Currently Playing: The Sims 2 (PC)

It has been years since the original Sims game, created by the Will Wright who also made the famous SimCity. Sims has been the highest selling game in history even now people are still buying it. It’s popular because of the interesting life that you can make without sacrificing your own and building up your dream house. For years gamers have been craving for more Sims and Maxis gave them several expansion packs to quench their thirst. From interesting items with good or bad side effects, making friends in parties, having a date, getting a vacation, being a superstar, having your own pets and learning magic along the way. Now Sims 2 is out and does it stand out from the old famous game?

The game now this involves new interesting features like aging, having a complete family tree. The longer you play the more interesting the game gets. They all grow old from a baby, to a child, teenager, adult and an elder; eventually they will die. Once you start your own family it feels a bit fast to play especially if you’re used to playing the original Sims game. In a small way, you are pressured to do everything that you’d like to do in an entire lifetime. Like as an adult you only have 30 days to have a child and teach him what to do, since once you turn into an elder, it would be a bit difficult taking care of a baby.

Aspirations is also a new feature, at the end of making your character, you are given an option of what aspiration your character would have, and this will determine his wants along the way. It changes everyday, so if you can get what he wants, he’ll have aspiration points. Having aspiration points makes the sim happy, you also have rewards. Rewards are unique items that you can’t buy anywhere like the basic “Money Tree”, where the tree actually grows simoleons (sim money). The best item you can get is the “Elixir of Life” which reduces your age of 2 days. You can also get Job aspiration rewards, but there items really depend on your work. It’s more difficult to get them since it takes a while than getting normal aspiration rewards.

Other than having wants there is also fears, which is a complete opposite of wants. There are several bad things that can happen in a day, but each time your sim wakes up in the morning you get 2 random fears which is also based on your aspiration. If by any chance a certain fear happens in a day, you get negative aspiration points. Be careful because it can really hurt a lot of your points. Don’t make him fear too much or else your character will get crazy and you’ll not be able to control him for a time.

The sims are more smart now than the previous game. They do what they need to do to make themselves sufficient, and they all do their job well this time. It’s easier to get friends now not like in the previous game. The original Sims was difficult to keep on to your friends if you didn’t have the expansion packs, here you start out having new neighbors and you’ll be able to meet new people walking by, you also have the chance to go to community lots where you could meet new people. What I really liked in the new game is that you can befriend even the ones who work for you like the maid, nanny, pizza delivery and more. I had a fun time when I tried one family and the father was getting his hands on the maid, and the maid stayed and liked the guy. That was interesting for me, since I never saw that in any previous sim game.

In the game they kept the idea of “Living Large”, where some items have side effects like using the telescope may or may not call on Aliens to abduct your sim. I haven’t tried everything yet but the side effects are more prominent with items that you get from aspirations. This keeps the game interesting since these are moments that you can’t control. I also like that you can keep your paintings now, it’s nice to paint still life objects that are visible within the game. I also like the idea that you can do portraits now.

What I also like in the game is that they can make a mansion if you really want to. You’re not limited to 2 floors but several floors. It looks amazing once you see the new house designs.

Interesting moments are viewed in a special way, in wide screen and with a slight blur effect. There are moment like the first “Woohoo”, alien abduction, giving birth to a new baby sim, marriage proposal and more. This makes these moments very memorable, these determine the sim’s important memories. Before a sim dies, you’ll want to make his life very memorable, since you’ll be controlling him or her for quite some time. Before you know it you’ll be attached to the characters you made and you’ll regret why your sim died so soon.

The controls are basically the same, click on the sim and click on the items, objects or other sims and you get options around it. This proves if it works, keep on using it. Nothing really new except with the camera controls. You can zoom in and out, control the angle and stuff like that. This really is more of a bonus since it’s really more on asthetics, since you really see so much detail especially on the sims since they can express a lot of emotion which looks interesting. Anyway, if you make a game in 3D, there’s really not much reason keeping the same old isometric view, it’s always best to make the gamer choose his own viewing style. Though me personally I like playing it in isometric view since I can manage them better especially if they are a lot of people. Since they are pretty smart this time around, I didn’t have to disable “Free will”, since their actions are pretty understandable.

