March 30, 2020
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‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ online multiplayer is a blast. Couch co-op isn’t.


-Multiplayer has long been part
of the Animal Crossing series, letting players
visit each other’s towns. This returns in Animal Crossing:
New Horizons, but with some big changes. Eight players can visit
an island at once online, and several Nintendo accounts
can be used on a single Nintendo Switch to build one island
cooperatively. Local co-op in particular
was an exciting prospect, but in execution,
it’s lackluster. Where New Horizons fails is
in its local co-op experience. Eight accounts can be used
on a single Switch, but you all share
the same island. The island representative,
which is the player that created the island,
has the most control. Progress for main quests and certain construction
of buildings like the museum can be gated
for other players until the island representative
reaches those points. If you’re sharing with
a large family, for example, this waiting game
can be a big pain. To simultaneously explore
the island with others on one Nintendo Switch, four players can join
local co-op. One player is designated the
leader and others are followers. It’s easy to swap the leader,
which is good, because being a follower
can be downright boring. As a follower, you don’t have
access to your inventory, you can’t access your tool wheel
to easily swap gadgets, and activities like fishing
are interrupted if the leader opens
their inventory menu. Playing with separate Joy-Cons
is also frustrating with controls
that don’t feel intuitive. Where New Horizon’s
multiplayer really shines is in its online experience. New Horizons puts
customization and simulation at the center
of the experience. You build a town from scratch, turning a deserted island
into a bustling town with a booming community,
varied plants, and diverse shops. Showing off how you’ve built
your town to other friends becomes a moment of pride, especially for those
who’ve spent hours upon hours customizing their land. Online
multiplayer is also a way to experience some unique
aspects that you may not see if you stayed on
your respective island, such as acquiring
some unique items, crafting recipes,
clothes, and fruit. Earning Bells becomes much
easier through multiplayer, too, since you can sell
your native fruit for a much higher price
at a friend’s island, and alternatively,
gather diverse fruit to bring back
to your own island. Interaction with friends
is the best it’s ever been. You now have an in-game camera
to capture special moments, and emotes are
a great addition, too, like gleefully clapping
or dramatically sobbing, which brings a dynamic feel
to non-verbal communication. You can chat through text, too. But to experience this best,
you should download the Nintendo Switch
online app on iOS and Android so you can voice chat
or use your phone’s keyboard. Playing with a big group
is especially fun, and sometimes chaotic
in an entertaining way. But it can be difficult
to keep track of your visitors. Island maps are
considerably large, and it would be helpful
in this instance to have player icons
on the mini map to know where your friends
are at all times. If you’re playing with friends, sticking to
the online experience is the prime way
to enjoy multiplayer. Since New Horizons is
a game players may return to regularly
over the course of years, Nintendo has promised regular
updates and seasonal events. We hope that through
those updates, some tweaks will come
to the game to iron out issues with local co-op.

Jean Kelley

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Bones Jackson Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    No activities let alone activities to do in a multiplayer situation. They did a lot with the game but its still like a 10 year old game in terms of things to actually do.

    Reply
  2. Art Artist Arrives Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Cool game

    Reply
  3. daviddaaannggg Posted on March 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Since when did Washington post do game videos

    Reply
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