There have been lots of words written on Animal Crossing: New Leaf (including here on Thumbsticks).
Released at the perfect time, it has become the game of the summer. A relaxing and rewarding way to spend the holidays before the onslaught of Triple A blockbusters, next-gen consoles, and what I expect will be my next big time suck, Grand Theft Auto Online.
The reasons for the game’s success are multitude; the continual drip feed of new pleasures, the collectables, the vast array of residents, and the friendliest online features I have seen in a long time. But the crowning glory in New Leaf’s long list of achievements is the dialogue. I think it could be one of the funniest games ever written. It’s certainly one of the best localisations ever carried out by Nintendo’s Treehouse.
Has there ever been a game in which speaking to NPCs was quite so enjoyable? The dialogue of the residents is often hilarious, each having their own quirks and ticks. It imbues them with character, making the canned interactions feel much more genuine than they have any right to be. Visiting your residents to hear what they have to say is as enjoyable as anything else you do in the game. You are almost always rewarded with a chuckle and a witty line that you’ll want to memorise and quote in real life.
The humour is certainly in the pun-tastic category, the sort of thing I always take my dad to task over, but when it’s this beautiful, you can’t help but go with it. It works because aside from the jokes the dialogue also make lots of acute comments about the perils of real life, whether you are being chastised for spending too much money, or being complimented on your interior design skills. Perhaps my favourite character is Kapp’n. His love-lorn sea shanties both tickle me and speak a hell of a lot of truth too.
Too few games attempt to be funny, but with New Leaf (and Pikmin 3) Nintendo have proved that investing time and effort into good writing and localisation pays off. I’ll leave you with my single favourite line from New Leaf so far. Let us know yours in the comments below.