Game Review 7: Halo – Reach

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I knew Spartans were big, but damn. Forget the marines, at this rate we’ll be able to just punch the Covenant fleet out of orbit.

Halo: Reach. My, my, what a banger of a game, eh? That’s right, I’m not afraid to slightly spoil the outcome of this review from the get-go. This is my favourite Halo game of them all, and may just be one of my favourite games, period. I don’t actually remember how or when I got Reach, but it was probably for Christmas. What I do remember is finishing the campaign in close to a single sitting, it was so enjoyable and varied. The characters, the story, the visuals, all those gorgeous armour permutations. Yes indeed, playing this through again for the review for what is probably nearing the tenth time sure was a treat.

In Halo: Reach, you once again step into the gleaming Mjolnir boots of a near-indestructible Spartan. This time, however, you not only have your juggernaut-like strength, speed and agility to help you, but also five team members just as if not more skilled than you. Noble Team are at the forefront of the fight to save the planet Reach, and the participants in the birth of the all out war between humanity and the Covenant that you go on to play as the figurehead of in Halo 1 through 3, the indomitable Master Chief.

Disclaimer: I won’t be discussing multiplayer or forge, because as someone who was never allowed to buy Xbox Live, never had a Playstation in order to take advantage of the free multiplayer, and then eventually just realised that single player was all the fun I needed, I play games purely for their campaigns.

The Good:

There are definitely some amazing aspects to the Reach campaign that, when we fans first played it, blew our socks off. The most innovative (but, as we shall see, one of the least thrilling) was by far the space-combat section. Getting launched into atmosphere in the cockpit of a Sabre is something that I, with my propensity for fan-girling over massive orbital battles the likes of which you hardly ever see on consoles outside Mass Effect cutscenes, thoroughly enjoyed the look of. Again, we’ll come to my criticisms of this mission, but that’s not what this section of the review is for. The most blindingly apparent update to the Halo franchise is the visuals. It’s much more akin to those of ODST, favouring moodier but just as beautiful skyboxes complete with rolling thunderclouds and scorching sunsets than the studio did in previous games. I really like how Reach feels. The fiery twilight of the Falcon mission, the cool blues of the dawn sneak through New Alexandria, and the cold darkness of the night-time sniping excursion punctuated by the green flashes of your night-vision (which is far more useful and better incorporated than it ever was in ODST, by the way). All these and more make each mission really feel unique, and gives the game on the whole much more personality. People may argue in favour of a more seamless experience, but when you think of what a washed-out slog ODST felt like at times, and the sudden stark and jarring switches from desert vista to barren snowscape that punctuated Halo 3, Reach is a far more appealing system in my opinion, and one that the developers really managed to perfect.

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Baggage claim was going to be hell today.

To be Improved:

As mentioned above, the space combat level, Long Night of Solace, is mind-numbingly dull. The first time you get to go into space you practically jump for joy, but as I said I’ve played Reach about ten times now so you really start to see the cracks after that many sessions. There are also some abrupt difficulty spikes throughout, such as the appearance of two hunters, or being dropped into a city full of brutes with only a magnum (I know that’s kind of the point of the level but the checkpoints are particularly poorly placed). The only other real problems are that Firefight gets super boring, and even then it is the only way to properly earn armour permutations outside of multiplayer; if you read the disclaimer at the start of this review you’ll already know what a problem that is for me.

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Spartan Greg made a mental note to remember the safe-word next time.

Overall: 8/10

Halo Reach was a great delight to go back and play through again. There are some frustrating moments, and ones that are outright mind-numbing to have to keep repeating, but overall it is a fairly solid experience. There’s nothing much more to say than that, and I’m sure the, what, two or so people who read this review aren’t going to mind it being a little shorter than most. Thanks all the same.

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Game Review 6: Halo 3 – ODST

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Rookie scopes out the drizzle as you scope out the review’s more immersive header image format, complete with witty caption.

I don’t think I ever really appreciated ODST when I first played it, and definitely not when it launched, no pun intended. I remember a friend bringing it round to mine so we could play the Firefight game mode, and all I thought was “The guns are smaller, the colour palette is stinted, and I’m weaker; what’s the point of all this?”. I played through it about… Man, around three years ago, now, and enjoyed it a fair bit, despite the gamebreaking bug before the last mission that meant I couldn’t progress, forcing me to replay the whole game again. As you can see, I didn’t have an amazing experience with it despite considering it a solid title. So I decided I’d give this love affair another chance.

