I'll have a hard time waiting until the US release somewhen next year to play the new Animal Crossing for 3DS—but why? There's a mix of warm memories of the Gamecube and DS versions, but also it's simply a very different experience from most other games.
There are many games (especially Nintendo games) that seem similar, but compare those few to the rest of what the industry is making. Take for example the E3 experience of Jeremy Parish (who I miss seeing on the 1up show):
Last weekend, I had dinner with my fiancée's mother. She spent a good part of that meal talking about how harrowing it had been living in war-torn Vietnam through four decades of conflict before finally emigrating to America in the '70s. ... She explained how terrifying the Tet Offensive was, since America's war in Vietnam was largely restricted to the countryside; no one had expected the conflict to come to the cities, least of all on a holiday for which a cease fire had been declared.
A day later, I found myself sitting in a press conference in Los Angeles, watching a couple of guys demo a videogame on a wall-sized screen. Their avatars hijacked a Russian helicopter, guns blazing, then took off from a jungle clearing before peppering villages of Vietnamese shanty huts with turret fire and missiles.
I generally play in the area of platformers, puzzle and adventure games. When there's story, it's comedic. (I just started Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent last night.) Even Halo 3: ODST, a game about fighting inhuman alien creatures who are invading a human city to destroy it, was a big departure for me. Parish mentions Bulletstorm, a game from E3 that I thought looked pretty awesome in that comedy-of-violence way; I would be surprised if I actually bought and played it. (I was weirdly excited about Splinter Cell: Conviction, but the demo put me off it.)
Animal Crossing is a very different game. The simple joys of sales and shells, while roughly Skinnerian, are more analogous to the crests and valleys of real life. The stakes are small, but so are the losses, and wins are frequent: some days you nurse a bee sting, some days you finish collecting something for the museum.
I'm put off by the ultimate battle; at least, the way these games use it, which is not the same way it was in Earthbound, where there's enough story to build it up so you buy it at the end. These games try to shorthand into drama by setting you against epic odds for ultimate stakes. Really we're in an expectation bubble, players of FPSes and action RPGs having habituated to saving worlds. That seems to be the inner synchrony of hardcore casual: sure, you're a gamer, but sometimes your inner homemaker just wants to water some flowers.
I'm not sure what they'll add to Animal Crossing in the 3DS version—in screenshots the people aren't as chibi, which is an improvement—but the only way to drastically improve it would be to put its towns in a persistent malleable world shared with everyone. After all, reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away, and I'm not sure where else Animal Crossing can go.