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Animal croosing

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New member
Apr 24, 2020
Switch-exclusive game, I was pretty distracted. I received my review copy of the game at the end of February, pretty much the moment when my hometown of Seattle went on high alarm over coronavirus fears. As each day passed, citizens were encouraged to become more vigilant: to work from home, avoid large gatherings, engage in "social distancing," adjust travel plans, and otherwise reduce contact with the outside world.

As such, my impressions of Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be forever colored by how it fit neatly into a quarantined life—and I imagine I won't be alone in that impression.

For nearly every real-life scenario that I've become anxious about, I've gotten a comforting virtual version on my new Nintendo-designed island. Yes, I can go to friends' houses (friends who happen to be cute, anthropomorphic animals). Yes, I can go shopping. I can help strangers with everyday tasks. I can wander freely and finish a series of zen-like errands and chores. And I can hop on a plane and fly to other islands without facing scrutiny from community leaders (which, in this game, means a talking, sweater-wearing raccoon named Tom Nook).

I say all this to admit my bias. In spite of the "New Horizons" subtitle, this game leans heavily on existing mechanics, systems, characters, and even Easter eggs. Which isn't a bad thing—especially for anyone who somehow missed the game's last monstrous entry on the 3DS in 2012. As a longtime Animal Crossing fan, I have loved slipping into something comfortable, and that's been doubly delightful with an incredible HD-resolution overhaul. But even in my cozy, quarantined apartment, where the game's repetition and old-school sensibilities shined brightly, I found myself puzzled and annoyed by just enough content to furrow my brow.

Only slightly, however. I have really enjoyed playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and it's the kind of game that will reinforce whatever bias you bring into it. If you're a lifelong AC fan, or if the idea of a pre-Internet, "building a community" sandbox video game sounds deliriously quaint, this will be in your year-end top-ten list. If older games hooked you at the outset and then lost your interest, this version's updates have you in mind the most. And if older games in the series have left you cold, or if you don't much care for sandbox-y, building-and-gardening games, New Horizons has left too much the exact same to change your mind.
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