ODST is a wonderful blend of toned down, isolated gunfights in the abandoned (save for squads of alien Covenant troops) streets of the forever-midnight city of New Mombasa, and blazing daytime battles through the surrounding areas. The player character switches from Rookie, the protagonist even muter than the practically silent Master Chief, as he looks for clues to his squad’s whereabouts six hours after they drop, to the various members of said squad, one level for each. The variety offered therein is a breath of fresh air sorely needed by the franchise by the time ODST rolled around, and it’s safe to say I more than appreciate the game after this (my now third) playthrough. I’ll keep the review short and sweet, just like the game. Little spoiler for some criticisms to come, right there.

The Good: 

Tone, tone, tone. Atmosphere. Mood, mood. Atmosphere. Tone? No, but seriously, as the Rookie, walking through the saxophone-accompanied streets at night as storms rage in the darkened sky and rain patters on your visor (actually, I don’t think water droplets on the glass were a feature, but I can see that being a must in an HD remake) is joyous. The environments in the other team members’ levels are also astonishingly pretty. Well, perhaps not that far, but a particular highlight was the Safari Park in Mickey’s level. Speeding your Ghost over a bridge while a space elevator exploded and was brought down in the background was some spectacle. The whole aesthetic has been given a grittier polish (forgive the oxymoron), and I really enjoy that. The game is a more human journey than the other Halo games (except maybe for Reach, I’d love to review that someday when I have the time to play through it again) and you consequently feel more fragile. The silenced SMG and Magnum Pistol reflect this nicely; your tools of war are just as dainty as you are, and that’s a good thing. It’s a welcome and refreshing change from the nigh invincible protagonists of all the other games in the franchise. The gameplay mechanics themselves haven’t changed much from Halo 3, as this sort of is a full-price expansion pack, but they have been toned down and stripped back a lot as you no longer play as the battlefield-dominating Spartan warrior but instead as a vulnerable ODST soldier. This forces you to switch up your strategy, but as we’ll see in a second, that isn’t always a good thing. As far as the campaign goes, short as it is, a nice bit of variety is offered when it comes to the ‘main’ missions (not including the Rookie excursions, again we’ll get to that in a mo). It features the obvious sniper, vehicle, stealth and tank sections, sure, but there’s nothing wrong with that formula and it does include some pretty enjoyable skirmishes. It’s also incredibly nice to be able to go through these areas again as Rookie, giving rise to some nice nostalgic little “Hey, I was just here, and there’s that one thing, and that’s that other thing!” moments. Though I would have liked some unique areas for him, perhaps a public park or a more open-ended area, instead of only the city streets, as they get a bit bland after a while, but I guess the developers did what they could.

To be Improved:

It’s an overpriced expansion pack, none of us can argue against that. Hell, I like the game and I’m willing to admit that fact, and I think it’s rather ignorant of fanboys to try and state otherwise. It should have been half it’s original price. Now, this issue almost never effects me when it comes to any game, because I’m always late to the party and get mine years after they release (see Mass Effect), but I can more than see why people would be upset. The campaign is further shortened because the Rookie levels don’t count, as they’re barely levels to begin with and can then be exploited to an extent where, save for the lovely lovely atmosphere, they could have been left out of the game entirely without losing anything save for some of the best tracks on the score. Most squads of enemies you encounter, save for a select few, can be easily snuck or sprinted past. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that the game actually hands you opportunities to do so, placing doors into buildings that allow you to cut through them and avoid enemies completely, and spanning small walkways over the top of squads who are often otherwise distracted. It’s all just a bit of a farce. And when you are finally forced to fight some unavoidable enemies in a few sections where it’s just a single stretch of road, its achingly obvious that the developers where actually aware of the fact that people were going to be able to evade most other encounters, so added some boxed-in sections in a crude attempt to spice it up. The stealth aspect is fun and perhaps it was intended that you were to sneak past opponents, but it feels more like an oversight than a conscious addition. Furthermore, the Visr, or night-vision which highlights enemies and weapons, is both a blessing and a curse. In the team member levels, it’s useless because it’s always daytime, so accidentally hitting ‘X’ to reload – as I’m conditioned to Mass Effect’s control scheme at this point – instead initiates a blinding flare that can get you killed if it’s at a crucial moment. In Rookie’s levels, the Visr is one hundred percent essential, because to turn it off even for a second plunges you into darkness. It’s all just a bit squashed in, and the levels feel a bit too much like they were designed without the idea of the feature in mind, and that it was instead hastily implemented later.

