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Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS) artwork

Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS) review

" A long, long time ago on the Dreamcast there was a game called Shenmue. Not many people remember much about Shenmue, but it was a game where you played as a young Chinese man attempting to avenge his father's death by buying furniture for his house. While the concept was nonsensical, the game sold, as would its XBox sequel. Enter Nintendo. With the doomed failure that was the N64, Nintendo decided that it had to do something to boost sales, and released Doubutsu No Mori, a direct ripoff of Shen..."

A long, long time ago on the Dreamcast there was a game called Shenmue. Not many people remember much about Shenmue, but it was a game where you played as a young Chinese man attempting to avenge his father's death by buying furniture for his house. While the concept was nonsensical, the game sold, as would its XBox sequel. Enter Nintendo. With the doomed failure that was the N64, Nintendo decided that it had to do something to boost sales, and released Doubutsu No Mori, a direct ripoff of Shenmue that was later ported to GameCube as Animal Crossing, and sold thousands of copies in America. Then the DS comes out with a lackluster game library, and Nintendo did what it does best - remade an old cash-dog.

And that's exactly what Animal Crossing: Wild World is, an exact remake of the cash-dog that was Doubutsu No Mori. Sure, there's added features and Nintendo fixed some of the most annoying parts of the original, but the game's N64 heritage shows right through, in the half-baked gameplay and graphics that don't even do the DS justice. In case you've never played Shenmue or the original Animal Crossing, the game is of the free-form and pointless variety. You play as a nondescript thing that looks vaguely human, who lives in a small village populated by animals. By doing various chores, you can buy furniture for your house and ultimately expand your house from a shack to a bigger shack. Much of the game's value comes from the large amount of random events that happen - finding the last piece of furniture you need to complete a set or finally paying off your last home loan. To sweeten the deal, Nintendo added in more items and blatantly whored their corporate connection with McDonalds by practically forcing the use of wi-fi to get anywhere in the game - without it, the game practically forces you to cheat.

The biggest example of Nintendo's wi-fi whoring is in the "random" events that take place in your town. For instance, all the pieces of furniture in the game are divided into three huge groups - A, B, and C. During creation, your town is assigned to one of these groups, meaning that it will have a very high chance of you finding an item from that group in your shop or getting one from one of your animal neighbours. However, this system is practically the same thing as the original Pokemon games - if you have a C town, you will practically NEVER find items from groups A and B without cheating. However, if you were to either provide your own internet connection or (wink wink) go down to your local McDonalds to use their wi-fi while paying $5.50 for a burger and fries, you could easily find items from the other groups by visiting other players' towns. While this may seem like a decent deal, especially if you can provide your own connection, the wi-fi play is horrid - the community is worse than Counterstrike's, and the multiplay is lacking at best.

You see, Animal Crossing's online play is absolutely the worst ever. You cannot simply host a server and let other people visit, unless you've exchanged "friend codes" and everyone has a halfway decent wi-fi signal. On top of that, the wi-fi is extremely temperamental, to the point where most people can only get one player at a time in their town without having router issues from both ends. The wi-fi isn't even worth the half-hour it can take to set up, because the game's online community is so bad. You see, for every good player out there who would gladly let you catalog (a process by which you can order any item from your shop that you've ever had in your inventory) their items for free, there are ten bell-sellers and other assorted losers. Bell-sellers are near the top of the list of losers - they're the people who have their town buying turnips (the Animal Crossing representation of the stock market) for high amounts of bells (the in-game currency), yet charge several million bells just to get in their town. On top of those, you have the would-be mafiosos, people who come into others' towns just to wreak havoc. Generally they'll come in, not say anything, and immediately begin destroying your town. Sure, you can use the in-game save while in online play, but most of these people are also hackers, using a script built into a GBA flash cart to allow them to do anything they'd like to your town with no repercussions. Sadly, there are huge groups of these people, and like the cult of Topology, they'll find your weaknesses and keep coming into your town until they've driven you to writing calculus on the walls at night. Top that off with scammers and game-crashers, and you've got enough reasons to lock your town gates and throw away the key. Even if you get a friend in your town, it's practically impossible to communicate, apart from the one-line at a time text messaging the game allows that censors words like "sony" and "playstation" at Nintendo's whim. The absolute worst part about wi-fi play, however, is that it's absolutely required to obtain several key things in your town, not the least of which are the biggest shop and three different in-game events, each of which results in rare furniture that cannot be obtained any other way. Also, wi-fi play is incredibly limited - you can't do most things with someone else in your town (including moving furniture in your house).

