Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
Trust me, it hurts to give this 2 stars.
on April 11, 2011
I absolutely adored the first Animal Crossing game for the GameCube. I'd play it every single day for about 2 years, filling up my catalog, hunting for bugs, fishing, getting all the fossils, trading items with friends, etc. I even went the extra mile and got the E-Reader accessory just so I could get surprises from the Animal Crossing cards that were made. For me, Animal Crossing was easily one of the top 3 GameCube games, and I put it in my top 25 favorite games list not that long ago on here. Then...the DS game Wild World came out, and I just couldn't get into it. The 'rolling world' effect was annoying, there wasn't much new content that was fun, and I didn't care to get another copy when it got stolen. When City Folk here came out a few years ago, it didn't look much different from Wild World, and I noticed that Nintendo was very disappointed with sales for the game, even after they hyped the whole voice chat accessory for it. Well, I've recently given this game a chance, and it hurts me to say that I can have more fun with the original than this newer version, which I almost just called an upgrade, but it's anything bur that. But before I get started, if you're new to the Animal Crossing games, you can change my ratings to 4 stars for both fun and the overall rating, as it'll be fresh to you.
City Folk plays exactly like the previous games, where you start your life in a new city full of talking animals, digging up fossils, catching fish and bugs to fill the town museum, helping people deliver items to one another, and take part in town events like fishing tournaments and even holidays. When you enter the city, you don't have any money, and run a few errands for Tom Nook, the local shop owner. He actually lets you live in one of the little houses nearby, but you'll be in debt, and need to pay it off in order to get a bigger house, and for him to get a bigger store. And that's the main part of the game, more or less, though the game really doesn't have any objectives that need to be met, and it never really 'ends'. You can see the credits on saturdays when K.K. Slider shows up to play music, and the credits play while he sings.
On paper, the game sounds really boring, but it's fun and engaging, if you're new at least. There are many different kinds of fish and bugs to collect, with many only being available at certain times of the day and during certain months. Some bugs are incredibly fast, and can take some players years to catch if they're not quick enough. Fossils are dug up, identified at the museum, and if they don't have what you brought in yet, they'll take it and display the bones in the appropriate section. Of course, you don't have do donate fish, bugs, paintings or fossils- you can sell them to Tom Nook, trade them with other villagers if they ask for one, or just display them in your own home. Decorating your house is one of the more fun elements in the game, as Tom Nook only has a couple of items for sale each day that you can put in your home, with new stuff coming in all the time. You'll want to pay off that debt fast, and make your house bigger and bigger so you can make room for the cooler stuff, as you home barely qualifies for a shack when you start out. Wallpaper, carpet, beds, couches, dressers, ninja swords, ponds, bonsai trees, there are hundreds of things you can decorate your house with. Some items are themed, like the Lovely series which has a heart design with everything, or the Kiddie series which resembles an indoor play area for toddlers, complete with elephant slide. You can have up to 4 different people in the same town, and can send letters to one another along with items to help them out. It's pretty fun competing to see who can get the most things in the museum. There's also the online mode which is like the Wild World feature, but a bit smoother of course.
I just made it sound like fun, but the thing is- I just basically repeated what I'd say for anyone playing the GameCube game, aside from the online play. There are barely any new features here that I can say anything good about, and then there's another problem- there just isn't that much to do. I remember talking to villagers in the original, and they'd almost always have something for me to deliver to another villager, or want me to buy something of theirs. In City Folk, I'd actually be surprised when a villager would have me run an errand, since most of the time they'd just spew some cute lines or ask me to change their catchphrase. Unless you have a lot of friends with the game that you can visit online, there's not going to be much to do aside from the usual fishing/bug hunting. But what about the City, the key feature here that's even mentioned in the game's name? Very disappointing. Gracie, the stylin' uppity giraffe, now has her own store full of overpriced furniture and clothing. There's a theater where you can watch someone give odd performances, and walk out with a new expression for your character to do while walking around. The black market businessman Redd is back, but he requires both an invitation AND a bit of money to enter his shop now. And there's also a barber, shoe shiner, and Katrina the fortune teller has a building as well. It sounds like a lot, but it's usually a waste of time coming here unless you REALLY want to fill your catalog and spend a lot of Bells on Gracie's stuff. It's not much of a city, especially when everything's on one side of the street.
My other problems have to do with minor things and the controls. The main complaint I have as far as minor things go (aside from the rolling world) is that when you run around on the grass, which is what covers the majority of your town, it deteriorates quickly, resulting in your town turning into a desert wasteland. You'll need to plant flowers over any dead areas in order to restore the grass, but it a lot of time. I guess this was made so that characters could create paths to areas they frequent the most, but when you're chasing after super fast dragonflies, you're going to be killing off a lot of grass quick. So...unless you don't care about how your town looks, you're going to be walking most of the time. But the controls are something that I couldn't get used to. The game uses the nunchuck for movement with the analog stick, and the Wii remote for selecting things from the item screen. Why? Why can't we just use the analog stick for everything?
In the end, the whole game feels rushed, and I can't recommend this to longtime fans. If you've never played an AC game before though, you're in for a treat, as I have fond memories from getting into this series years ago and having everything feel so new to me. This is truly a unique franchise, but I hate seeing a lack of progress on Nintendo's part with this version. I hate that the best new feature to me was that you can take pictures in-game and save them to the SD card, but even then, you can only have one picture saved on the menu at a time.
But you know what? The Wii IS backwards compatible with GameCube games...and the old Animal Crossing is cheaper than this. So...