Overall: 7/10

ODST is fairly meh, I won’t deny it! There’s some nice variety in the characters and indeed it was the first Halo game to feature multiple main characters of the same… armour type, I guess? I don’t really know how to explain that. Basically, as the last of the Spartan-IIs you were the only one of your kind in Halo 1 through 3 but in this you’re part of a team. Perhaps I’d prefer that more if Reach hadn’t come in and completely dominated that aspect, making the ODST team look like reluctant allies at best. Furthermore, more than half of the campaign is creeping past enemies in ever-increasingly dull landscapes, and the Rookie levels stop being a welcome respite from the action and instead a tedious chore that you race through in order to get to the meat. Despite the incredible moody tone, spellbinding atmosphere doth not a good game make. This is Bungie we’re talking about, so it isn’t terrible by any stretch, but they could have done with a lot more deviations from their now overused formula in order to create a game that was as out of the box as, say, Reach was. Even so, it’s Halo, and I’m afraid the sucker for sci-fi in me does love it despite its drawbacks.

Game Review 5: Deus Ex – Human Revolution

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It’s time for another audio review! This one’s a lot shorter but it was still two and a half A4 pages of notes so I thought it was probably best to record this one, too. Besides, these are fun! You can find the review below (once again over on my Soundcloud) along with my final thoughts.

https://soundcloud.com/thethirdpart/deus-ex-human-revolution-audio-review

Apologies in advance for the congestion, I was getting over a nasty sinus infection! I hope you guys enjoyed, and as always, I’ll see you all next time.

Final Thoughts:

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Game Review 4: Mass Effect 2

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“Organics do not choose to fear us. It is a function of your hardware.”

This game took me a while to get through, I’m sorry to say. Not because of the story which is as inspired as ever, but simply because it is no surprise that it’s the cheapest of the three games in the trilogy, as you will see. However, because there were five A4 pages of notes I wrote down about this game, which no one would have bothered to read if I’d put it straight up onto the blog, I decided to record an audio review instead, which you can find below! It’s on my Soundcloud, so if you like the sound of my voice in the review why not check out some of my songs while you’re over there?

https://soundcloud.com/thethirdpart/mass-effect-2-audio-review 

I want to give some shoutouts to Raycevick and Lorerunner for some of the points I mentioned, and also to Stellardrone for the background music.

You probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t pointed it out, but apologies for my overuse of ‘blaze’ and ‘blazing’, and also for the fact that I sound a little awkward at times and that the levels are a bit off in places. It’s my first time properly recording my voice like this, and I did so using the voice memo app on my iPod. I tried to speak as clearly as possible, but if I fumble a few words it’s just because, as I said, I’m not that used to dictation. On top of that, by the end I’d started to develop a pretty sore throat due to the onset of my current cold, so the final sentence came out sounding well weird. But I feel I’ll have to do more podcast-y discussions like this when it comes to reviewing longer titles, or ones where I have particularly complex criticisms, as they definitely allow for a much more in-depth argument. I hope it was enjoyable, and I’ll catch you all later!

Game Review 3: Mass Effect

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“We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it.”

A really painful memory of mine is being in a Game store in Dorset with a childhood friend and examining a copy of Metroid: Zero Mission on Gameboy Advance. I took one look at the back of the box and saw Kraid (the colossal green dragon so big he doesn’t even fit on the Gameboy’s tiny screen), then put the game back because I was so daunted by the idea of it being way too difficult. A few years later, a similar story occurred with the Mass Effect series. But the other day I suddenly realised I had no reason for not having played through the trilogy yet, and when I found out all three of the games combined are about fifteen quid to buy, I decided to give them a go.

Mass Effect drops you straight into the action as Commander Shepard, an Alliance soldier and eventually Captain of the spaceship Normandy. It follows Shepard and his/her (the character customisation is superb) crew as they pursue a rogue alien soldier named Saren who has activated an undead robotic race called the Geth. He aims in turn to use the Geth to bring about the resurrection of an ancient destructive race of sentient mega-robots called the Reapers. It’s a galaxy-spanning space opera that is truly epic.

