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Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) artwork

Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) review

"Australian's buying this game should beware - the much advertised transfer of your Animal Crossing Wild World character to this new game will not work. Why? Because our version of the DS game was a re-labled US version. While the DS games have region codes, it usually doesn't matter because it isn't region locked. Nintendo of Australia took a shortcut a few years ago, and this means that PAL copies of Animal Crossing "Let's Go To The City" will not recognise our copies of Wild World. "

Australian's buying this game should beware - the much advertised transfer of your Animal Crossing Wild World character to this new game will not work. Why? Because our version of the DS game was a re-labled US version. While the DS games have region codes, it usually doesn't matter because it isn't region locked. Nintendo of Australia took a shortcut a few years ago, and this means that PAL copies of Animal Crossing "Let's Go To The City" will not recognise our copies of Wild World.

I learned this the hard way, wondering why on earth the transfer of my character and item catalogue wouldn't work. I tried everything, restarting the DS, the Wii, inserting and removing the DS cart, but nothing worked. My DS game wasn't corrupted - it worked fine. I eventually gave up and started a new character, but before I played, I went on the Internet and did a little research. I was not impressed. All Australians would have this problem.

So, one of the features of this game simply did not work. Nintendo have acknowledged the problem, but I'd like to see them actually try to do something. A patch? An update? Maybe putting an end to this whole region lock nonsense once and for all? No. They won't do that.

I hadn't even started the game and I already felt like I'd wasted my money. I was annoyed. But I pressed on. The other main feature of this new game, the titular "City" was there, and I wanted to see what it was like. Before going there, though, I was subjected to the usual tutorial. Work for Nook, learn the basics of the game. It is unchanged from last time, and since I've been through this before, I knew what to expect. Sure, some of the dialogue may have been altered slightly, but there was nothing different.

Choosing a house was different, though. There are four in town, scattered around the place, which is a nice idea. Better than having the four houses in one area like in the GameCube version, and better than the single house that was somewhat randomly placed in the DS version. I was able to choose a nice house by the beach, not too far from Nook. I quite like fishing in Animal Crossing, and this would make that a lot easier.

Once I was free from Nook, I made my way around town. There's fewer dialogue choices with the other residents. They just say their thing and move on. And, very quickly, they start repeating themselves. There aren't many options in conversation like their used to be. The only time a resident asked me for any input was when they wanted to change their unique greeting or word that they said. Nintendo wouldn't let me put any swear words in there, so I usually just left them alone.

Within a day, I stopped bothering to chat with my animal neighbours. For a communication game, that seemed rather sad.

And as I wandered around town, I noticed the music. It was exactly the same as the DS version, perhaps slightly enhanced. Eventually, I realised that all the music was the same. It isn't bad music, at all, but after 3 years on the DS, isn't it time for a new set of tracks? The DS had different music to the GC version. The graphics aren't much of an improvement on the 2001 GameCube version, either.

That sinking feeling that I'd wasted my money was stronger than ever.

And do you know what else? The Wiimote plus nunchuck is an incredibly uncomfortable way to play this game. You don't need to worry about any motion controls, but it's still tiring. A lot of the time I'd leave the remote in my lap and just use the nunchuck control stick to get around. I really wanted to use my GameCube controller, or the Classic Controller at least. The game does have motion controls, but they're useless. Point the cursor onto the screen and you can open the menu. The only two you'll ever likely use are your inventory and map, and those are on either end, so pressing the - or + on the Wiimote will bring those ones up. Pressing A on the screen makes your character move there, but it is pretty painful. Opening doors or talking to people is annoying if you aren't spot on with your aiming. That's why using the nunchuck as a regular controller works better.

Fishing and bug catching? Well, there's more fish and there's more bugs. But the essence is still exactly the same. Can't really complain about that, except that catching fish takes a lot more patience than it used to. And with the uncomfortable controls, it is nowhere near as relaxing as it used to be.

There's more fossils in the ground, too. I dug up part of a Velociraptor on my first day, and I was mildly impressed. The museum is still the same as ever, except that Blathers now blathers on more and more, and when you're turning up every day to get him to check your fossils, it can be irritating to skip through the long dialogue every time.

There's one minor improvement at the Post Office, too. An ATM, where you can organise your bank account or pay your mortgage. A nice touch, but a fairly unimportant one.

Once I'd finally earned myself a respectable amount of money, I thought "Let's go to the city!" thinking of the awful renaming of the Australian version of this game. City Folk had a nice, easy ring to it. Not sure why Nintendo of Australia felt the need to change that. If they were going to change titles, why not: Animal Crossing: Your DS game is NOT COMPATIBLE?

Anyway, the city comprises of a few shops with random animal neighbours wandering around. It's useful to be able to go to shop at Red's when you want, but I suspect he only rotates his stock once a week. He still sold me a forged painting. There's a cinema that never has any good movies on, just that emotions guy doing a quick show to teach you a new emotion hotkey. Pretty pointless. The Happy Room Academy is also there, where you can see a sample room of the month... Lyle is also there, a welcome change. Now you can ignore him completely if you never bother to go in there, and there's not much reason to beyond the first visit.

GracieGrace sells overpriced furniture and clothes that look awful. A skunk sits on some steps and offers to shine your shoes for a price. There's a hairdressers where you can change your hairstyle, or get one of your Mii's faces on your character. It looks creepy, and out of place in this game, but some people might really like this for the range of customisation this allows. And finally, the useless Fortune Teller can be found in the city. And there's an Auction house I haven't used, so I'm not sure how pointless it is.

And that's it. I've been to the city twice since I bought the game, and I only went the second time because nothing was open the first time I went (too early in the morning).

Within four days, I grew sick of this game. I'd played the first game for a few months before getting sick of it, and I never really tired of the DS version. Perhaps if I didn't have to start over with my catalogue of furniture, clothing and all, I would've been able to fit right in. But I did not want to start over, and if I did, I was looking for a different experience, but I didn't get it.

Animal Crossing: City Folk is more of the same. But more has never felt so much like less.

If you've never played an Animal Crossing before, add 4 to the score.

jerec's avatar
Community review by jerec (January 10, 2009)

On very rare occasions, Jerec finds a game that inspires him to write stuff about. The rest of the time he just hangs around being sarcastic.

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bloomer posted January 11, 2009:

I am shocked and appalled!

I got this for xmas but haven't put it in yet. But I really thought that with Nintendo doing this, and Animal Crossing just being one of the finest games ever, they wouldn't just do an unchanged retread. Is that what you're saying it is? I don't even have untransferable data but your review makes me depressed. Though it was funny at other times.

Re: the title. I feel that the 2 different titles actually suggest different things.

'City Folk' sounds like the subject of the game is people who live in the city, though maybe as perceived mentally by people who don't.

'Let's Go To The City!' makes it clear it's about people who don't live in the city, but maybe think it'd be cool to go there. So actually I think this is a more accurate title.

One of the bumpkins hails a bus and says, 'ARE YOU GOING TO THE CITY?' When the driver says yes, the bumpkin says, 'WHAT'S IT LIKE? DO THEY HAVE MACHINES THERE?'
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jerec posted January 11, 2009:

Well, yeah, "Let's go to the City" is perhaps the more accurate title, since you simply catch the bus there. But you travel there on your own, so the title makes you think you might be talking to some imaginary friend.

But yeah, the game is practically identical to the two games that preceeded it.

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