City Folk just seems like a huge missed opportunity to improve and enhance the series in almost every possible way.
Somehow, despite two previous time-sucking outings into the open world of Animal Crossing -- each fully preparing me for what to expect in a sequel -- City Folk still rouses some excitement at the prospect of collecting more rare furniture, fossils, and that one elusive bug or fish. But all of this quickly subsides upon your introduction to Tom Nook, everyone's favorite predatory lender. That's when the realization quickly sets in: This is all just the same old routine with extra goodies that do little to change things in any meaningful way.
Actually, City Folk deserves some credit for trying to mitigate the painful process of collecting the same items all over again by letting you import save data from Animal Crossing: Wild World. This feature essentially makes most pieces of furniture, wallpaper, carpets, and special items from the former game immediately available in Tom Nook's store catalog. No, it doesn't make your house larger, nor does it automatically fill Blathers' museum with Wild World's artifacts or constellations -- which makes sense, since you need a reason to actually play this game -- but it's nice that all those hours spent in Wild World haven't completely gone to waste. You still have to earn bells to purchase these old items and replenish your collection on top of paying your debt to Mr. Nook.
City Folk introduces no interesting ways to navigate these processes, though. You get to engage in the same usual techniques -- the slow and methodical selling of extra items or excess fish, insects, fossils, and fruit...or the quick-and-dirty transfer of funds from a wealthier player in another town. In fact -- thanks to a new neighboring city area filled with storefronts -- City Folk largely delivers more creative ways to spend bells than to make them. Sadly, some of its establishments and patrons are simple retreads of storefronts and characters from previous Animal Crossing games?the theater's now where you learn emotes from Dr. Shrunk, while the shady store is actually just Redd's. And does Animal Crossing really need another store with even more overpriced goods?
The auction house is one of the few reasons to return to the city, as auctions commence at specific times during the week. Not only can you put your own items up, but you can also bid on other items beamed across WiiConnect 24 from other towns. The Happy Room Academy office is another point of interest, if not for the sole reason that you can get a better idea of what makes a good room, and even get ideas from sample rooms that appear in the back area of the building. Aside from that, the city area's pretty lacking -- even the other visitors provide little incentive to make more than one trip per day (if that), since they all tend to repeat the same things over and over, and rarely give any useful information or insight into upcoming events. And it certainly doesn't help the city becomes unavailable when visiting another player's town -- if you want to visit, you have to go back to your own town and then hop onto the bus.
Still, online play is definitely worth jumping into, especially if you've shelled out for the WiiSpeak speakerphone peripheral. During most of our online experience, voices came in loud and clear. Lag was hardly an issue, but it's worth pointing out that this feature makes emotes (and to a lesser extent, bulletin board posts and letters) less useful. It's also fun to see what friends are up to, and to see if they're willing to part with items missing from your own collection. Of course, the process of entering Wii friend codes is still relatively clunky; it would've been nice for the city area to have served as some sort of online meet-up hub.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: Do you really wanna spend the time doing all of the things you already spent so much time on in Wild World? And do you want to do them in almost the exact same ways? City Folk just seems like a huge missed opportunity?either that, or a lazy cash-in on Nintendo's newfound casual audience. If it's the former, they ought to just call it Wii Mortgage Payments.
A C for AC, how does that sound? At least it rhymes.
Proud poster of the 10000th reply at the Official Smash Bros Update Thread.
tag - "I wouldn't trust gamespot, even if it was a live comparison."
Bets with Conegamer:
Pandora's Tower will have an opening week of less than 37k in Japan. (Won!)
Pandora's Tower will sell less than 100k lifetime in Japan.
Stakes: 1 week of avatar control for each one.