Almost a month ago, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released. The timing of its release couldn’t have been more perfect. People were forced to stay indoors due to COVID-19 and with all the panic and restlessness that’s happening, there was this cute little game that’s all about chilling out and feeling good.
I’ve been playing the game every chance I got since it was released, but I’m pretty sad right now because that feeling is gone. I’ve clocked 70+ hours at the time of this post and I’m really only doing the bare minimum at this point: Hit rocks, check the latest offers from Nook Miles ATM, talk to everyone at least once, dig out fossils.
In this post, I’ll list some of the issues I’ve had with the game which has prevented me from enjoying it any further.
For context, here are some information about me:
- I already “finished” the game and unlocked terraforming.
- My villager is somewhat rich already. I have 10m+ in Bells, House is fully upgraded, I have 50k Nook Miles after buying most of the expensive furniture (Godzilla, pool, teacup ride), I also have plenty of Star Fragments and Large Star Fragments.
- I did not time travel. My Nook’s Cranny hasn’t upgraded yet at the time of this post.
- I’m pretty new to Animal Crossing in the sense that the only other entry I played was New Leaf at 300+ hours. This means that some of my frustration will come from comparing New Horizons to New Leaf.
With that said, let’s get started:
1. Villager dialogue is very shallow
This is the biggest reason why I stopped having fun in this game. Villagers that have the same personality type have the exact same dialogue except for their catchphrases.
It wasn’t actually that obvious in the beginning, but it became apparent when I got to 10 villagers with some of them having the same personality type. Egbert (A lazy chicken villager) was my favorite villager when I was starting out because his dialogue had me cracking up at times. The illusion shattered when Papi (Also a lazy villager, but is a horse) joined my island and found out that they say the exact same things.
Aside from the duplicate dialogue, they’re also very shallow. The villagers don’t say much about who they are even with repeated talking, which made it pointless to talk to them eventually. I actually got more character development out of Sabel (the hedgehog sewing at the back of Able Sisters), but even that hits a wall eventually and she’s stuck with the same lines after you get her to open up.
I haven’t played New Leaf in a very long time, but I vaguely remember the dialogue being better than the one we have right now. This is such a bummer.
2. There’s a limit in the amount of bridge and incline that you can build
Eight. That is the magic number. You can only build up to 8 inclines and 8 bridges. It was actually a rude awakening for me because I had this grand plan of creating a residential area that involved building a lot of inclines and bridges. I stopped playing for a day because I was so pissed that I wasn’t going to be able to finish my plans for it when I was already about 80% of the way there.
I seriously don’t get why the developers imposed such an arbitrary limit for building infrastructure. You can terraform almost every part of your island and yet, we’re stuck with getting around with this limitation.
3. There’s not much to do after finishing your dailies
To give you some background, here’s the bare minimum of what you need to accomplish daily when you’re playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons in order to maximize your play time:
- Hit rocks. Especially the money rock.
- Dig out fossils to complete your fossil collection in the Museum.
- Talk to everyone at least once.
- Sweep all of the villager houses once in the morning, afternoon, and night time and find a villager who’s crafting to get a free DIY recipe.
- Talk to Sabel to get her to open up and give you custom design patterns.
- Talk to the Nook Miles ATM to get free Nook Miles from the streak.
- Finish the first five Nook Miles Plus tasks that you have.
After finishing these activities, you can proceed to catch bugs, go fishing, terraform your island, or whatever you fancy doing. This is good and all, but I remember New Leaf having mini games that you can do to change things up when you’re bored of the usual stuff. New Horizons does not have anything remotely similar to it and it sucks.
4. The online experience is horrible
A good chunk of my playing time has been spent online because of selling turnips to other players’ islands to make money. The reason why this happened is because going online involves a lot of saving and loading screens. A player enters an island, everyone has to pause and watch a cutscene meant to hide the loading. This happens EVERY TIME someone enters or leaves an island. And each loading time can take up to 3 minutes each.
If an island is populated (because their turnip prices are high), it usually takes 30 minutes just to enter their island, sell your turnips, and leave properly through the airport. There’s also the unfortunate possibility that someone inside the island doesn’t leave the island properly (by making their console go to Sleep mode) which makes everyone else roll back.
For a game that’s supposed to be about socializing with other players, they sure do a bad job of implementing online features. Since I’m a software developer, the whole ritual actually makes sense to me, but it’s really bad. The online experience has been butchered because of the developers’ need to prevent cheating (item duping mostly).
Honestly, I don’t understand why they’re so bent on preventing cheating. The game has no competitive aspect. Why not prevent time travel if they really want to prevent cheating?
There are a few other things that bother me, but they’re not as big of a deal, so I’m not going to talk about them.
I’m still going to make an effort to play Animal Crossing everyday since doing dailies take up only an hour of time. I’m hoping the situation gets better, but if not, I’ll probably quit eventually.