The Good:

I have to say, I finished the game yesterday and after sleeping away the adrenalin, I can now say with a clear head that I am pretty blown away in general by Mass Effect. There’s no real systematic way to do this, so I’m just going to go through all the best points I wrote down as I was playing through the game, from first impressions to final thoughts. Immediately, nothing is spoon-fed to the player in terms of story, a bold choice by the developers in an era where narration is king. The universe the game takes place in has already been established without the need for dragged out exposition, and you are simply dropped into the middle of it In Medias Res (which I, as a classicist, greatly appreciate). Not only that, but the setting itself is awesome in every sense. The first time you open up the quick travel galaxy map and have to zoom out three times just to go to another destination shows you the massiveness of it all, which is so epic but done in such a subtle way. The developers show off their huge backdrop without being arrogant about it. This is really refreshing when these days you have games like No Man’s Sky coming out and missing the mark completely despite shameless boasting from the creators. But now, onto the gunplay. From the first mission of Mass Effect, you realise that combat is harsh and raw. Every gun feels like it does damage, and all the weapons pack a serious punch that makes popping alien heads super-satisfying. But gunning down enemies isn’t the only thing you can do in the game, as this is technically an RPG. The dialogue portions of Mass Effect are just as fun as the combat, and conversation options for the most part (unlike Fallout, to name an example) were disconcertingly natural, the responses often word for word the phrases that I actually would have said in that situation. Finally, there are the choices you can make throughout the game. I can’t even begin to imagine the huge map of different outcomes the developers must have created, but I do know that they did a damn good job. Everything you do successfully feels so good, and everything you mess up hurts because it’s abundantly clear that it will have major consequences for the plot. Besides, there aren’t many games where you can claim that instead of actually fighting the final boss, you were so skilled at charming other characters by that point that you convinced him his evil scheme was wrong, and he shot himself. Full marks.

To be Improved:

Well, almost full marks. I’ll say going forward that because I got better at the game as I went along, I now realise that a lot of my complaints are nitpicky and only existed during the first few missions due to my lack of skill. That said, I think that when you as the player are so effectively slotted into the game story-wise, the fact that the transition into combat isn’t so smooth is unfortunate, so I will address that among a few other things. In terms of combat, perhaps I’m just too used to modern day shooters, but until you get the hang of the guns in Mass Effect the weapons never seem to hit what you’re aiming at, especially on vehicles. I found myself having to teach myself where the bullets would impact with every single slight alteration in the angle I was firing at. Enemies, on the other hand, never seem to miss a single shot unless you’re completely hidden behind cover. This means that, even on the lower difficulties, if there is any more than one adversary in a room your health will constantly drain unless you get behind something quick. This in turn was frustrating as the cover system is the most unresponsive aspect of the game, meaning I often found myself walking up against a wall and getting shot in my exposed torso and head even though I was technically behind something. Once you get past the first few missions, the exploration aspect of the game really opens up, but until then many of the side missions, save a select interesting few, are fetch-quests in the frustrating-to-navigate Citadel, the game’s main hub complete with identical corridors and grey walls everywhere. All interior sections of the game, in fact, are bland and monotonous apart from a few minor differences between them, so are incredibly hard to get around. This is especially aggravating as the map on the bottom right appears to be absolutely pointless seeing as it doesn’t actually show you the layout of the level, like Read Dead Redemption’s did for instance, instead offering only a few unintelligible icons. The autosave feature of the game, too, leaves a lot to be desired, and I finished the campaign with over 100 manual saves so that I didn’t go through huge sections of combat only to be killed by the very last enemy and be forced to start from the very beginning. Like I said, many of these problems are ironed out as you get better at the game, but I think the fact you sort of have to bend the way you play to accommodate some of the game’s more clunky mechanics takes away from the freedom that such a game offers, which is counter-productive and a bit of a downer.

Overall: 9/10

Oh yes. Mass Effect is, ‘scuse my French, f*cking awesome. I’m definitely looking forward to playing the second and third games in the trilogy which, as if the first one wasn’t mind-blowing enough, promise to be even more epic than the first and also to fix a lot of the less impressive aspects of the original. The number of features which detract from the whole openness of the campaign and the game in general are, after a few hours of play, very easy to work your head around and deal with. Sure, it’s frustrating for those first missions where you circle the same corridor over and over again and keep arriving at the same staircase (trust me, it’s a lot easier to get lost than it sounds), but this game is a decade old at this point. That’s more than half my lifetime ago, and that’s pretty crazy, so I’m willing to forgive a handful of slightly dated mechanics, because that’s all they are: slightly dated. And anyway, all in all, this game truly had a massive effect (I’ll see myself out) on me, and I think it’s one of the most enjoyable I’ve played to date. Apart from Metroid, of course. Metroid still rules.

