E3 2008

E3 2008: Animal Crossing: City Folk

Susan Arendt | 15 Jul 2008 23:45
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Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii is a better looking, slightly larger version of the DS version, and is just as adorable and addictive as ever.

If you've spent any time with previous versions of Animal Crossing, especially Wild World on the Ds, you'll feel right at home with City Folk. It has the same spherical environment that slopes away into the distance, the same cheerful landscape full of trees heavy with fruit and colorful flowers. City Folk isn't a huge step forward for Animal Crossing, nor does it really have to be.

The graphics are the most obvious improvement to the game. City Folk is much brighter and more crisp than previous Animal Crossings, and gone are the jaggies that made the GameCube version a bit on the ugly side.

Your town will be full of familiar landmarks like the library and police station, but it now also has a bus stop located near the town gate. Catching the bus will take you into the city, where you can visit characters that used to visit your town periodically, such as Gracie the fashion designer or Katrina the fortune teller. These characters' roles have been expanded somewhat - Lyle the insurance salesman now also recruits for the Happy Room Academy, for example.

The reps I spoke with weren't sure whether or not the city residents would still stop by and visit your town, or if there would be new characters dropping by in their place, but residents from your town will occasionally hang out in the city.

One of the drawbacks to Animal Crossing has always been the relative stupidity of the NPCs. It didn't take long for you to meet all of the various personality types (the cranky one, the cheerful one, the sleepy one) and run through all of the dialog options. After just a few hours of playing, you'd had just about every conversation you were ever going to have in the game. Fortunately, the dialog options have been greatly expanded in City Folk, which will hopefully keep the conversation with your neighbors fresh for much longer.

You can invite up to four friends to come visit you in town, though you'll have to use Friend Codes to make it all work. You can use the Wii Speak microphone to chat while you're visiting, but it's optional. The Wii Speak won't be bundled with the game, so you'll have to pay extra if you want to jaw with your pals.

Animal Crossing: City Folk is a somewhat expanded, slightly polished version of Animal Crossing, so you probably already know if you'll like it or not. In my case, that means I'll be utterly obsessed with catching all of the new fish, planting the perfect garden, and collecting all the furniture.

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