It is finally here. The much-anticipated sequel to the blockbuster smash, The Sims, has finally graced the shelves of retailers everywhere. Can The Sims 2 live up to the promise that has kept fans waiting for years? You bet it can. I mean we are talking about The Sims – the brainchild of Will Wright who has brought us countless other titles that have enthralled us. Why should his latest be any different than the numerous past successes of the Sims Empire?
Overall, this title will not disappoint, it has a good shelf life and the playability mechanics are easy to learn. Creating families, decorating houses, and interacting with others will have a familiar feel for those who have played the original Sims. Don’t worry if this is your first Sims experience, controlling your Sims is not difficult and won’t take long to master.
While loading this game onto your PC, you will have a chance to test your Sims trivia knowledge and matching skills. The fun little side game is entertaining and at least it’s something to do while loading all four disks of this game.
You choose one of three neighborhoods: Pleasantville, where some of the neighbors will be like old friends from the original Sims, Strangeland, where your neighborhood sits on an alien crash site and Veronaville, where you can play out the story of Romeo and Juliet. Each neighborhood already has Sims established that you can play through the tutorial and beyond. There are new things to learn so, if you have time, do the tutorials. In my haste to play I did not go through them; however my husband did and found some interesting shortcuts that make playing a little easier.
You can also create your own family and establish a family tree, then move your family into a neighborhood lot. On vacant lots you can either build your own home or buy one from the homes menu. Homes come with certain amenities: usually a stove, countertops, and bathrooms. It’s similar to how homes are sold in reality today – without mortgage points, creditor predators, and hidden closing costs.
There are so many new features it’d be impossible to cover them all right now. However, I will tell you what has made the biggest impression. Sims now have aspirations, wants and fears that make them even more like their human counterparts. This can make playing your Sims more goal-oriented. You can lock one want to keep it from changing and concentrate on obtaining that goal. When you achieve a want you earn Aspiration points that boost the mood of your Sims, make learning easier, and make social interactions more bountiful. You can then turn in those Aspiration points for rewards. One reward is a money tree. An orchard of those would be nice (especially in real life). An added stage of life dynamic gives you a time frame for reaching goals; instead of aimlessly playing for Sim days on end and not accomplishing anything. Reaching goals is important for your Sim’s mental health as well. An unhappy Sim may not live as long as a Sim who feels accomplished. I also like that the Sims can eat dinner on the couch and converse on the couch even if others are standing. You can workout to the TV, play video games, and learn how to cook better while watching the Yummy Channel.
Now, when your Sim goes out into the working force you’ll have more control over their work performance. One of my Sims went to work on the Science track. I was asked to make a choice between two vials, one red and one blue. I chose red. I chose poorly. My Sim lost her job and was sent home. It’s another aspect of the game that makes it more like real life. Now if only your Sims could surf the internet and play solitaire at work. Then the experience would be complete.
No longer do Sims only need to work out to qualify for certain jobs. It’s important to not become a total couch potato or those unwanted pounds will begin to pile on. The Fitness meter helps you to keep an eye on your Sim’s physique. If the meter gets too low your Sim probably will put on a few pounds. If the meter increases enough, your Sim might become buffer.
The Sims music is a delight with its very pop, upbeat sound. Devo founder, Mark Mothersbaugh, has wonderfully captured the spirit of The Sims. The music blends perfectly with the atmosphere of the game. You’ll be hearing those tunes in your head for days to come.
The 3D world of The Sims brings much more depth and views into the game. I feel like a voyeur spying on my Sims. That is just how close to the action you can be. The graphics are outstanding with beautifully crafted scenery and objects. Even when you are creating a family the detail is amazing. When you are done you even have a family portrait made.
While The Sims 2 delivers great graphics, wonderful music, and a ton of new features and objects; I have to say the minimum requirements should be higher. I have more RAM than it suggests but still feel I need a beefier video card to get rid of the slight glitches that seem to occur while changing views. Also placing furniture is a little hard, maybe its just takes time to get used to the 3D view; but I still feel my PC has some blame for my woes.
Also the community lots are a bit of a letdown. I guess I’m spoiled by the expansion sets of the Sims because the lots the game comes with seem very plain. There are some advantages to the community lots. Your Sims can spend all day at the community lot building social and other skills there; but, when they return, a maximum of two hours have passed. The home lots are nice and isolated. When you are playing the lots around you are just a vast wasteland, no neighbors in sight even though that’s clearly not the case from the neighborhood view.
With The Sims 2 you may develop a photo album, make a video and story of your Sims. A lot of fans did this with the first one, now Maxis has built this a feature in to make it flow nicely. Shoot video of your Sim and create your own movie. It’s always nice to share you more memorable moments with your friends. Now it’s easier than ever.
What’s on the menu? It depends on who is cooking and their skill level. It’s nice to see more choices for food; especially now that you can zoom in really close to the action in the house. The refrigerator also is no longer a bottomless pit of food. You’ll have to stock your food supply by either visiting a community lot or grocery store, ordering online, or by phone.
The Sims 2 is a great game; one I will play for way too many hours and ignore my own needs of hygiene and sleep. Fans of the franchise will really enjoy this game. You may find some fault with this version; but I guess nothing is perfect, not even the world of the Sims. This is a great game even if this is your first taste of life in the Sims world. Is it worth the wait? I say yes. Is it worth the money? Again, I say yes.
Why? This it the game you can play the conventional way?or make your own story and play it out. Because of the open-ended playing ability, you can play over and over, reinventing your aspirations and desires. Simply put, The Sims 2 will be a great addition to any collection, from casual to hardcore gamer; offering a little something for everyone.