December 8th, 2005, 19:55 Posted By: wraggster
A new article from SuccessHK
Animal Crossing on the GameCube went from quirky anomaly to unstoppable epidemic in record time. It's a game about mundane activities and cutesy characters, but all in its blast radius were powerless to resist it. For the DS, not enough was done to consider Wild World a true sequel, but what has been included makes living out your virtual life even more addictive.
For those poor souls out of the loop, the events of Animal Crossing play out as such: You're a human moving into a new town, populated by animals. Day turns to night, seasons change, and residents move in and out. Meanwhile, you pay off your house, fill the museum, and choose from countless other ways to kill time.
Fortunately, there are too many ways to amuse yourself in Animal Crossing, per se. Fishing, digging holes, gossiping with neighbors, participating in special occasions, and decorating your domicile still dominate daily life. A few new tasks are added here and there -- making constellations for the observatory, watering plants, designing the town flag -- but only enough to make a little splash in the teeming pool of activity. Still, they're enough to add a few more minutes to your ritualistic daily playing.
When we say you'll be playing daily, we mean it. After all, you wouldn't want to miss out on a must-have furniture item for sale, the chance to find buried treasures, or being able to get a few Bells closer to paying off your mortgage. Unlike Nintendogs or other simulations, playing Animal Crossing never feels like a chore; it's always fun, and it's by your rules rather than those of the artificial intelligence.
Where things do get a bit different in Animal Crossing: Wild World is in the control. Literally everything you can do in Animal Crossing is accomplishable with the touch screen and stylus. There's a slight learning curve, but odds are you'll be sold on it and abandon the d-pad and buttons for the vast majority of your playtime; and it's a blessing for things like writing letters.
Little things do make a difference in a game you're bound to pour dozens if not hundreds of hours into. Traversing your town no longer uses the old-school Zelda-like separate screen design; instead, it's all one big screen where the landscape curves like a log. When selling items, you can easily pawn multiple items at a time. Without controller rumblings, finding bugs and detecting when to reel in your line are more audio-centric.
One cannot ignore the multiplayer aspects of Animal Crossing. Here, Multiplayer over Nintendo Wi-Fi is very appealing. Visit someone else's town to sample the local fruit, chat with humans, do a little sightseeing, and meet interesting animals -- some of which may even decide to move to your neck of the woods.
Nintendo wisely put a few locks on Wi-Fi multiplayer, so any old griefer can't just invade and chop down all your trees. You must get a player's character name, town name, and friend code in order to visit them. On top of that, they must have their gate open to visitors, and you can't come in if they're somewhere else. This necessitates more real-world communication, but it's really better that Nintendo err on the side of caution. You'll notice some lag when more than two humans are occupying the same town, but it's forgivable.
Animal Crossing on DS is as addictive as ever. NES games, boating to the island -- it makes up for with wireless multiplayer, touch screen control, and the little additions. Portability is also a great asset too, of course, and your power bill will thank you for it. Anyone who loved Animal Crossing on GameCube need not hesitate before picking this up. For those who missed it before, let's just say, "Welcome home." This is still a totally unique, expertly balanced gaming experience that will consume you with its clever cuteness and quirky customs.
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