As if the terrible practically required wi-fi play weren't bad enough, the single player mode absolutely blows. Everything in the game is done in real-time, which means the game will last you about a month before you get bored of the extremely slow pace at which things happen and begin to just stop caring. Also, ninety percent of the events in the game revolve around bells, and the only way to obtain bells is by doing constant, repetitive, and thoroughly boring chores - things like going through your town for two hours picking all the fruit (which you can only do every three days) and digging up fossils and gyroids (small clay music-making dolls) to sell for a pitiful sum of bells. However, if you do it right, you can easily make two or three hundred thousand bells every three days. The problem is, doing it right makes the game much shorter, and ruins most of the supposed value the game had to begin with. In contrast, the bell values you're expected to pay out are unbelieveable - it takes almost four million bells to get the biggest house, and most furniture sells for around five thousand bells (unless you buy it on wi-fi where the prices are horribly gouged but you can get practically anything you want instantly).

The other departments where Animal Crossing disappoints are graphics and sound. The DS's main selling point was that it would have graphics on par with, if not better than the GameCube. Animal Crossing definitely does not meet up to this quota, with all the models in the game being very simple, to the point where you can count the polygons on most pieces of furniture and on most of the neighbours. Besides that, the entire game takes place from an incredibly skewed unmovable camera angle, which lets items disappear behind trees and can make it practically impossible to find anything, including the fruit you shook off a tree five seconds ago. While you can control the camera angle in the house, you can never move it close enough to allow a good look at the furniture. The top screen is never used, except for two small events that are practically meaningless. Another small nitpick: the game's developers suck at matching the interiors of a house with the exteriors, a blatant example being the biggest obtainable house, which has three windows on the upper level on the outside but only one room up there on the inside, and the left room of the house, which has a chimney on the outside where there's a window on the inside. As if the graphics weren't bad enough, Animal Crossing's sound is the worst thing ever heard in any game ever, bar none. You see, the animals do not have voices - no one in the game does. Instead, they make a bunch of repetitive squeaky noises which are enough to drive anyone insane. The background music is loud and obnoxious techno that's apparently only thirty seconds long and loops constantly. Sure, you can customize the music in your house, which is slightly better than the rest of the game's sounds, but still sounds like a random assortment of squeaks. It's highly reccomended that you mute the DS's volume, lest you wind up like bluberry. If you DO leave it on, be sure to remove all markers and other writing implements from your bedroom.

Simply put, Animal Crossing: Wild World is a game that should be avoided at all costs. If you own a DS, spend your money on something worth it, like Phoenix Wright. If you're unfortunate enough to own this game, peddle it off onto some unsuspecting victim, unless you want to become like bluberry.

One final note: if you buy this horrid piece of crap for some reason, note that the wifi play is known to delete data at random, and that Nintendo refuses to acknowledge this problem.


timrod's avatar
Community review by timrod (January 20, 2006)

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kyra_ posted July 07, 2011:

I know what you mean as far as expence goes, I was shocked at the ammount of money they charge for stupid things considering it takes a long time to get bells. I do really like this game though, some of my friends have it and we have good fun on there. I think its just to do with personal preferences, I love how laid back the game is, I can't die, It's easy and I feel completely relaxed playing it - most other games require you to actually do things which gives me game-play anxiety. :)

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