learning how to craft a Fishing Rod then a Net. I give them to Timmy to sell and I was able to make bells. After a while blathers came (thank god because the fishes and bugs were pilling up), Nook's shop was opened, Able Sisters was built, I had 10 villagers who were Antonio, Rocket, Patty, Skye, Charlise, Dobie, Anabelle, Eugene, Shari, and Nate. Then KK slider showed up and I was given the app to make my island the way I wanted so thats when I started to make it.

Of course I was struggling to make idea of what I want my island to be. I was just going around making cliffs and rivers because I had no idea what else to think of. My island was in a complete mess I had trees cluttered everywhere, homes were scattered, and so many areas were empty. I was losing my mind because I had no idea how to make a good island. I go and see other people's islands and I did take inspiration from them. Eventually I made my island better thanks to them but then around May 2020 is when I started to feel unhappy with my island. So I decided to start over and go back to square one. Eventually I made it how I picture in my head that stood out. As the months went by I began tearing down my island and remaking from the way I see it. By October 2020 it was fully completed. By now most of the villagers I originally had were gone. I payed no attention to them because I had been so busy terraforming. It made me feel bad. I had new villagers at the moment that replaced them, they are Raymond, Judy, Audie, and Cherry. They were really nice and some of the other 6 villagers I let random ones in and let them go.

Then I started feeling depressed. It was by then some of the friends I made while I was still in the process of making my island turned on me. The first one decided to ghost me when I asked them to help me clean out the flowers since they were cluttered on my island. I remember just feeling so left alone. Next day I talked to them to find out what happened they said they were too busy and promise to show up the next day. I waited on that next day and they never showed up. I remember feeling sad and angry about it. I confronted them and the last thing they said to me was "whatever dude, you're blowing this out of portion and you are always dragging me down" that was the straw that brock the camels back so I decided to remove and block that person. Things didn't get much better. Some the friends I made started to use me just to get stuff out of me. They would ignore me whenever I try to talk to them and they would always ask me if I have anything for them. It just made me look like a tool. I had to end up removing friends because I felt manipulated, ghosted, backstabbed, and just helpless that people would treat me like this.

However, this one friend I had since June 2020 decided to stick by my side and realize that she was the only one who cared for me. I felt happy that she wasn't like those other friends who did that to me. I felt happy. As time went on we were doing trades with each other, but then around November 2020 this happened. My friend was asking me for a Cute Red Bed. I said "Okay but you have to give me 99,000 bells" she was upset and started to yell me because I was treating her like "Profit" and "not a friend". I remember just feeling so bad about it that I had to apologize about it. She didn't message me back. It was then that I started to beat myself for something stupid I said. The next day we had a talk and we both agreed that trading between us was a big mistake that almost ended the friendship so we decided to put an end to it. We remained friends since then and we still had each others back.

To this day I have mixed feelings on Traverse. On one hand I should be proud that I made something to my liking but at the same time I had some not so good experiences with other people, but at the end the day its an island that holds a place in my heart of all the memories I had. I don't know why I always have conflicting thoughts whenever I play this game. On one hand it can be a relaxing experience when playing slowly, but most of the times whenever I feel the need to change something on my island that doesn't right. As soon as I go back to Terraforming it feels more like chore than actually trying to enjoy yourself. I would block off my villagers from even entering places, and then start with the terraforming the area. After like 5 hours I am done, but then I feel so tired and worn out that I just call it quits for the day.

I keep wondering "Why do I keep doing this to myself?" maybe its just because nothing much has happened since last year and my villagers are still talking like mindless robots. I am trying to find a reason to enjoy myself on my island, but now its really starting to become mentally draining for me, because I force myself to try and look for stuff to do. There is a moment when all you're doing is basically relaxing, but then its like you want to feel like you want to have fun and then feel great about it. I am so lost right now, maybe I should retire from this island, but then again I am stopping myself from even getting rid of the island I had for the longest time. I feel like I need help, but I am too much of a scared person to even ask for help, because I would feel so uncomfortable.

Eventually when I got a 2nd switch things started to change fore the better. This is something I've been wanting to do for the longest time, but for the longest time I've been my island Traverse for the longest time feel like its time for me to move on. The island of Traverse was an interesting experience. When I started off, I didn't know what I was doing. I had no idea what to do stuff and I over stressed myself trying to figure out how to design Traverse. I did visit other people's islands for Inspiration and truth be told I was impressed with their island, but it made me hate how Traverse looks. Over a year I've made it my goal to make Traverse the best island it can be, but it only just made me burned myself out.

Then there was times where I went to a trading site to get the stuff I want, but I knew at that point it spoiled me and caused me to have trust issues when making friends. Some people wanted to be friend, but then I come to find out that they only used me to get stuff out of me and then they stopped talking to me. Even today when I tried to talk to my friends they either have forgotten about me or they just don't seem to want to talk to me anymore. Its been a rough Journey, but for it was for the better to delete the island and start over with a brand new one.

After deleting Traverse for good I decided to start over fresh again. I got my other island Twilight to transfer all of my items and back to this island so that way I would start. This project was started back in May 22nd, 2021 after I deleted Traverse. I called this island "Destiny" named after Destiny Islands from Kingdom Hearts 1. I decided that I didn't want to make a replica of that island from that game, I just wanted to make an island that fits my personality and is something that I created from my imagination.

