|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (4 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
After many months of waiting and a slightly lackluster experience with Animal Crossing: City Folk at the last E3, I still couldn't help but be very excited about the game. It's time to start a new life in a new town, with new friends, and exciting new activities! The idea of playing it on the big screen was especially appealing, and being able to communicate with my friends around the globe via WiiSpeak (voice chat) and not just typing made it an even sweeter deal. After spending a nice amount of time with the game and toddling through its new features, I have to say Nintendo did it right!
Animal Crossing has been around since the GameCube (2002), and three years later, it transitioned to portable gaming. The game was so well done and offered such new features that it became a complete success and people still play it to this day. In fact, I doubt they'll quit playing Wild World just because the Wii version is out. Instead, Animal Crossing fans will get a double dose of this charming little world, taking advantage of the great things each version has to offer.
For those of you who are still uninitiated in the world of Animal Crossing, let me explain what this game is all about. It's a simple and laidback life simulator where players go fishing, bug-catching, and chat with cute and funny animal friends. The game runs in real time, so when it's five o'clock for you, so will it be in the game. Following this premise, stores will close at 10pm, the sky will be dark, there'll be winter snowstorms, birds will sign in the spring, etc. Festivities are also celebrated in the game, so if you want to check out the New Year in the game, you may have to put down that glass of Champaign real quick and turn on the Wii! And, if you don't have any Halloween plans, you might as well go trick-or-treating in the game, or just go to those Saturday night concerts at the coffee shop.
Even though there aren't any game-defining goals per se, players will be challenged to complete a varied collection of bugs, fish species, fossils, and paintings, as well as making their house bigger by paying off the entire mortgage. Yes, my friends, life is not that easy. You have to work hard to reach your goals! You are welcome to gather fruit, fish, bugs, etc. and sell them to Mr. Tom Nook (business owner / raccoon) in order to make a profit. With time and dedication, you'll be able to amass a fortune. It won't take you long to get into Animal Crossing, as it's a very casual and user-friendly game that focuses on charming moments and doesn't require much skill. Best (or worst) of all, it can become an extremely addictive pastime, so be careful!
When you first start the game, Rover the cat will show up and chatter with you about who you are. You'll have the choice to transfer your DS character or create a new one. Transferring your DS character is a great feature and works like a charm! However, you won't get to transfer any other game data like your belongings and collections from the portable version. It would have been nice if animals you've encountered in Wild World still recognized you when you meet them in City Folk, but that's about the only complaint I have as far as transferring the character goes. Otherwise, it's awesome, and it won't affect your DS adventure at all!
With or without a new character, you'll have to start fresh on the Wii. Players will move into their newly designed (and randomly generated) town and start meeting other townsfolk. You never know who you're going to meet, as there are hundreds of characters in the game and you'll only start with five neighbors plus the usual business owners, etc. Soon enough, you'll be choosing one of four vacant homes. You can't play at the same time as other people in your household, but at least each of you get your very own home in the game! Before you know it, Nook will be waiting outside offering you a job so you can start rolling some dough - or bells, the game's currency. The job doesn't last for too long, but it will teach you the basics on talking to other characters, delivering items, writing letters, posting messages on the town's bulletin, etc. After that, you can take your sweet time collecting things and making money, and it's a no-interest home loan, so there will be no repercussions. Lucky you! In the meantime, you can collect furniture to decorate your home, go fishing, or whatever you please.
As always, the town has a museum, an observatory, a coffee shop, the Able Sisters' clothing store, Nook's ever-evolving bazaar, and the town hall / post office. You won't see notable changes in these areas, other than the nice ABD machine at the town hall where you'll do your bank transactions from now on. Hopefully that will take off some of the workload from pelicans Pelly and Phillys! This will give the latter one less reasons to complain when you decide to wander around town and stop by the Town Hall late at night (For the love of fish! She says).
Also, you can go to the city as much as you want. It's just one bus ride away, and it's full of promises. GracieGrace's sophisticated store will blow you away with their cool clothing and furniture choices, as well as their price tags - Yikes! Katrina will tell you your fortune if you stop by her shop, and Harriet will give you a haircut or a complete makeover at Shampoodle. Players will be able to choose a Mii facemask to attach to their character. The first one is free! This means you can put it on and take it off as much as you want, since it stays in your design inventory. However, if you ever want a new Mii face, you'll have to visit Harriet again and give up the previous mask - fair enough.