New Horizons Does Better Than New Leaf

New Horizons and New Leaf are both great Animal Crossing games, but there are some aspects that New Horizons is undeniably the best at.

Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the latest and most popular game in the Animal Crossing franchise, but the jury is still out on if it’s the best game in the entire series. Animal Crossing has released a lot of fantastic titles over the years, and some fans still seem to prefer the prior entry, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, to the newest Switch iteration.

Both are great experiences, and while it’s challenging to definitively say which one is an all-around better game, New Horizons took some vital steps forward for the Animal Crossing series, and there are some things that it undoubtedly does better than any AC game before it.

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Related: When Animal Crossing Build-A-Bears Are Coming

So whether you find yourself in the New Horizons or the New Leaf camp of Animal Crossing fandom, these are all the areas where Animal Crossing: New Horizons is undeniably superior.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Has Better Visuals


Animal Crossing New Horizons Relaxation


This isn’t necessarily a fair fight, as the Switch has much more power behind it than the 3DS did, but when it comes to visuals, Animal Crossing: New Horizons blows New Leaf out of the water. As the first true HD game in the series, the world of Animal Crossing looks prettier and more charming than ever in the latest entry.

Fans might remember New Leaf looking good as well, but going back to it now with its low-res graphics can be jarring after playing the Switch version. Nothing illustrates just how far the series has come visually better than seeing that first Animal Crossing sunset in HD.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Has Better Customization

Animal Crossing New Horizons Terraforming Ideas Inspiration Examples

One of New Horizons’ best features is just how far it took Animal Crossing‘s customization options. In past games, players were limited to just decorating their homes with furniture, but New Horizons took a massive step forward by allowing furniture and other decorations to be placed around the entire island. Finally, players’ imaginations and decorating skills were no longer limited to the four walls of their homes.

Related: Animal Crossing Players With Leap Year Birthdays Trigger Unique Dialogue

New Horizons didn’t stop there though, as it also added a terraforming system, a new mechanic that lets players physically change the landmass of their islands, even if it means turning it into one giant flat piece of land, or submerging almost the entire thing in water. Animal Crossing: New Leaf had deep customization options by series standards when it released, but nothing it had can even compare to the new ground that New Horizons broke.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Has Better Interior Design

Animal Crossing New Horizons Best Room House Design Examples

Interior design is another area where Animal Crossing: New Horizons shines. The newest entry makes moving furniture around the home easier than ever with its ability to pick up and drop furniture anywhere in the room rather than manually dragging it. New Leaf eventually introduced a similar system during its lifespan, but the one found in New Horizons is more responsive and easier to use than its predecessor’s. Additionally, New Horizons lets players place more items in their rooms than ever before, and opens up the walls of the home for decorations in a way that far surpasses New Leaf.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Has Nook Miles

Animal Crossing Nook Miles Plus

A continuous problem for the Animal Crossing series is that players eventually run out of things to do. New Horizons didn’t fix this issue, but it made more meaningful steps toward addressing it than New Leaf did thanks to its Nook Miles system. Nook Miles are points awarded for accomplishing in-game tasks that the player can redeem for exclusive items and other rewards. While eventually a player will be able to accomplish everything on the list, the game adds new daily challenges every day that the player can also work toward. It’s not a perfect system, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons can still get repetitive, but an in-game achievement system helps to keep the game fresh in a way that New Leaf never did.

Next: Everything Animal Crossing’s Free Anniversary Update Includes

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Updated: March 19, 2021 — 8:52 pm

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