November 21, 2005Written by:
Back in 2001 Nintendo, released their new system, the Nintendo GameCube. One of the titles that came with the launch of the system was Animal Crossing. A simple, yet addictive game, It became a must have for GCN owners. Soon enough enormous amounts of people were making their very own village, taking care of their friends and staying away from Tom Nook. For most people this was the first time they had seen this game, little did they know it had come out before, on a different system.
Think back, way back. In the days when you held that three pronged controller and played the legendary Zelda game or that amazing Mario hit. Yes back when the Nintendo 64 was still around Animal Crossing was on the system, under a different name then we know it to be now. Animal Forest was released late in the N64 age, by then the system had almost died and many people thought it was Nintendo’s attempt on the Sims. But Nintendo didn’t take that lightly; the development team went back to the drawing board.
Then when the game was released for the GCN critics all agreed this was nothing like the previous iteration of the game. It had better graphics, more things to do and gave the first reason to own a GCN. The game wasn’t being compared to the Sims or Harvest Moon any more. Well in one way it was, many critics liked Animal Crossing more than any Harvest Moon game. Still with only it’s second game in the series it couldn’t be able to touch the Sims, most people put it in a different category all together. It was a simulation but wasn’t the same kind of simulator as the Sims was.
At E3 in 2004 when the DS was first shown Animal Crossing DS was there, just not playable. Then at E3 2005 we were treated to the fact that we would be able to take our actual friends online. Also it showed that Nintendo had made a massive overhaul on what was shown at the previous E3. The game looked better and made good use of the Dual Screens. Also later on the Revolution version of the game was announced. Soon enough gamers were wondering what the connectivity between the two games could do. I still don’t have an answer to that but I can tell you much more about the DS title itself. Soon it will be time to pick up the shovel, grab the fishing rod and start pulling weeds. But it is a video game, so expect maximum entertainment.
Animal Crossing was a fantastic game on it’s own. After waiting that year we finally have it to take around in our pocket. Soon you will be buying stuff from Tom Nook and working for him, soon you will be building your house. But how you may ask yourself. Well the touch screen has uses, as does the top screen, you will find almost everything that you loved from the old game and some new things. The graphics are good for the system, they are not GCN good but they aren’t what would be shown on something like the N64. It is about in the middle like most 3D games on the DS.
Still the backgrounds look amazing, the sky is looking really nice with its hand drawn graphics. The 3D models are also nice; the game should be pushing the DS frame limit as well. Each character has that cartoonist look that sets it apart from other simulation games. Their clothes show up nice no matter what you put on them. The ground looks like someone has almost drawn it. Yet one of the coolest graphical uses in this game is the tilting camera. Although some people will definitely not like the camera angle I think it adds an extra dimension to the game. What happens is when you walk around the town is that the camera tilts as if you were walking on a giant ball. It is not easy to notice but it does make the graphics a little bit better looking. And don’t worry about those scratches on your screen they won’t show up on a game as bright as this.
The uses of the touch screen vary, making for a more diverse experience. You will be able to take a few bells and head over to make some new clothes, like in the previous game. Yet in this game it is much easier to make due to the touch screen and stylus. Simply click your color of choice, and mark on the grid as needed. Soon enough you will make clothes much better looking than the ones you were able to make in the previous installment of the Animal Crossing series.
Then of course you have your inventory management. You have your spots where the items will go then simply click on them to use the item of your choice. Unfortunately there is no way to control your character with the stylus; the D-pad and buttons are going to take care of that. No matter little touch screen innovations brought to the game make the whole experience worthwhile. Also as you collect hats and different clothing you will be able to click that and your character will swing strait around and try on the outfits. You will also be able to check your mail on the touch screen (more on that in the wi-fi section). Also when you go out with your friends in a village a keyboard is set on the touch screen to send messages or post notes on the town board.
Also the two screens will have different functions. Keeping your inventory on the bottom screen is one but you will also alternate between having the action on the top screen or the bottom. You really only need to click the inventory when you are changing things. So while venturing around town the camera will switch to put you on the bottom and have the sky on the top. The game designers have said the sky will have many different uses but they revealed one, when the mail bird is flying by you will be able to shoot something at him and he will drop your mail on the ground ahead. When we get the game there will be more features.
Multi-player and particularly Wi-Fi are the most important and intriguing parts of the game. Yes you will be able to take your friends online and show them your village from your house but how will it work? Well we will get to that a little later but for now let us speak of the benefits of online gaming with Animal Crossing DS.
First off when you take your copy of Animal Crossing DS on the net you will only be able to have 4 of your friends at any given village at the time. But you can all only be in the host’s village. Also since you might want security, when a person comes in to your village the gates will stay locked until you decide if they are allowed in your village or not. That way in this game you only let the people you want in your village.
Online is a great thing especially for a game like this. You and your friends can take a trip out fishing or just take a tour of the houses in the village. Although Iwata said the game has no competition in it there truly is. There are countless amounts of hats to unlock and buy in the game. You when you strut into town with that brand new rare sombrero your friends will get jealous. Also all the gold items are still unlockable.
Even though there will be no NES games as unlockable online will easily fill that void. To add even more variety you get to completely deck out your character. First off you will decide which gender you want your character to be, from there you go and basically do anything. You do all haircuts, unless you want a certain cut that you have saved at the hairdressers. You can choose to grow it long, shave your head or even sport a Mohawk (note: you can dye your hair). So you will most likely not be mistaken for another person.
How does the online work you ask? Well here is what most people are guessing what will happen. First off you should receive a driver disk with your copy of Animal Crossing DS, load it up in your computer, it will send all the code and whatnot into the router and computer to confirm you own the game. Then when the game is in play it should send off a signal to your router, the router will know that it is animal crossing and take you online. Also you will be able to buy a first party USB cable, which will take you online without the need of a router. But you will have to sit beside your computer if you use the USB cable. Now I am not sure how it will work in public areas but Nintendo should reveal everything before the release in November.
For those of you new to the Animal Crossing series, you will be taking charge of a village and you will slowly build up your home. You will have to do jobs for your employer, Tom Nook, a raccoon that seems to rip you off and take your pay in some way. Also you can fish and sell the fish for your bells (money). You will also meet animal friends in the village (hence the title Animal Crossing). All should end up being quite the experience adding online play!
Also I promised you here is that exclusive info:
- Nook's store will be bigger.
- Nook's store will also has a beauty salon, that’s how you customize your hair.
- ALL "the Buildings have changed."
- "The game will use the internal clock, and events will still happen. Regarding different time zones, the host of the game is the real time. So if the host's time is 3.42pm and the players are 1.42pm, the actual in-game time will be 3.42pm."
So close, so close I can almost play it. I can’t wait for Animal Crossing DS it is going to be a truly amazing game and I can’t wait for it’s release. Actually the release is slightly ironic. For the day this title come out is the day the DS was released last year. That’s right November 21st you will be able to pick up your very own copy of Animal Crossing DS. Hope you enjoyed this preview!
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