I must say I am so proud of myself for making this island. I didn't care what others think of it and I don't care if its the best or worst island of all time. I am just glad that I made it out to how I wanted it to be. It will be here to stay and there are no plans on getting rid of it anytime soon. Its so much better than Traverse and this was what I wanted it to look like from the very beginning. So either way that was my Journey on building Destiny. I am glad to have learned so much from last year and now I can finally chill and relax to enjoy my time.

So yeah thats how its been for me with this game. I do not hate the game, I actually do like it when it does click with me again, but other times it does that, but I've learned that when that happens its best to take a break from the game and come back with a refreshed mindset.
 
I won’t go as much in depth as OP (impressive job btw) but here’s my takeaway: The game is fine

As far as enjoyment goes, I’d even call it good, but my rating is brought down by what it could have been. Even with the final updates, I’m convinced something went very wrong during development—it feels like more was planned and ultimately didn’t make it in.

A lot of the complaints I have come down to poor implementation of mechanics and missing elements. While it’s not enough to ruin the game, it doesn’t meet my expectations for a New Leaf follow-up.

I sincerely hope that the success of New Horizons results in the next entry getting a better treatment—rather than it reassuring Nintendo that a minimum effort is all it takes from now on.

I will add: There are moments where the game really shines. I’ve recently started playing again, and the early-game optional dialogue is much more in depth when you take it slow. Among others, both of my starters have commented on these specific developments:

• store / museum / bridge being built
• looking for new neighbors
• neighbor having moved in
• hoping for more new neighbors

Even during the tutorial, you can get a bunch of specific dialogue from Tom Nook, Timmy, Tommy, and the starters. They’ll say something different both before and after you complete the next task (setting up houses, collecting fruit, collecting branches etc.) There’s a lot attention to detail and heart that would serve the rest of the game well
 
Overall I have enjoyed playing NH and it is a good game. I recently restarted my second island and have been having more fun with it . I think it’s because it’s a complete game rather then having to wait for updates. I think the updates would have been better received if there was more information on what we would eventually get instead of people constantly hoping and being disappointed. By the time Brewster arrived for most people any requirements to get him were already completed so no sense of accomplishment.

I think its great that we can place almost any furniture item outside . That was a huge upgrade from the PWP’s of new leaf. I love making different areas on my island. As great as that is I found it’s still a bit restricted. They added so many beautiful small and medium rugs that would have looked great outside and saved me some design slots . Being able to place vines and ladders on the cliffs made me so happy since it helped with small areas I couldn’t fit an incline. It would have been nice if we could place those really nice wall items on the cliffs as well. There are so many creative ways you could use wall items on cliffs.

Terraforming has been so much fun . It’s nice being about to change your layout to fit houses better. I like making designs with my cliffs and rivers. It can be a bit frustrating and time consuming trying to get the right spot . I loved that they allowed us to add 2 more bridges and incline. One thing I would have liked to see is being able to put a bridge on the second tier connect another cliff without the need for a river. There are a few places I would have loved a bridge but not a river.

I really enjoy crafting . I think it’s great that you can build the furniture yourself. It would have been better if they prioritized learning new recipes instead of wanting people to trade for them. They also should have switched the options for when villagers are crafting. If you don’t know the DIY they would give it to you . If you did know it they would let you decline it.

As much as I like the villagers they took out so many interactions with them. Being able to ask them if they needed anything, Being able to play games with the villagers. The treasure hunt game doesn’t come up very often. It would be nice to cook them a meal when they come over for a visit. Play a game other then the high low game. We have board games as an item it would be nice to play one with them. I found the villagers gave a lot to say but it’s really random. The also ask you questions that you usually don’t get to answer. It would just be nice to have more interaction with them.

It’s nice that you can have up to eight playable characters but for those that don’t want that many I would have loved to be able to use those extra house plots for villagers instead.

One thing as far as house upgrades would have been nice if you could choose which room you wanted. I have seen many people in the past only want certain rooms for side characters.

Some sound options would have been great. Sometimes to me all I can hear is the hourly music and being able to turn it down or off would be nice. Sometimes it’s hard for me to hear the bugs and the sound of fish biting.

I love that you can now place villagers homes and they can’t just place their house wherever they want. I lost so many flowers in past games because of villagers placing their house on them. It’s also great that you can look for villagers on mystery islands and bring them in by Amiibo cards. I don’t use either on my new island but had fun looking for them on my main island.

I don’t mind having to pay for HHP it’s been fun decorating vacation homes for villagers. It’s also great that you can redecorate villagers house on your own island when you complete HHP.

I am still surprised that we never got sea creature and fossil models. Those would have been great to decorate with. I am also surprised that Nook’s cranny never got another upgrade when they added all that new furniture.

Overall it’s a good game I just think some things could have been done differently .they worked hard on it and I appreciate what we were given I just think they dropped it too soon in favor of other things.
 
TLDR: ACNH is simultaneously better than the previous installments for everything new that it offers and worse because of everything it lacks from the former games.

DISCLAIMER: I have not purchased or played the DLC. Nothing against it. I had a lot going on in the last year, and I'm just now getting around to it. So I can't totally comment on it, aside from the literal facts about what it is and what I've read/seen online.

