Animal Crossing: Wild World Review for Nintendo DS
Posted on Sunday, December 25, 2005 @ 07:52:38 pm E.S.T
The daily monotony of everyday life can bring down any individual: waking up, cleaning, eating, going to work, coming home, and sleeping. But for some, delving into a virtual life can be more satisfying and warm than this blue-green ellipse dubbed Earth. Enter the universe of Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. After success on the Gamecube, the console haven is now accessible on the go. Wild World is a resounding success, coming out of the transfer glowing, with only a few scuffs.
No one truly knows how to define the enigma that is Animal Crossing. The very concept is brain-crushingly absurd: the player moves to a village where every occupant is an anthropomorphic ne'er-do-well, all the while the player is trying to pay off a gross mortgage to a raccoon in an apron with fruit and sea bass. As bizarre as the idea is, it works just as well on the portable iteration as on the Cube. In actuality, it is better in multiple respects.
But with the premise in mind, what is the point of Animal Crossing? Like any other game of its kind, the point of Animal Crossing is provide the freedom to do whatever you feel like doing. This said, the game carries over all of the activities of the console version, sans a few. Whether it be collecting various items (fossils and furniture), hunting (fish and insects), or socializing with the local menagerie, this title gives the player plenty to do. However, it must be said that a lot of things were lost in the transfer as well - specifically, the highly valued NES games and many of the gameís holidays; nearly all of the ďheard ofĒ holidays were scrapped in favor of a more international feel. The charm of Animal Crossing is found in its simplistic yet deep gameplay, and this entry to the franchise retains just that.
Only minor things were really added to the flavor with one exception - the inclusion of online play is a very welcomed feature to this title, as its very concept screams for it. In short, players who exchange each otherís Friend Code and character information can now visit each otherís villages via the Nintendo WiFi connection. Players from all parts of the globe can now swap fruit, bug villagers, leave divots around the village, compete in fish-offs and bug-offs, swap messages, and anything else they can think of. However, there are still some areas lacking. For example, the only way for players to communicate is to manually type out their messages on the touch screen. This process can be cumbersome, and the lack of any microphone support doesn't help. Also, there are some strange limitations set when visitors are over. Players canít together visit K.K. Slider to jam out to a tune, edit their house or move their possessions around. These are minor complaints, but lead to a rather confusing time. With the whole scope in mind though, Wild World does retain the addictiveness of its predecessor.
Part of what is so glamour about Wild World is that it has a near identical look and aesthetic to the Gamecube version. All of the villagers have that same quirky style and show a great amount of emotion, guaranteed to foster an emotional connection with the player. Paired with some excellent writing, players who develop a favorite animal friend is the norm. The skyline, which comprises the entire top screen of the DS, shows off the weather conditions of snow, rain, and sunshine as it falls on the town. The water and textures of the land also change with the seasons and do a superb job of representing the mood of the real world. As Wild World is a game designed to be played year round, the fact that there are very frequent changes to the atmosphere of the town truly make the title feel like it is its own little world. This being said, the game still looks like an N64 creation. With the power of the Nintendo DS hardware, it is satisfying to glare at during several hours of play but not spectacular in any syllable of the word.
Animalese, the speech engine that uses incredibly short sounds for every letter of the alphabet is still in use in Wild World. Itís one of the things that showcase a quite competent audio presentation. Each hour of every day has its own background tune that is typically quite soothing. This is not to say that one will be humming the tunes around the house, but they will not compel the player to roll the volume back either. There are many audio clues in Wild World that are used to help the player out. When roaming around the village, insects are usually first detected by the sound, not by sight. The sound of the ďplunkĒ of the lure when fishing helps out tremendously when trying to reel in the big lunkers. Even the snow has that correct compacted feel that we all know and hear during the cold winter months. But, of course, K.K. Sliderís ripping tunes are the catchiest of them all and are probably one of the most sought after collectibles in the game. With all of these factors, the audio is quite an integral part of the title.
But to anyone familiar with the fact that the towns in the cartridge follow the real time clock, Animal Crossing has an incredibly high replay value. In fact, played at the right lengths every day, it is quite feasible to play this world for 365 days straight. Each day contains new things to buy, new tasks to complete, and new foreigners to deal with. Needless to say, if Animal Crossing is liked, Animal Crossing will be played quite a great deal. With that said, it is quite difficult to play this game for a great many hours in a row as the player will be reduced to just fishing or other endless tasks. Overall though, this game is ideal for replay-ability as it has no true end.
After the Wild World has been played once, it is incredibly likely to be played again as it showcases all the things that made the original title worth owning. There are always mortgages to pay, things to buy, fish to catch, and just general busy work that makes it hard to put down Animal Crossing. This all comes together to create a great game that newcomers and veterans of the series alike will connect with. In general terms, it as simple as the following: it is a portable, online Animal Crossing game. Rock on.
Review By: Flamecuber - 434 Reads
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