Game Review 2: Fantasy Life

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I remember playing Runescape as a kid. I mean, like, the first edition of Runescape. It was so damn good and was my first proper experience with RPGs, and I’ve been a pretty big fan of the genre since then. One of my favourite things to level up was my woodcutting ability, and I think that stems (no plant pun intended) from my love of nature, something we’ll cover in a second. I was looking for some good RPGs for my 2DS, and Monster Hunter never really caught my eye. I happened upon Fantasy Life, and when I found it was hailed as a cross between Animal Crossing and Runescape with Studio Ghibli’s art style, I knew I had to pick it up.

The main aspect of Fantasy Life which sets it apart from other RPGs out there (because, let’s be honest, there is at this point never going to be anything unique about an RPG’s story what with Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings etc. already knocking about), is the ability to change your ‘Life’, or rather your profession, on the fly, opening many more doors in terms of what you can do, as opposed to shutting all but those related to whatever class you’re boxed into at the beginning, as is the case with too many RPGs these days. Now, change your actual life, this game won’t; but it’s a nice little one to dive into every now and again when you feel like taking on some adorably disproportioned dragons.

The Good:

GOOD GOD IT’S ADORABLE. Walking out into the Grassy Plains for the first time and going past a teensy widdle farm complete with miniature cottage, clothes line, scarecrow and fields is such a charming moment, and the game is full of similar instances. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like the bigheaded chibi-esque style reminiscent of those gaudy Funko-Pop vinyl figures (look them up if you haven’t heard), but in fact the art has much the same effect as Animal Crossing’s, which is to make the game so endearing that the fun is dramatically improved from the start, at least if that’s what you’re into, which I happen to be.

To be Improved:

The main problem with Fantasy Life is the massive split down the middle between the ‘Life’ and the ‘Fantasy’. The most interesting part of the game is the ability to switch between different professions, all of which I, as an avid fantasy fan, was equally interested in. I’m big into nature, so personally preferred the gatherer classes, and I loved being a woodcutter one minute then a hunter the next. However, this great mechanic is overcast by a failure to deliver on the main storyline. The quests themselves are short, uninspired, and tedious to say the least, especially when taking on a main quest restricts the player from changing their profession! What use is a storyline if it forcefully places a lock on the main feature of the game that makes it unique, and what use is that feature in the first place if it apparently clashes with the story? The result is a game which seems to be confused about what it really is, and this makes the goals for the player equally confusing. Am I trying to advance the story which, though dry and filled with dialogue and ten second action sequences, seems to be the main point of the game as it is with most, or should I be dedicating my time to conquering each profession in turn to become a master of all trades? The resulting conundrum makes the whole system very muddled and bare when it comes to providing any sort of force to really push the player to… well, play.

Overall: 6/10

Despite Fantasy Life’s childishness, it’s cutesy little art style and constant eye-roll-worthy humour clearly aimed at a much younger audience (in tune with the ‘7’ Age Rating on the box), I find the game incredibly charming and accessible, even as an older player. At times, the story is incredibly long-winded and I found myself slightly frustrated at skipping reams of pointless conversation, a situation that would be far more taxing if I indeed did fit into the target demographic. This is made worse by the fact that just as you finish talking to someone and think you can actually get out there and do stuff, your objective is to talk to someone else who’s standing directly to the left of the last person. Unfortunately, this is the game’s greatest downfall, and I can’t bump the rating up any further when all it has to offer, if I’m being brutal, is a clever gimmick with a colour-by-numbers story stuffed into the middle of it, all wrapped up in, I will concede, an incredibly pleasant art style. As a whole package, though, I’m a sucker for good visuals, and Fantasy Life is right up my street. I’m also willing to admit that it is surprisingly intricate for a game that, initially, seems quite simple in its scope. A fun little fantasy romp if I ever did have one!