Background about me: I'm 30, and I've been playing Animal Crossing since the Gamecube game came out in 2002. I started a bit late, and I remember that because my game was fully in Winter when I made my first town. I was obsessed with the game and played it constantly for a solid year, and then a lot less after that. The title screen music is extremely special to me because my dad and I both loved it. I remember playing until I was exhausted and falling asleep on the living room floor with that music on a loop. My dad came home from a late-night party and found me and thought it was adorable. The series means a lot to both of us, even if my dad has never actually played it. I, of course, played Wild World, City Folk, and New Leaf, with City Folk being the only one I didn't dump half my day-to-day life into primarily because I was busy with other games, and CF is almost a carbon-copy of WW with a few extras.

Actual Review: I got New Horizons on the 19th, one day early due to the aforementioned world event. I think everyone did though. That was so exciting. I started playing it immediately, reset my town a few times to get pears, and stayed up until about 6 AM the following day. At the time, staying up until maybe 2 AM was a stretch, so this was a big deal. However, staying up well into the morning (like 9 or even 11 AM) became the norm given that I was also unemployed at that time due to, again, the current events. It was amazing, honestly. A brand new, beautiful-looking Animal Crossing game and unlimited time to play? I didn't have a care in the world. Except a bit of worrying about how I wanted to set up my town and which villagers I wanted to get. Still totally good vibes.

Fast forward to today, and I don't exactly have the same blissful outlook of the game. While I think NH is overall extremely fun, and it introduced AMAZING things like terraforming, putting furniture just about anywhere, and a lot of great ways to design your house... it falls short because of the sheer amount of things it lacks from the former games. I'll go into more detail below.

Terraforming is the single best thing they've ever done, but it's a double-edged sword. There is really some charm to the first games simply because everyone's town was randomly generated and couldn't be altered. You really connected with the random cliffs, bridges, leaf piles (aka bushes back then), and where your buildings ended up. There's also the charm of the basic forest town. Sure, you can do all of that in NH, but would you really? And at the end of the day, the charm does eventually dissipate, especially if you're not a little kid, and being able to go crazy with customization is the natural and (probably) best next move when it comes to really embracing your town, especially after the hacking/modding craze in NL that made some gorgeous towns. I can't imagine Nintendo wasn't aware of all of that and didn't take at least some inspiration from it. So yeah, as a customization-junkie, I was in love with this feature. I made the mistake of bum-rushing to get to that point, and in hindsight, I wish I had paced myself a little more.

Some other features that were really nice include villagers never moving out whatsoever without your consent and having more ways to find your dream villagers. Although, it was incredibly clunky to island hop. Good idea, not the best execution. I also really appreciated the tool ring too. The game itself was stunning. I remember the first time I saw inside of the Museum, my jaw literally dropped. I showed a video of someone showcasing the entire Museum exhibits to my dad, and he was also shocked at how much the game had grown and improved. The snowy trees, sunrises, sunsets, and auroras, and many other scenes in the game were really beautiful. And I thought the player characters looked great too. I loved the new hairstyles, and I was able to make a character I really, really felt connected to. There were a ton of amazing new items added to the game. I especially loved all of the wall decor.

Now... I'm sure I'm forgetting a few other details, but really, that's where the good stuff ends. Those are all REALLY good things, and they're major steps forward since New Leaf, but... there are so, so, so many things missing in the game. The obvious is the sheer amount of furniture sets/series/items that are still not in the game to this day. We got a lot of awesome gyroids, and I love them a lot (especially being able to color them!), but I still miss the old gyroids. I wish we had gotten polished versions of those plus the new ones. There is also so many absolutely incredible items in Pocket Camp that seriously NEED to be in NH (or whatever the current game is). It feels really bad to have a constant flow (literally) of new, really, REALLY COOL items in a mobile game while the main console game doesn't even have all the stuff that's existed since the Gamecube days. Also, no perfect fruit. No exotic fruit. Come on.

The lack of certain facilities, while it "makes sense" on the island, really sucks. I miss Pelly, Pete, and Phyllis and having a real, genuine post office. I miss the police station. I liked when Brewster's cafe was a standalone building, although I know there are likely a lot of people who wouldn't agree there. And I know it would've been difficult to patch those in because having another building to find a place for would really screw up people's layouts. I get it. I also miss a lot of the other retired NPC's like Joan, Nat, and Chip. The new additions were fun, but having the old ones make a random visit would've been so great. I really hoped Nat might show up randomly in the insect section of the Museum, especially with that paper with his face on it being there. And the fact that we never upgrade Nook's Cranny is so absurd to me. I remember the whole community just being like, "maybe... after we spend this many bells?" Then it was, "maybe... it'll come in this update?" Nope. We don't do that anymore.

The villagers are husks. They are absolutely lifeless husks. It was bad in NL too, but it's worse in NH. I went from having favorite villagers to not having any at all because they're all just the same. There's so little depth to the personalities that it wouldn't feel that different having ten lazy villagers versus a full variety. At this point, the only reason to pick specific villagers is to get the reactions, and after that, just pick ten villagers that match your aesthetic or just feel right to you. I never talked to my villagers even when I was deep into enjoying the game. There was no point. I didn't even care to get their photos. I had zero attachment to any of them, and I didn't care if I went weeks without having talked to some. Even though I did want my "dream villagers," I didn't do anything with them once they were on my island. They were just living decorations.

