|Release: TBA 2012|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
I'm going to be honest here: Animal Crossing for the 3DS terrifies me. I have already spent more time on Animal Crossing for the GameCube and the Wii than any God-fearing human being should be comfortable admitting. Now the game is portable and in high definition 3D. Yep, my life is over.
So let's go over some of the brand new features that are being added to this time sink that is sure to act as our slave master for the next few years. First of all, the entire game has had a graphical overhaul. Just in case you didn't think previous Animal Crossings were cutesy and cartoony enough, the colors have become even brighter and more vibrant, while taking on a pastel storybook shade. Character models have been revamped, becoming taller and more anatomically correct (though their heads are still rather humongous.) They actually look more like Miis than the squat-bodied Animal Crossing characters of old. The environments have been given a graphical facelift as well. Trees are taller and more three-dimensional. Grass, flowers, and snow are more than just flat textures, and time passes more smoothly with gradual lighting changes accentuating the world around you.
However, there are more than just graphical changes in store for the environments. The villages of Animal Crossing 3DS are far more complex in layout, perhaps even more complex than in Animal Crossing City Folk. The villages will hold more villagers than ever before, including several of your favorites like K.K. Slider and Mr. Resetti. Not only that, but the villages will change as the seasons do. Certain areas will only be accessible in winter or spring. Lakes can be walked on when frozen in cold weather, or swam in during warm weather. (Oh, yeah, you can now swim in any body of water.) You might even find rare shells or sunken treasure if you are courageous enough to dive to the bottom. Your old friend Tom Nook will be more than happy to pay you a hefty price in order to take all your deep sea wonders off your hands.
The Animal Crossing 3DS trailers that we have seen so far show many new items that we haven't seen in previous Animal Crossing games. The trailers show benches that you can sit on and talk with villagers, lampposts, strange wooden boxes, and even farming tools that you seem to be able to use in a more Harvest Moon-like capacity.
For those of you who are obsessed with having the perfect house, Animal Crossing 3DS allows you way more customization than ever before. You can hang things on your walls, choose what the interior of your house looks like, and select from several new items to put anywhere you like. Unfortunately, you start in a tent this time around, so you are going to have to work your way up to an actual house. Character customization has also been overhauled, allowing you to change your character's hat, shirt, shoes, pants, and accessory. The engine is flexible enough that the guys at Nintendo were able to make their personal characters look like Link.
Nintendo is also going to integrate the 3DS' wi-fi and StreetPass capabilities into the game as well. For example, you will be able to visit the houses of other gamers you have passed with StreetPass. Nintendo has said we can look forward to other "robust communication features," but has been pretty mum on what these are exactly. It's probably safe to assume that there will be some online functionality integrated as well.
Then, of course, there is the stereoscopic 3D. Honestly, most 3DS games hurt my eyes, but Animal Crossing seems very relaxing. I saw the game at E3, and I have to say that the 3D is mostly used to give the world a sense of depth. Things don't fly out at you in Animal Crossing 3DS. Instead, the world simply has this gentle curve to it that slopes into the background, and being able to see that in actual depth draws you into the game a bit more.
Overall, there isn't much to say about Animal Crossing 3DS. The basic format of the game is pretty much the same as every Animal Crossing game that's come before it. It's going to ask you to live your life in a cartoon world based around the 3DS' internal clock, just like you did before. It's going to ask you to make friends and pay off your debts just like you did before. It's going to ask you to play the game on Christmas to get a special item, just like it did before. However, this time you can take the game with you to your Grandma's house rather than staying inside locked away from your family.
It's bigger, it's brighter, it has better graphics, and it's portable. It's pretty much everything Animal Crossing fans wanted it to be.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer