The city is a big change, but it's not really adding anything new. Yeah, there's an auction house and a shoe shiner and some of the special characters now have a permanent shop, but that's not new, it's just changing how the game works. Merely relocating shops and adding a couple new ones is not enough. Seriously, I'm only probably going to be shopping for maybe 10-20 minutes each day. (Auction house is seriously awesome, though)
Holidays are back (the ones you cared about, not that Wild World, Yay-Day crap) . Lets see, that brings this game back on par with the GameCube one? Hopefully there will be more holidays than the GameCube game. Maybe more interaction? There were so many holidays in AC where you just watched the Animals do things and sat on the sidelines (i.e Sports festival). The things that made Halloween and Thanksgiving so special was that you actually did something during those holidays. Even those holidays need an update.
Also, animal relationships in Wild World weren't that great. I never really saw a difference between the ones that did and didn't like you. Some gave you a picture, and nothing else really happened. It would be awesome if that was a feature that was more developed.
Simply, there needs to be a heck of a lot more activities for me to be satisfied. The city and holidays are great, but that's not enough to carry the game along. There needs to be more to do. Fishing, bug hunting, fossil digging, and other museum stuff are back. Great, what else? That's what made WW a dissapointment in my mind. I already experienced the crap out of all of that on the GameCube. I don't need to fork over money so I can just do that again.
So what do I want Nintendo to do? Fish, bugs, fossils, and paintings are enough things to collect in my mind. What we need is more interaction with the animals. In WW all we could do is bring up a discussion and do some chores. The same discussions came up often which got stale very quickly. The animals will need to have a large amount of things to say. Hopefully with WiiConnect24 the game can update so the animals have more to say and keep the game fresh. I think WW was on a good track with having the animals coming over to your house, but nothing really happened when they came over They just stood there and then decided to rate your house, which was kinda lame. What I was thinking maybe you could invite them over for poker night. Maybe you could play some sports with the animals in teams. Hell maybe you could coach the local sports team and play against others online. Even make team jerseys and all. Village-wide laser tag would be awesome. These are just ideas that I'm putting out there, I'm not saying the game needs these things, but the point is that the game needs more activities and more animal interaction. I was always dissapointed in the other games where characters would say "You wanna work out later?" or "Lets make a football team together." and it was just understood that it was idle chat, because you knew that would never happen.
There's a lot of potential for Animal Crossing online. None of that was really fully realized. Again, there need to be more activities to do online as well. Maybe friends can be included in those laser tag games or bring their sport team over and compete against yours? Things also need to be more, I don't know, user-friendly? How about instead of having to drop items for a trade, you could request a trade with your friend then a menu pops-up and you can offer and ask for items/bells and then the game does the swapping for you.
Granted, none of know much about the game. Nintendo could just be hiding stuff that we haven't seen. But, I believe I have reasons behind the worrying. In the interview with the developer on IGN, he was asked something along the lines of "Fans are worried that it's the same, should they?" and he said "They can change their sleeves and dress to go to the city." Am I going to be changing my sleeves for an hour? He could just be hiding stuff or easily impressed by this addition, but if there were other new things, that wouldn't be the example I would use to appease the people who are worried.
I get the impression that this game will sell well regardless of the quality, so Nintendo really doesn't need to make huge changes either. Yes, I realize, Nintendo could be hiding stuff, and I bet they still are. That's what I thought about Wild World before it came out too, but I was very dissapointed. Some major additions need to happen to the formula for me to be satisfied.
I think scores should be removed altogether so people actually read the review. So many people just look at the score and forget the point of the review. Then the world wouldn't go crazy when Twilight Princess gets an 8.8. I like the 5 star system more for all the reasons Jeff stated, but people will still go crazy when Twilight Princess only gets 4 stars.