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Game Review- Animal Crossing: City Folk

February 18, 2010

For those that don’t know, the Animal Crossing series fits right into the life simulation genre with a focus on collecting things. It doesn’t feature an elaborate career mechanic, but it does have hundreds of different things to seek out. These collectible items are closely tethered to a time system that ties in directly with the system clock. When it’s winter in real life, there’s snow on the ground in the game. In April, more bugs come out for catching. During Halloween, a special event involving pumpkins occurs in your town. When you haven’t played in a while, weeds grow all over and the locals bug you, wondering where you have been.This creates the great illusion that the game plays itself when you aren’t around. Animal Crossing also takes this concept a step further in the way it offers multiplayer. While two people in the same room can’t each pick up a controller and play together, both players can create characters that live in the same town. Therefore, if your brother plays the game early in the morning, he will get the first shot at any fresh fruit on the trees. If he picks it all, there won’t be any for you until it grows back again, which can take a few days. This same-house, same-town mechanic is why most people’s opinions of the series are directly related to whether or not they are the only one playing it in their house. The game can get quite boring without at least some level of competition and community.

Another great mechanic that really adds value to the experience is the ability to visit other players’ towns. This means you can meet new characters, find fruit that is most likely rare in your town, see what a different shop is currently selling, and enjoy a general change of scenery. On top of all of that, animals you meet in your friend’s town may move to yours and vice-versa. Knowledge of all past interactions with other characters comes with them when they move. It’s not unheard of to have them show you a silly note your friend wrote to them some months prior. This is another example of what makes this simulation game so successful; it does a great job of making a virtual world seem a bit more real. Arguably the two most exciting features of the City are the inclusion of an Auction House and Hair Salon. The hair salon brings Mii support to the title by allowing you to give your on-screen character a makeover based on your Mii. This would be outstanding if it didn’t come with so many side effects. Basically, any accessory that goes on your character’s head can not be worn at the same time as a Mii mask. This means that glasses, masks, and hats are all pointless if you want your character to look like your Mii. If you choose not to wear a Mii mask, the salon can also be used to change your hair style, which is a nice touch, as previous Animal Crossing games picked a random look for your character and you were stuck with it.

On the surface, the auction house appears to be a great means of completing your collection, as it tone would assume that it would be at least feature items from gamers nationwide. Sadly, this is not the case at all. Items can be placed on auction during the appropriate span of time and a reserve price can be decided on, but you can only auction off one item per auction, which looks to amount to around one item per real-life week. When the bidding phase of the auction begins, you will have the ability to bid on items offered only by people on your Animal Crossing friend list and your Wii system friend list. In a bizarre twist, Animal Crossing actually utilizes the system list. Regardless, the end result is both a very limited audience for your item, and a very limited library of items to bid on. This flies in the face of what an auction house in a game of this nature should be. It is impossible for a mini-economy to form in which in-game items can attain a true monetary value.

The bizarre use of the Wii system friend list doesn’t stop there either. The post office in town features two cool new ways of sending letters from the game to your friends. You can either send them to your friend in-game (if you’ve exchanged Animal Crossing friend codes), or to your friend’s Wii message board (if you’ve exchanged Wii friend codes). When looking at your Wii friend list to choose a recipient, it even tells you which of them own Animal Crossing: City Folk. Even with this information, it is impossible to directly add them to your Animal Crossing list. You still have to write down your code, send it to them, wait for them to send their code back, and then add them manually before you can visit their town. So let’s get this straight: this is a first-party Wii game that makes direct contact with your Wii system’s friends list, and also knows for a fact which members of that list have the same game as you. Yet, to actually play with each other online you need to add them to a separate list entirely? How exactly are per-game friend codes necessary at this point? It makes absolutely no sense at all.

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4 comments

  1. I actually am quite fond of this game. I own AC for the gamecube and I think the best part of CF is the friend connections. If you want id love for anyone to visit my town!


  2. I’ve played the DS version Wild World but sounds like this one is alot like it cept you can visit friends houses. Is Kapp’n still in this game? lol


    • Yeah Kapp’n is still in this game. He drives the bus to the city. If you are a girl character he even flirts with you lol its funny. Other than that hes not in it much.


  3. This looks like a cute game lol



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