Game Review 1: Animal Crossing – New Leaf

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I’ve always liked handheld games. And I mean always. I got my Gameboy Advance SP for Christmas when I was four, with a copy of the Finding Nemo game. Since then, I’ve much preferred the single cute little contained adventures to be found in cartridges rather than the open expanses of roaring Triple-A titles. I upgraded from Gameboy to a black Nintendo DS Lite when I was eight, then bought myself a 2DS during my A-Levels. I didn’t have much knowledge of 3DS titles at first, and all I knew was that some of the games did look quite good. I played a few, picked up some nice little indie games on the E-Shop, had a bit of fun, then put down the 2DS. But then, after it collected dust for year while I was doing my A-Levels, I was at a friend’s house and was watching her play Animal Crossing: Wild World. To cut a long story short, as soon as she showed me her museum and all the fossils she’d donated, the classicist/archeologist in me leapt into life and I ordered New Leaf.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is just one of the cutest games out there. If you haven’t played it, then it’s really quite hard to explain the concept unless you’ve seen it for yourself. I myself didn’t initially ‘get’ what Animal Crossing was all about when I first heard about it. The gist of New Leaf is that you are mistakenly made the mayor of a sweet little seaside town, populated by animal villagers. Therein commences your little journey to make the town as good as it can be (it’s genuinely as cute as it sounds)!

The Good:

Did I mention how cute this little game is? I really salute Nintendo for making such a lasting experience with New Leaf. For the opening sequence, sure, I wanted to play for a few solid hours just to get to grips with the game and sort out becoming mayor of the town. But after that it becomes a little escape from the hectic day-to-day, which you can just dip into for fifteen minutes, half an hour, an hour every evening just to decompress. Everything is constantly being upgraded once you meet certain hidden criteria (which can be found out online, but where’s the wonder in that?), so just as things threaten to get samey it changes things up out of the blue, always offering a fresh experience. Personally, I don’t get tired of doing the same things over and over again because to me the variety of finding different fossils to donate to the museum, catching all the different types of fish and going to the aquarium to watch my whale shark swim around in its tank, and just hanging out with all the quirky and colourful (and I mean that literally) characters in the village keeps me interested every time I come back to the game. I’m the type of person to get super-invested in helping out little humanoid animals, especially when they’ve all got incredibly unique personalities, and New Leaf has gradually become a second life that I lead alongside my own.

To be Improved:

I’m really struggling to think of anything here! Perhaps a few more explanations in-game of the things you can do would help out a whole lot, because as a bit of a perfectionist I get real scared of doing something irreversible so I have to look up a lot of stuff online just to find out I’m not causing irreparable damage to my village. However, although this is the ‘To be Improved’ section I’m going to counter that point with this: The genuine pleasant surprise I felt when Octavian (my walking talking octopus-man of a villager) told me I could stack fruits in my inventory to create a little basket of them instead of them taking up loads of space was so heart-warming, and I felt like I’d actually been taught something by a friend rather than had my hand held (no pun intended, we are talking about the DS here) by the game. Other than that, the game may be a little too easy for some people (lots of things have been upgraded from Wild World to make the game more accessible and more interesting from the get-go, so in my eyes this is a positive). For instance: When, at the start of New Leaf, I was handed all the tools that I know you have to wait days, even weeks to accumulate in Wild Word, I felt like I was unfairly cheating the system, even though the game itself was offering it to me.

Edit (05/04/17): After playing for a few months, my only real solid problem with the game is as follows. An algorithm which, whenever a new villager moves in, examines the types of animal you already have so that you don’t get duplicates would have been incredibly helpful. At the time of writing the review, I had two pigs and three birds, and though now both the pigs have left, much to my satisfaction, they’ve been replaced by yet another bird (who’s even pink like one of the ones I already have!) for a total of four, which is ridiculous, and a wolf who, though awesome, means I now have two of those as well. This seems to me like it could have done with a simple fix, or at least the ability to turn the feature on or off in case people have a desire to collect all villagers of a particular species (a desire which I most certainly do not have, an exception being GIVE MEH ALL TEH DEERS).

Overall: 9/10

The sole reason that I haven’t given New Leaf a 10/10 is the fact that I respect that some may find it boring and that, from some people’s perspective, all the most new and flashy possibilities are exhausted after a few hours play. But the point of New Leaf is not to progress in the storyline or level up or become more powerful, no. Incoming cheesiness here, but New Leaf is actually just, at its heart, a really sweet little game about friendship and caring for one another, and it isn’t afraid to just take a step back from guns and explosions and show you the simpler pleasures in life for once.