despite having thoroughly enjoyed the first two (US) entries in the animal crossing series i was a bit wary about starting in on the wii version, animal crossing: city folk, since by all accounts it sounded like it was going to be extremely similar to the previous versions. having spent an inordinate amount of time on this installment (mostly in the quest of getting the golden watering can, which i finally achieved), overall i’d say that the game included just enough new features to be worthwhile, although my perspective is a bit skewed: although i had played the first two versions a lot i hadn’t played them the obscene amounts that apparently a lot of people have. so i was still entertained with a lot of the core gameplay, including completing fossils, collecting fish and bugs and furniture sets, and decorating my house. i hadn’t spent much time on designs or multiplayer before, so those were areas that were also more novel to me than they would be for others.
in terms of the new features, the aspect i enjoyed the most was the use of wii speak, a microphone that sits on top of your TV that you can get bundled with the game and allows you to voice chat over wi-fi, either within the wii speak channel or within the game. the voice chat works reasonably well, and it was the feature that motivated me to get the game so that i could play it with my nephew. the wi-fi multiplayer’s limitations are often mildly annoying, though, e.g. visitors won’t appear if you have a guest over, and you can’t do certain special activities such as build a snowman or find the money rock. also, it seems that people who live in the same town on one wii get different interactions than playing with friends over wi-fi, e.g. villagers only show letters to and auctions are only shared among people living in the same town. i also enjoyed taking screenshots and being able to send them to an email address or someone’s wii message board. the other notable new feature is the DLC (downloadable content, i.e. new items) you receive periodically from nintendo via wiiconnect24, either monthly or for special events.
in terms of the tweaks, i liked how holidays are more prominent than in WW. i didn’t really care for having to go to the city all the time and didn’t really see the point of it or the mii masks (which felt like an afterthought and looked a little creepy actually), and although there are a handful of new characters no one seems particularly notable. outfits, which are combinations of hats, shirts, and sometimes accessories that go together, are a nice new feature although underutilized. the feature that people complain about the most is the “desertification” where walking over the same path over and over results in the grass changing to dirt. i didn’t have a problem with this, and you can plant flowers and trees over it to speed up the regrowth process, although i can see how a group of avid players all running around one town would really make the town look like a wasteland. a side effect of desertification is that buried treasures are much harder to spot, which makes hunting for fossils and gyroids more interesting than in the previous games.
i was really hoping that city folk would be a step forward for the series, but as with many nintendo titles of late it really is very similar to its predecessor. in the end, though, i’d say because of the wi-fi features this is probably the best of the three, despite its small number of improvements. hopefully the upcoming 3DS version will have more new features. incidentally, the game was recently made available as a bestseller title, although, oddly enough a new copy of the original standalone game is cheaper on amazon.
wii speakin’ ’bout city folk links:
– of all the AC wikis i’ve come across, accf.wikispaces.com is definitely the best of the bunch, although they don’t have specific info about the two previous iterations. for that animalxing.com is a good alternative.
– iwata asks feature
– some interesting nintendo channel stats of the game at coffeewithgames.com: i just beat out the average player with my 80+ hours, although i’m sure there are many who easily double or triple that
– nice solo guitar version of the theme song. the page also includes a link to the TAB.
– interesting rundown of the N64 original (only released in japan)
– it impresses me that some people get really creative with games like AC:CF. this user-created multiplayer game is pretty entertaining.
– official site: nothing particularly interesting on it, though