There are other things that fall kind of in the middle, like crafting. I actually like crafting, but I think there were a few flaws. I personally feel like some DIY's were really, really hard to get. Especially the event ones. My husband literally spent two days exclusively shooting down balloons to get a holiday DIY. I'm pretty sure the game wants you to just play, and you'll eventually get it after a while, but that just felt excessive. If Nook's Cranny had gotten upgrades, it would've been nice for them to have an expanded DIY selection that changes everyday (and will include event ones). There's also the obvious inability to craft multiples of something that never got fixed (insane). I also am of the belief that golden tools should've been harder to make but never broke. Make it a big feat not only to get the DIY but to get the materials to make the tool, and make it super rewarding.

I could probably go on and on, and I honestly don't have a set idea on what would make the perfect AC game. I would say that I overall view NH in a positive light, but I also get incredibly frustrated with it because of how much more it could've offered.

P.S. I'm planning to start a totally fresh town on a modded Switch that I'm getting from my neighbor for dirt-cheap, so that's going to be a fun experience. We'll see how it goes!
 
Not sure how to start this so I'll just drive in.
The DLC was way better organized than the main game day 1. I'm glad it flowed well since it did cost money but at the same time I felt like it shows how unfinished it seemed in 2020.
The DLC is really good. It was nice getting not just some new diys, but items too. Some sets feel unfinished still, but it's better.

ACNH graphics are great and a huge plus to those who are really into immersion. Also the game does have really nice details with weather and even sound effects.

ACNH has Megan.

You can villager hunt in ACNH, so you do have some choice in RNG.

I didn't like how you didn't have visiting past villagers or just random visiting villagers. Like I know you have the campsite where they are imprisoned in the tent... But why not wandering ones now and then? I don't even care if you can't invite them. Nl had past villagers that would visit main street and I loved that (though I explored nl after NH, it boggles my mind even more on why something similar wasn't in ACNH... Especially when Brewster's cage was added.

I didn't like how ACNH had these updates drip fed on things that past games had access to on day 1. If swimming was available right away, I think more people would have taken thier time at the beginning of the game. The credits rolled so fast... Replaying the game now and it has been weeks and I still haven't gotten 3 stars yet. There's plenty to choose to do.

The the DLC covered the ability to make over your villager homes... It honestly felt like that should have been in the main game to begin with. Like after reaching a 5 star island or having so many lilly of the valleys. I'm glad it's there don't get me wrong... But it feels misplaced like many things in how things unlock in ACNH.

I didn't like how much it felt like they changed the lazy villagers (even the cranky ones tbh but they don't bother me as much). The lazys talk waaay to much about bugs in a non flattering way. Like it's plain gross. Speaking of gross... Though the jocks say really gross things in ACNH.. but I feel like thier playfulness is less compared to nl in their dialog and that bothers me more. I mean it isn't surprising that jocks would talk about smelly clothing and sweating.
It does bother me that some villager dialog still feels like it stops short. I mean, at least now we can them visit us I guess. Hide and seek of the villagers would have been nice to see or other things similar. Or have them follow you around for a time period.
I guess this is kinda nitpicking, but these kind of little things matter to me.

I do like the nook mile quests, but I do wish they had some special unique large items that could have been pwp.

It's great that you can decorate outside wherever which is great. It can help the world feel more lively. I also love the crafting and one of the main reasons why I considered playing the game to begin with.

I do wish there was a set of unbreakable tools you could have earned. It could have been a ridiculous goal. Just something.

I do wish that you could customize the outside of the public buildings into different styles.. I'm not talking about picking a color of the roof or whatever even though we didn't even get that. But like a hut version of resident services could have been cool.. or changing the type of paving in the plaza. It would have been nice to pick out what could be displayed in the plaza... Whether we wanted the green bench or a bonfire. ACNH lacked upgrading of buildings and I think it would have been more okay if they allowed building style choices.
Terraforming was great except I didn't like the block by block style. Why were there no upgrade to achieve to do 4x4 or better yet, have a bird's eye view to plan your stuff and it kick in the next day or something?

I don't like the feeling of a lack of buildings in acnh. Brewster really should have had his own shop impo. It would have helped that empty feeling. Celeste could have opened an observatory where Brewster is.

In game paving was really nice, and it's cool flowers don't die, but I wish flowers were limited to the dirt paving or to a flower bed we could craft.

I also liked the secret beach. That was a nice feature. Nintendo could have easily put red by the docks with kappn randomly appearing, but they didn't and that was really nice. It felt like an island that actually had portS. The airport was also separate.

It would have been nice to have bananas. Yes that's nitpicking, but it does bother me that it is not in the game. To me, if feels as odd as not being able to swim in the island game, which was a thing for a while.

I do feel like after everything ACNH is a great game even if it looks like I just criticized it alot and I honestly don't feel a need to go back and play ACNL as an instead now that they added more to ACNH. There are parts that still feel off, but the game does feel "complete". It could have used a year or two of additional updates to help flesh out villagers activities and dialog.

Infact I'm having a lot of fun setting up villager houses on my island.
 
