After months of anticipation, the moment of truth is almost here. Animal Crossing: New Horizons releases on Friday, March 20, for Nintendo Switch. There's a dedicated fanbase already excited for the upcoming entry along with hundred of new eyes eager to check the game out. But will New Horizons match up to everyone's expectations?
We've rounded up several reviews in both text and video format to help you form that opinion for yourself. Here's what other reviewers are saying about Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Honestly, 18 days is far too little time to generate a comprehensive assessment of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There is still much I don't know about this game, including how in-game purchases will ultimately be incorporated. But based on what I have been able to experience, it's what I've wanted Animal Crossing to be for many years. While it fumbles its camping-inspired opening, New Horizons makes a nice recovery with a strong focus on player accomplishment, creating a potent sense of achievement in this idyllic piece of escapism.
New Horizons is packed with delight. It's fun, with rare cross-generation appeal. The deserted island theme had some worried the latest entry would stray from the traditional model, but those fears should quickly be alleviated. It does, however, allow for new experiences and prevent the series from feeling stale almost 20 years after its debut.
It may seem a bit frivolous, but all of the time I spent in the game was time spent avoiding political fights on Twitter, news about how we're ill-equipped to fight the coronavirus, and fretting about the fate of our civilization. Every moment spent in New Horizons is a moment I can breathe a bit easier, which feels like a miracle today.
New Horizons has a lot to see and do, and much of the joy comes from discovering it on your own. I still get a kick out of the real-time elements, such as how a construction project that takes a day to complete takes a real day's time to finish, or how the various merchants keep actual store hours. That little hook keeps me excited to check back in later when I end each session. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has something new to experience every day, and, best of all, it's built on a foundation of joy and earnestness that's all too rare. If the tradeoff is that I have to craft a few fishing poles, I guess it's worth it in the end.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a respite from the current state of the world. I find my general anxiety slowly subside as I run through my town, water my plants, and build furniture for the sassy chicken gentleman living down by the beach. It's exactly what I need right now.
There are moments when I look up from a long session and realize that I've been ignoring everything around me. Then I take a look around at what actually is going on around me, and realize that maybe I'd better stay in my island paradise for a little while longer.
Animal Crossing has always had a very distinct charm that other games can mimic well but never quite surpass; that charm has been retained, even enhanced, in New Horizons. All of the elements of the series that have appealed to fans in the past are here but with greater depth and more refinement—it's a genuine pole-vault forward that will appeal to veteran residents and newcomers alike.
Of course, it's impossible to fully judge an Animal Crossing in such a short time. I've spent two weeks with the game, playing multiple times a day, and it feels like I've only scratched the surface. I wasn't even able to test the online features in my prerelease copy of the game. Even still, the refinements that New Horizons makes to the formula are clear. It's not a game that drastically changes how Animal Crossing works. If you found past entries boring or directionless, it's unlikely the latest will change your mind. But if you already enjoy this kind of experience, if the idea of playing 20 minutes daily seems like an escape rather than a chore, this is the most refined iteration of that concept to date. And it's one that promises to continue to change and group with regular events and updates.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the best game I've played this year, and immediately cements itself as one of the generation's defining experiences. Fans will be playing it for years, watching as the seasons roll by and unveil the true potential of what has been created here.
Alongside the implementation of future updates and content created by players themselves, it's only going to evolve into something greater, which is a triumphant achievement given the foundations are already that of a masterpiece. If you own a Switch, what are you waiting for?
What about you?
After seeing what everyone's saying about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, are you going to pick the game up when it releases this Friday? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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