The baby cannot be controlled normally like other characters. A baby sim can only be taken care of but cannot be selected. A child can be selected so that you can see his or her needs, but they still have to be taken care of an adult. This really reminds me of “Unleashed” where you take care of pets.

The new graphics works perfectly well. Primarily the main focus are the characters, you can modify them to your heart’s content. You can enjoy lots of interesting features of modifying a character in making a sim. The type of eyes, nose, ears (you can make elven ears), fat face and more. There are several selections of hair and clothing. There are different clothes for every type of sim so if you like something from the adult selection (like sleeping in underwear), it might not be available for the teenager. My only problem with the character creation is that you don’t have an option to modify how fat or how thin your character will be. Though it’s a minor thing though, it’s something I just noticed.

The houses themselves look great, you modify them the same way as the previous game, the wallpapers, floor designs, and other items have so many things to offer. Furniture has variety now since you can choose a combination of colors from one item. The only problem with this game is that it feels limited. The reason for this is because I’ve been pampered with so much Sims expansion packs that kept me happy for so long. Obviously Sims 2 was designed to have more expansions in the future, not like the previous game where the expansion felt a big forced in for my taste, but fun none the less. I still have a problem with this game that you can’t place objects in a diagonal position, it would have been a big bonus for me if that would have been made into the game.

Another nice thing about the graphics is the improvement of the TV screen. You can now watch little shows. The TV has a few channels that you can check out but when you look at it, they are usually amusing. I also liked the time when my sim got to use the game console which showed a short SSX3 game video.

Sound, the music works wonderfully. The sound effects are a bit similar to the previous Sims game. They even kept the gibberish talk where they sound very expressive which works all the time. Most of them are unique to the game but for some reason some of the sounds are from the original game. What stood out in the game is the music, I really liked it more than before. Last time I really had a nice time listening to the piano arrangement, but this time around all of the new music sounds great. All of them are interesting to listen to; my personal favorite is listening to the pop station where all of the 4 songs were similar to the music I listen to. This time around you can add more songs to you list by placing them on the Sims2 music folder on your Documents folder. Obviously you’ll get tired listening to the same old songs over and over and this feature would be so convenient.

Interesting to say, there is now a story to this game. It doesn’t flow through the game; mostly it’s just an introduction to the town you’re starting in. But it’s interesting that you’ll get to meet common characters like the Goth family. They also included tons of families with interesting backgrounds. Before you even try making your own family, you can try out the pre installed families, they have nice houses, and humorous moments that are nice to see. I suggest trying out the “Smiths” (aliens, you can’t create anything similar to them) or the “Grunts” (military), they live in Strangetown.

There are more features in this game like you can make your own town, using a preset that you can just choose from. Other than that you can make your own town if you use SimCity4. It’s not a feature that’s mentioned anywhere since it’s not a perfect system. You can only copy small towns from SimCity4 and place them on your sims2 directory and you still have to copy an image file from other preset towns included there, before it can work. Once you get the required files, start the game again and you’ll see your new town.

Another bonus is that even before the game was released they already have tons of downloadable mods that are available on the net. So you’re not limited to the basic installation alone. You’ll be able to download more eye color, hats, hair color and more online.

The game is composed of 4 CD’s or 2 DVD’s. If you get the CD set you’ll get the basic game. If you get the DVD set you’ll get the basic game in one DVD and the other DVD contains videos tutorials and the Making of video. If you have a DVD drive it’s a better choice since it’s only a few hundred more compared to the CD set. The pillow included with the game is a nice bonus too. I don’t know if the T-shirt is still available but it’s a nice touch too.

I still have so many things to go through this game but in any case, I really can say, it’s fun and it’s addicting and it’s better than ever. The graphics is a major improvement, the game plays like before but better and I like it. The game has a little flaw of having less than expected items, but this only matter if you’re pampered with Sims expansion packs. But still the game stands out because everything is better this time around and the developers didn’t disappoint me in any way, from the 3D graphics, wants, fears and more. I can’t even wait to get expansion packs for this game. If you’re system can handle it, this game is really for everyone.

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