When Nintendo released Animal Crossing they probably didn't expect the massive success that followed. It was a game that broke barriers and its popularity in the end forced Nintendo to release it outside the US and Japan, albeit very late. For those who haven't played the original game, Animal Crossing is very much like the Sims except with animals and a whole community to control. Animal Crossing: Wild World pretty much keeps the same formula while adding some features which makes it a truly global community of small animals to play with.
There is no real story to Animal Crossing, it's a game where you control your animal's life and make your own story. If this doesn't sound like your idea of interesting gameplay then AC is most definitely not for you but if you like having a great deal of control over character development, then that is exactly what you will find in the town of Animal Crossing. You begin by basically filling out your details and selecting whether you are a boy or girl. This doesn't greatly affect the gameplay so either choice is fine.
The best way to describe the life of animal crossing is that in many ways it mimics your own life in the real world. You live in a house you have to pay off to the local shopkeeper via work and bells, go out with friends, collect things, fish, catch bugs or just go for a walk to gossip with the neighbors. That is pretty much all that animal crossing is which, depending on your outlook, is either a good or bad thing. The first week of gameplay you will want to play it every day and get the house paid off as soon as possible as it is then upgraded, but once new animals stop moving in the game does become a little monotonous.
A typical Animal Crossing day goes like this. You wake up, collect fruit and fish, sell them, pay off the house, do some errands for animals, clean up the place and go to bed. All this can be done in around half an hour's gameplay and then it's pretty much done for the day. Considering the game revolves around the real world time, you will pretty much be unable to do anything interesting until the next day - that's right, about 12-24 hours time. This is why animal crossing is a game that not everyone can enjoy. You have to be patient.
However with that said, Animal Crossing is still one of the most incredible games we have played, especially with the new online options where you can visit other peoples towns anywhere in the world via the WiFi connection. While there have been some changes in terms of the events, most have remained. It's only the American specific ones which have been removed such as Fourth of July etc. It is a shame because even for those outside America, they were still fun events to attend. Other more specific Animal Crossing events remain such as the fishing contests and of course world holidays such as Valentines and New Years Eve. It is these events which keep the game from becoming overly stale.
The actual graphics on DS are a little weaker than the other game, but overall the game flows a lot better and the structural changes Nintendo has made to the game have made it even easier to play and get things done quick. For instance, one change is that the post office and town hall are now fully integrated allowing you to pay bills, check mail and send mail all at once, whereas in the older version this required two trips. Also from what we can tell the actual town is a little smaller making it easier to manage and get high marks in the town cleanliness awards.
The engine for the game appears to be a voxel based 3D engine and it seems to work better. Rather than freezing between screenloads, the town now has the feel of a continuous, smooth environment due to lack of load times. It wouldn't surprise us if AC DS is actually a rebuilt version of the of rumored Nintendo 64 version of the game. The visuals do the job well and we can't complain about either the graphics or sound, especially considering the fact it is now portable.
Animal Crossing DS is a game that all DS fans should look into but perhaps not purchase. It is a game that doesn't take much time to play making it perfect for traveling and short trips. It is a shame Nintendo saw fit to take out some of the events but at least it allows an almost worldwide simultaneous launch.
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