My feelings on NH are mixed, but mostly positive. The sheer amount of inclusivity and customization this game has compared to the others makes it one of my top 3 Animal Crossing games. And while its missing a lot compared to past games, what it does have is really good, imo. Plus it just looks so pretty.

On the critical side: its clear to me that this game had some good ideas that needed to be fleshed out a little more. Terraforming, for example could have been made much more user friendly, instead of the chore it currently is. And there are some things in this game that are contradictory. For instance, the rainbow feather DIY in 2.0 makes no sense. With Cyrus around it becomes obsolete. What should have been DIY'd was the Festivale Set as a whole. Also Leif's weed pulling service is broken. Multi-crafting items should have been included. And I will always complain about gold tools breaking, because they shouldn't do that especially when gold tools need a rare item like gold nuggets to make.

NH should've had a lot more QoL features than it did, and its likely it doesn't because they seemingly wanted to pad the amount of time users spent playing the game. I can also go into the lack of island buildings and facilities, almost nothing to do on the island outside of decorating, multiplayer being bland and almost useless other than for trading or shopping, and the villagers being boring and soulless, but for me that's just beating a dead horse. Additionally, I'm totally saddened that Nintendo dropped major support for this game after not even up to two years, while supporting other and many times older games from other series for 3+ years in some cases.

New Horizons seems to me like a game made by people who weren't used to making Animal Crossing games. It has many tiny mistakes and oversights that makes the experience not as seamless as the past games. This game honestly feels like the veteran AC game designers took a more hands off approach and let newer people design this entry in the series. And that's ok. It is what it is.

Overall, with the amount of time I spent playing this game, I can't complain too much. Plus I got a second island even after being well aware of the issues, so that says something. I fully admit that I made a lot of good memories playing this game, and had a lot of fun. NH also got me through a very difficult period in my life, much like New Leaf did. In spite of its flaws, at its core, I think New Horizons is a good game. It gets some things wrong, but it gets a lot right too.
 
I really love and enjoy New Horizons, and I hate to say anything negative about it, but I feel like New Leaf had more content. If it weren't for TBT, I don't think I'd occasionally be playing NH at all.

I'd be fine with NH being primarily decoration-focused if they had like... at least twice the amount of furniture. After completing the HHP DLC + redecorating all my villager houses, towards the end I felt as if there just wasn't enough different furniture. Especially plants! I love decorating with plants but it gets boring using monstera or schefflera every other house.
Another thing that's annoying is there's some really interesting "furniture" that NPCs have that we can't buy for whatever reason, like the rainbow wind chime thing hanging outside Harv's Studio or the radio in the Nook's Cranny. Items like those. They're already assets in the game, why not make them available to us?

As much as I love the amount of clothing and all their different variations, I almost would have rathered they cut the amount of clothing in half and instead worked on bringing back a lot of the classic furniture sets, like the Sweet Series, Polka-Dot Series, Stripe Series, etc. It's just baffling to me that they didn't include all the old furniture from the get-go. And they didn't even give us the complete Sloppy Series!

Oh, and the missing fruit! Bananas, mangoes, persimmon, lemon, perfect fruit.. The different ores. The miniature fossil statues. An actual venue for KK Slider (an extension of the Roost inside the museum would have been a PERFECT opportunity). Speaking of the museum, I miss having the empty rooms on the second floor. Even just one empty room would have been great; it's kinda awkward that the "second floor" of the NH museum only has The Roost (edit: and the Art Exhibit, oops, but I still would prefer another room for symmetry). Imagine how cool it would be to have a big empty room in the museum to decorate however you wanted; then visitors would have more of a reason to go inside your museum.

Speaking of visitors, another thing they really dropped the ball on is multiplayer. There's nothing to do other than trade. Why couldn't they just remaster Tortimer's Island + the mini-games? Kapp'n would have more use this way, too.

I think Harv's Island could have been cooler. At first I thought we would be able to decorate the area after we got all the RV's, but no. They could at least have old villagers show up there occasionally. I'm most disappointed with Reese; all she does is stand there, admiring Cyrus. Why doesn't she sell items? Something similar to what she did in New Leaf?

I'm ranting now; I intended to make a short post but it really is crazy how quickly Nintendo completely dropped New Horizons. Literally their best selling Animal Crossing game and it gets less attention than New Leaf did.

I do still love New Horizons, and I could never see myself going back to New Leaf. The graphics in NH are beautiful and I love being able to decorate my island the way I like. It's a great game, I just often think about how amazing the game could be if they brought in more of the stuff from New Leaf. Nintendo could totally pull a Sims if they wanted to and sell DLC packs; even if it's just packs of furniture, man... I'd buy them all.
 
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While I do think the game can be better, ACNH still ticks off a lot of my boxes when it comes to factors that make me want to return to the game or continue playing. This may vary for a lot of people, but for me, this version of animal crossing is more of a designing game, and that's what I treat it as. For example, sure, ACNL was a great game, great dialogue, nostalgic value 1000%... but after years of playing I only ever returned to the game to (and I'm not even kidding) to play Puzzle League. I played Puzzle League obsessively back then. Now the graphics are not good enough for me to return even for that. If they were going to give us the power of customisation in ACNH, I think the developers could have taken it even further (eg. wayyyy more furniture, more than what 2.0 gave us, and maybe other QoL things) but overall I'm fine with how they left it. I've been playing my "completed" version of my island for well over a year now, just chilling and taking photos. Sometimes I just need to do a mindless activity to wind down, like digging up bait for hours and fishing while admiring the hard work I did on my island. I also make my own fun by keeping up with my island journal or making little stories for myself. Happy Home Paradise is also my new "Puzzle League". I often spend most of my time on there and then transfer ideas to my main island.

