I originally played Animal Crossing on the Gamecube when a local Blockbuster got a copy a week before the official release. I fell in love with the game right away, and played the heck out of it. Beta, too, enjoyed it immensely. That said, neither of us were highly enamored by the recycled content of AC: Wild World on the DS. It was too much of the same with little innovation. After playing the original for a couple years, you have to forgive us for wanting a few changeups here and there to keep things fresh. Now that City Folk is upon us, is it a new game, or the original again with a city tacked on? Unfortunately, it’s the latter.
The first thing you’ll notice up joining your town is that Nook still runs things, and that the chores he sends you on still haven’t changed. It’s the same exact errand run you did when you first played Animal Crossing. Of course, if you’ve never played an Animal Crossing title before, then this will all be new to you. How many people is that, though? How many Nintendo gamers who haven’t at least tried Animal Crossing would still be playing this? Very few, I’d imagine. For those of us for whom this is a third run, it’s very stale. The neighbors are the same as before, and a few new chores to run for them doesn’t cover that up. So, if the main game isn’t new, then what about the city? Surely, they fit something new in there, right?
The city, unfortunately, is just a hub. One small screen with a few shops to visit. Random animals who aren’t in your neighborhood visit here, so it’s a good place to go if you’re tired of your current neighbors. The shops, though, are nothing special. Gracie has her upscale shop, Lyle the insurance salesman from Wild World mans the Happy Room Academy’s branch office here, and Harriette runs the Shampoodle salon. It’s all very familiar for anyone who’s played any amount of Animal Crossing before. Now, to be fair, most of the content and characters are culled from Wild World and not the original, so if you somehow missed the handheld offering, you’ll have something sorta, kinda new to see. I just wish the city was bigger and had more to do.
Graphically, the game copies Wild World’s rolling world style to great effect (if you liked it the first time, that is. I did) and things are slightly sharper and cleaner then the Gamecube version, but all in all the art style hasn’t changed much at all. This is a huge misstep. I know the Wii’s not a very powerful system, but this is just a sharper textured Gamecube game. Nintendo, if you make another Animal Crossing, please upgrade the visuals.
Nintendo is a fairly conservative company as far as their game series’ are concerned, and City Folk is proof of this. There’s nothing mind blowing, and the game plays like the Animal Crossing’s you know. If you like Animal Crossing a whole lot, or haven’t played it before, this may be worth it. If not, rent it and see how much you can get it out it before buying. Odds are, you can’t go home again. Alphasim out.