No, that’s not an insult, that’s just one of the new play modes in The Sims for Xbox. In The Sims, players customize their own family and help them live out their lives.
Whether they succeed in life, or die horrible deaths is completely up to you. Everything from urinating to “playing in bed” is controlled by the player. There are no other games like this, and it makes a great addition to the Xbox’s action-oriented library.
There are two single player modes in The Sims. In “get a life ” mode, sims complete various goals to advance in life. These goals include activities such as raising your career level, cleaning the house, and borrowing money from your mother. After completing the goals a new house is unlocked, and the sim is assigned new objectives. Even though this might sound boring, it proves extremely addicting. The ability to receive a new house provides a great incentive to complete the goals. This mode alone should cause fans of the PC version to buy it for the Xbox. The second mode of play comes straight from the computer version. It is completely open-ended and does not include objectives or scenarios. This mode also allows for complete customization of the house and the furniture inside. The only down side of the building mode is that 2 story houses cannot be built (no sun bathing naked on the balcony!). Unlike the “get a life” mode, the open-ended game can become extremely repetitive after a few hours.
The 2-player mode is exclusive to the console versions of The Sims. The screen is split vertically, and players are pitted against one another in free play mode and various scenarios. What should be fun is actually extremely tedious. Battling for the most friends and museum donations gets boring quickly. The fact that you have to unlock these scenarios is even worse.
The number of objects included in The Sims isn’t overwhelming, but it does the job. Unfortunately, most expansion packs were not included ( sorry no pets or vacations). The console version of the sims does have exclusive objects though, many of which need to be unlocked through the “get a life ” mode. Some of these objects, such as the strip poker table can provide hours of entertainment. The only thing lacking in this department is downloadable content. Hopefully, with the Xbox’s hard drive, expansion packs will be released.
The controls, graphics, and sound are all good for the most part. The Xbox controller does an excellent job of replacing the mouse, and pc players will adjust to it quickly. It is surprisingly easy to switch form player to player. Now and then targeting an item will be hard, but this does not detract from the fun. The graphics have improved greatly from the computer version, and are now in full 3D. They are not eye poppingly fantastic, but they are perfect for The Sims. Instead of being limited to a few angles, you can now watch your sims talk, eat, and even sleep from every possible viewpoint. The sound is average, making the appropriate household noises when needed. The sims still speak in simmish, and usually repeat the same phrases over and over again. For some reason the developers did not take advantage of the Xbox’s music storing ability, so radio stations are not customizable. The few problems The Sims has are very minor. Time does not always pass fast enough, and you often find yourself just staring at an empty house for five minutes while your sim is at work. Another problem is that the zoom option does not go as close to the action as most people would like. These problems do not take away from the overall experience, though.
Despite the minor differences in the console versions, the sims are still the sims. Whether you are a fan of the pc version, or want to escape the drudgery of your every day life, The Sims is a fun and entertaining game.