While ACNH isn't a perfect game, I'm still playing it to this day and I don't think I'll stop any time soon. My main criticism is that ACNH rarely ever inspires me to do multiplayer with friends (also because most of my friends have burned out with the game, maybe because some of the reasons stated above... but I'm still going strong), whereas my ACNL experience was largely thanks to community interaction.
 
It leaves a lot to be desired, and in some places, feels incomplete next to previous games.

However, Version 2.0 with the addition of Happy Home Paradise really helps the game shine. Placing the ATMs and Storage Sheds outside are really great additions. Getting to refurnish the inside of the villagers' homes on our island is the greatest thing next to terraforming, and having Parasise Island is like having a whole other game within our game. I just feel they both came way too late in the game's life span. Would have been nice to get this content in 2020, if not no later than March 20, 2021 (1st anniversary).

I do wish Nintendo would still acknowledge this game exists. The 3rd anniversary is coming up, and like with the New Year's arches, there's going to be no recognition.

I'm ready for the next game now.

ETA: Pocket Camp is older than New Horizons and still sees a lot of love. I do wish we could get a mainline AC game with as much love and support from the developers as that game gets. Arguably that game makes money through microtransactions, but without seeing the statistics, I do not believe Pocket Camp makes more money than New Horizons. For one, a good chunk of the sales that game makes is shared with Google and Apple. For another, downloading Pocket Camp requires purchase of an iPhone or Android, neither of which offer Nintendo money. New Horizons on the other hand required users to buy the game for $60, and required them to buy a Nintendo system for about $300. Meaning every new Horizons player theoretically paid Nintendo about $360. While some people playing Pocket Camp have paid Nintendo $0.
 
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I love the creative part of the game. It was always frustrating how little you could do to make your town look unique in previous games. We got a little more in New Leaf, but you still had very little control. Now that I've been spoiled by NH I kind of can't believe we weren't able to put furniture outside before.

I really miss the old spirit of the dialogue, though. What the game gained in creative ability it lost in personality. I'm never motivated to talk to my villagers now because the dialogue is so repetitive, not interactive, and pretty dull overall. I feel like the older games had so much more spunk and life in terms of the dialogue, soundtrack, and general weird little tidbits.
 
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not really a bad game but it's definitely my least favorite out of all of them. I've gotten way more enjoyment out of every other game in the series, including Wild World which I always used to say was my least favorite AC game.
 
While the game is missing a lot of features that made the previous games fun, quirky, lived-in, and replayable, it's an entertaining game that I'm still playing after three years.

I can't deny the role of nostalgia when comparing New Horizons to past games, especially (for me) New Leaf and Wild World. New Leaf felt like it had so much more to do with Main Street, all of the NPCs, part-time jobs, the role as mayor, Tortimer's Island, etc. In some respects, this is true, but I could argue (for myself) that the decorating/terraforming element has given me far more to actually "do" in the game than checking the shops on Main Street every morning. New Leaf holds a special place many of our hearts because it truly "revolutionized" Animal Crossing (seriously, it's light years beyond City Folk), and it's tough to separate that out when trying to objectively compare it with New Horizons.

Even Wild World, an undeniably bare-bones game, holds a distinct charm that New Horizons severely lacks. Part of it is because the game was weirder back then. The dialogue was stranger, funnier, and ruder; there were quirkier elements, like UFOs, messages in bottles, mysterious bulletin board posters; Boondocks; the NPCs had complex backstories and trades that the player could participate in... Even though there was very little to do, the world felt real, like it extended beyond the player. This strange magic is missing in New Horizons. But I must also attribute part of that to the fact that I loved Wild World when I was a child, and everything was more mysterious and magical then.

Perhaps my main qualm with New Horizons is that everything feels very "to the point". There isn't much space taken up by the game for worldbuilding just for the sake of it. Dialogue is tedious and repetitive, but mainly focuses on accomplishing what the player wants to do, and can gain a concrete benefit from (no more tales of woe from Nook or Sable). Mystery Islands are for collecting resources, not really exploring. Events are mostly based around collecting DIYs. The Bulletin Board posts utilitarian announcements only. When doing deliveries for villagers, the "quest" ends as soon as you deliver the item to the recipient and get the reward, even though it makes more sense for the giver to give you the reward once you report back to them. It's little things like that. Even though the Nook Phone and Nook Mile Achievements may inspire longevity in some players' experiences, for me they make the village feel less like a world and more like a game that knows it's a game. Everything looks gorgeous, but to me, the charm is gone.

I can't be too much of a sour puss, however, because I'm still playing after all this time. I owe that mainly to The Bell Tree (and the journaling event -- go staff!) for making me think about the game enough to actually play it. I also think it's serving its function as an escape from many of our stressful and difficult lives. Even if it doesn't have UFOs and Pelly-Phyllis-Pete love triangles (or any of those characters... sob...) it has cute villagers with zoomies and pretty pixel sunsets and the ability to bake virtual pies. I'll take that any day.
 
