Animal Crossing New Horizons New VillagersSource: iMore

I am a huge Animal Crossing fan. When Animal Crossing: New Horizons was first announced, I was frothing at the mouth, waiting for March 2020's release. It was certainly one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch. It was so fresh, so new, and I poured so much time into it... only to slowly lose interest and put the game down for months. Did I hype it up too much or did it not meet my expectations? It might have been a little bit of both.

While New Horizons for Nintendo Switch offered players so many things the previous titles never had, like ultimate customization, an island to mold to your expectations, and a plethora of new villagers to love, it left a little to be desired. There wasn't much to do after you terraformed your island for the upteenth time. The yearly events spiced things up for a bit, but most of them were very similar, and when compared to previous entries in the franchise, there wasn't much for players to look forward to. Although we were promised frequent updates, we hadn't received anything worthwhile for some time.

Until now. Nintendo's Animal Crossing Direct happened on Oct. 15, and it didn't just meet my expectations — it exceeded them. After a lot of disappointments, I can't wait to dive back into Animal Crossing.

Guess who's back? An update worth waiting for

Animal Crossing New Horizons ReactionsSource: iMore

The Animal Crossing direct was teased in during the more general Nintendo Direct in September. While we expected Brewster and the Roost, so much more was unvealed, and it was almost overwhelming.

For one, it felt like the company listened to all the fan feedback. We're getting so much, for free might I add, that I had to do a few double takes. Sure, rumors said we were getting Brewster and Kapp'n, but I didn't expect to get a whole island of merchants, including Harriet, Katrina, Reese, and Cyrus. I've been waiting for a fun little merchant village or city to go and buy up rare goodies and furniture!

With Kapp'n, we got Boat Tours, which promise to bring variety to the stale Dodo Mystery Island Tours. (I firmly believe that Wilbur and Orville were just throwing a dart at a map to pick those.) With Brewster, you can have a cup o' joe alone, with NPCs, or with your friends. There's even a fitness option where you can do stretches with the townsfolk!

Animal Crossing New Horizons OrdinancesSource: iMore

We've noted in the past that New Horizons should take a cue from previous games in the series. Well, along with a few favorite NPCs, some other options are returning, like city ordinances! And the froggy chair. (Don't think we didn't see.) Between upgraded home services, an additional cooking mechanic, new crops to grow, Nook Miles rewards, recipes, storage, and so much more, my head was spinning.

With so much content comes a price. This is the last free update from Nintendo, so this massive update is bittersweet. While we are getting tons of new content, it may mean that New Horizons' growth may be at an end.

Shelling out some extra cash to work

Animal Crossing New Horizons Maple Happy Home ParadiseSource: iMore

While we may not be receiving any big content updates for free, that doesn't mean New Horizons won't get more. We're just going to have to pay for it, and that was made very clear by the introduction of the Happy Home Paradise DLC.

While I don't mind paying for a significant bump in content, I'm not thrilled with the price. $25 is a high price point for DLC. It is packaged in with the Nintendo Switch Online + Bundle, but unless you buy the DLC outright, you won't be able to save your progress — unless you keep paying for NSO. That will cost you anywhere between $50-$80 depending on the plan.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Happy Home NetworkSource: iMore

Messy DLC costs aside, the actual content looks fantastic because it gives a sense of purpose and something to strive for, something missing from the current game. In Happy Home Paradise, you are hired as a resort consultant, ready to help clients build their ideal vacation home.

The client tells you what they want, and you design the home from the location to the decor inside. You can also fix up the Paradise Planning archipelago with restaurants, offices, and more — and NPCs will actually use them! Of course, that's not all. Players will also have access to advanced building techniques, new building materials, and even redo homes in their own village.

I'm coming home

Overall, this direct checked all the boxes. Fans generally wanted more content, classic characters, and a purpose. So much was released in one sitting, I was practically screaming. Though the DLC situation is less than ideal, I am still excited for what this could mean for New Horizons... and a little sad. This massive unveiling could very well be the game's swan song as developers are moved on to new projects.

But who knows? Paid DLC is never out of the picture. Regardless, there is plenty of content here to keep Animal Crossing fans busy for a while. The only downside now is that I have to wait until Nov. 5.