While the game is missing a lot of features that made the previous games fun, quirky, lived-in, and replayable, it's an entertaining game that I'm still playing after three years.

I can't deny the role of nostalgia when comparing New Horizons to past games, especially (for me) New Leaf and Wild World. New Leaf felt like it had so much more to do with Main Street, all of the NPCs, part-time jobs, the role as mayor, Tortimer's Island, etc. In some respects, this is true, but I could argue (for myself) that the decorating/terraforming element has given me far more to actually "do" in the game than checking the shops on Main Street every morning. New Leaf holds a special place many of our hearts because it truly "revolutionized" Animal Crossing (seriously, it's light years beyond City Folk), and it's tough to separate that out when trying to objectively compare it with New Horizons.

Even Wild World, an undeniably bare-bones game, holds a distinct charm that New Horizons severely lacks. Part of it is because the game was weirder back then. The dialogue was stranger, funnier, and ruder; there were quirkier elements, like UFOs, messages in bottles, mysterious bulletin board posters; Boondocks; the NPCs had complex backstories and trades that the player could participate in... Even though there was very little to do, the world felt real, like it extended beyond the player. This strange magic is missing in New Horizons. But I must also attribute part of that to the fact that I loved Wild World when I was a child, and everything was more mysterious and magical then.

Perhaps my main qualm with New Horizons is that everything feels very "to the point". There isn't much space taken up by the game for worldbuilding just for the sake of it. Dialogue is tedious and repetitive, but mainly focuses on accomplishing what the player wants to do, and can gain a concrete benefit from (no more tales of woe from Nook or Sable). Mystery Islands are for collecting resources, not really exploring. Events are mostly based around collecting DIYs. The Bulletin Board posts utilitarian announcements only. When doing deliveries for villagers, the "quest" ends as soon as you deliver the item to the recipient and get the reward, even though it makes more sense for the giver to give you the reward once you report back to them. It's little things like that. Even though the Nook Phone and Nook Mile Achievements may inspire longevity in some players' experiences, for me they make the village feel less like a world and more like a game that knows it's a game. Everything looks gorgeous, but to me, the charm is gone.

I can't be too much of a sour puss, however, because I'm still playing after all this time. I owe that mainly to The Bell Tree (and the journaling event -- go staff!) for making me think about the game enough to actually play it. I also think it's serving its function as an escape from many of our stressful and difficult lives. Even if it doesn't have UFOs and Pelly-Phyllis-Pete love triangles (or any of those characters... sob...) it has cute villagers with zoomies and pretty pixel sunsets and the ability to bake virtual pies. I'll take that any day.
You know, I've been sitting on this thread for a bit because I was still conflicted on how I felt about this game but you've summed it up perfectly: the game is better graphics wise and outside decoration wise, but sacrificed what made Animal Crossing Animal Crossing.

Like could I go back and play Wild World or New Leaf? Of course! But would I want to? ...eh.

It comes down to whether you want to design/decorate your town or talk/bond with villagers cause unfortunately we can't really do both in any game. You either get lackluster designing and interesting dialogue or great designing and lackluster dialogue.
 
I need to think about my actual reply to this, so in the mean time I'm gonna reply to some people!
-The lack of shop upgrades for Nooks Cranny is sincerely disappointing. Especially when you consider how in past games we were blessed with the most fantastic upgrades (Im looking at you T and T Emporium), it just becomes all the more upsetting. For most people the only upgrade the Nooklings would get came very early in the game so it just felt like a letdown all around. Even now 3 years on Im stumped as to why they cut the upgrades so short. I think the inclusion of upgrades like there were in prior games would have given more reason to play on a regular daily basis and therefore would’ve increased the longevity of the game.
tbh I think it comes down to 3 things:
  • the shop upgrades in pre-NH games are largely based around giving you more of the non-furniture items like saplings, flowers, wallpaper and flooring, as there were only very limited amounts of items. Due to moving further in a design-based direction, you've now got the cabinet so you've got unlimited amount of these items, so there's less need for an actual upgrade
  • the upgrade from tent to Classic Nook's Cranny to Bigger Nook's Cranny largely exists to make more expensive furniture available to you, by the time you've got bigger Nook's Cranny you've got stuff that costs over 100,000 Bells available to you. If there was a third, fourth or even fifth upgrade you would be paying money you'd need to have won big-time on turnip sales to buy
  • crafting now exists, which takes away some of the need to buy furniture (as you can make whatever you want 24/7 if you've got the materials)
It comes down to whether you want to design/decorate your town or talk/bond with villagers cause unfortunately we can't really do both in any game. You either get lackluster designing and interesting dialogue or great designing and lackluster dialogue.
Could be worse, could be lackluster designing AND lackluster dialogue :cry:
 
You know, I've been sitting on this thread for a bit because I was still conflicted on how I felt about this game but you've summed it up perfectly: the game is better graphics wise and outside decoration wise, but sacrificed what made Animal Crossing Animal Crossing.

Like could I go back and play Wild World or New Leaf? Of course! But would I want to? ...eh.

It comes down to whether you want to design/decorate your town or talk/bond with villagers cause unfortunately we can't really do both in any game. You either get lackluster designing and interesting dialogue or great designing and lackluster dialogue.
This is why I play both NH and PG (Gamecube). I get to do the slow-paced gameplay just talking to villagers in my OG town, and I get to curb my creative itch in NH.
 
I like it well enough. The graphics are a step up from the previous games, but the content is lacking. They removed too much material from previous games for my taste. But I've been playing since March 2020 & have gotten hundreds of hours of enjoyment from NH (and continue to do so), so I can't say it hasn't been a good enough game.

I think the next installment has plenty of improving to do.
 
When I think of Animal Crossing I think of the following categories: creating a community (in your town), socializing with villagers, decorating, collecting, and socializing with friends/real people. Here's where the game "scores" for me on each of those...

Creating a Community
I absolutely love NH for this aspect. It feels so much easier to get the exact villagers you want in the game, and for a variety of reasons - amiibo (real or fake lol), campers are way more frequent, villager hunting (as dreaded of an option as that may be). And not only getting the villagers you want, but having full control of how long they live on your island and where on your island they live takes out so much of the stress there. I really like how easy it is to make little neighborhoods or pair villagers up together.

My only wish here would be some kind of aspect where villagers may move out on their own. Like if you ignore them for extended period of time, maybe choose "mean" dialogue when speaking with them, etc. I've never cared to interact with all of my villagers every day, but it would be nice to have some kind of reason to do so, if only to keep up appearances lol

Socializing with Villagers
I get what people say about the repetitive dialogue, but for the same thing I mentioned above (not liking interacting with villagers all the time) I don't mind their dialogue because I'm not constantly seeing the same things. I think I more often see repetition when it comes to returning lost items or giving them gifts. Other than that it never feels the boring.

A downside to this category would be that villagers pinging you is kind of pointless. Like it's hardly ever for anything interesting, however I will mention that I absolutely hate how often villagers ping in NL. I can't make one trip from Main Street to my house without someone wanting me to do something, and while it's fun to have a "quest" aspect to the villagers, it happens way too frequently in NL for me, so I appreciate a lot that it's not like that in NH.

I'll add that I love the interactions between villagers. Both in passing (just seeing how often they talk to each other) and when I see what they are speaking about. I've laughed out loud multiple times with how wild out of pocket they can be. My favorite was seeing Pancetti absolutely roast Leopold when he told her she wasn't making the most of island life.

Decorating
Absolutely perfect, 10/10. The islands feel so much more lived in. The lag isn't the most fun, especially when it's in areas that don't look like they have much decorating, but unless you have items in every single space I don't think it's too bad. It would be cool to be able to adjust how some items place on tables/surfaces (like when some items hang over the edge) but again it's not the end of the world and I've never been devastated if something isn't placed perfectly.

I know it's paid DLC, but the HHP features are also amazing additions, and I love that they don't feel like "locked away features that should've been in base game." It was also great foresight that gifting villagers items after designing their home doesn't mess up their decor that you gave them - sucks to have to pay if you wanna add it in yourself, but again not terrible.

Collecting
I've never cared for bugs/fossils/etc but it is what it is. Would've been cool to see them switch up which ones you can catch, but w/e. I like the addition of DIYs to collect, just not the fact that it's not hard to end up with soooo many spares lol. And some of them (I'm looking at you, Celeste DIYs) seem excessively hard to get them all - most of which are just... okay. If the Celeste ones or some of the seasonal ones were cooler, it would be more fun to get them all, but it felt like a real chore. And sometimes it seems like there are "regular" ones that I've still not gotten for no good reason. Like, is there not a system to make it more likely to get ones you don't have? I still, multiple years on the same island, am missing some super simple ones like the cutting board. It is what it is, but the methods of obtaining DIYs feels a bit too much for no reason.

Socializing with Friends/Real People
Since NH came out I've found a lot more online friends/communities for AC. I joined this forum during NL, but I was in college and campus wifi never worked on my 3DS without me having to pull some strings and use a hotspot to get around security stuff. I think it's still fun to play with friends and like that it's not necessary to continue to enjoy the game. While NL had Tortimer's Island, I don't feel like there is any other reason to have people over. It feels like a waste of a feature when I never really had people over. I like that stuff like the Bug Contest is still fun by yourself or with friends.

Overall I absolutely love NH. I think it's the best game yet purely because of how much freedom you have with decorating and creating the town/island of your dreams. I can't wait to see what they do next. I'll write another post reviewing new features in NH but this is where I stand with how the game stacks up against the others.
 
I was just thinking about this not too long ago. Probably because the date is coming up. If it hasn't already passed. I was excited to start the game. The tutorial was long and I didn't like how it dragged on. The other games I don't remember such a long by the books tutorial.

The game has great graphics and improved QoL features, but also some questionable QoL features that were removed or added that made things less efficient. I disliked the dripfed content that we had to wait for. When we finally got it, I was out of the 'honey moon' phase for NH so it just didn't have the same feel if I had it all at my fingertips right away.

I wanted to like the game as badly as everyone else was, but they focused so hardcore on designing and put everything else on the backburner. There's legit no multiplayer.

To me New Horizon is this. Shiny and new, but soulless compared to previous entries. It's good as a designing sim game, but just doesn't feel like an Animal Crossing game. I can mold the island to my liking, within extent, but after that there's not much else to do.
 
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