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TVG takes a look at the sequel to the ‘Life’ simulator that took the world by storm…
â??Sequel to the #1 PC game of all timeâ?, proclaims the text on the front of The Sims 2 packageâ?¦but does it â?“ can it â?“ improve on the original smash hit? Or is it just a poor relation?
The Sims was, and is, a phenomenon in the video games industry. It was a game in the loosest sense of the world, and especially appealed to people who ordinarily wouldnâ??t play computer games. The title spawned numerous add-on packs so that players had access to various bits of new furniture, and even allowed your Sim to start dating.
EA Maxis has tried to take the game to the next logical step, which is to allow players to follow their Sims from the cradle to the grave. The offspring of Sims will share some of the genetic traits, both physically and in terms of personality, with their parents and siblings. When TVGâ??s Derek dela Fuente spoke to Vice President of EAâ??s PC Development in December 2003, she described how, â??...some physical characteristics are dominant, and youâ??ll see these through a family resemblance of all of the Sims of the same family.â? Having created a sprog for our Sims couple by just clicking on the â??Make A Babyâ? icon, we can see exactly what she meant.
Of course one of the key features of the original game was the fact that you could create your own Sim, and as youâ??d expect, Sims 2 includes the â??Create A Simâ? option. Being in a mischievous mode, we did what every Sim player does when they first start the game â?“ we made look-a-like Sims of a couple of real life friends. The range of options and subtle differences including skin colour, eye shape, chin shape â?“ or in some cases the distinct lack of a chin, clothes, hair style, and more, is astounding. After much deliberation, and with much more hilarity, we had created our family, husband, wife, and baby. Time to introduce them to their new townâ?¦Hope the neighbours are prepared.
Being a young family, money is tight, so we chose what estate agents would call a â??cosyâ? house on the outskirts of town. It wasnâ??t long after weâ??d moved in however, that the neighbours came round and introduced themselves to our Sim family. Now we know that itâ??s going to sound weird (because after all, they arenâ??t real), but the neighbours seemed really nice. They stayed round for some time, well into the night in fact, although the husband of our family seemed to take a liking to one of the women neighbours, which meant that the wife of our family wasnâ??t exactly happy with him. We bought them a couple of outdoor chairs for them to sit down and chat, but after the wife Sim went off to cool down, the husband Sim just sat on one of the chairs looking quite depressed. Itâ??s worth point out that neither Sim took much notice of their young child, who was fast asleep on the path to the houseâ?¦Anybody know whether there are Social Services in Sims 2? Away from your direct control, your Simsâ?? AI is heavily dependent on the personality traits that you gave them on their creation. Their star-signs change their traits so that, one star-sign might make your Sim more outgoing, while another might make him/her lazy. You can override these default settings, and you can also give your Sims aspirations in terms of romance, and others, so that they will try to achieve those goals. The level of detail in the game is such that a decision made by a child Sim will have ramifications on decisions and events throughout his life; this is a Life Simulator on a tremendous scale.
In the long term, the idea of adding DNA to the game is nothing short of inspirational. The fact that your Sims get old and have children of their own will mean that players will be able to follow the development of dominant genes through entire family trees, which will mean that having the ability to view the ongoing development of your extended family will produce some very interesting variations. For instance, if you live in a small town, over a long period of time, it will be inevitable that some of your Sims will marry distant relatives; does that mean that a weird inbreeding effect will occur? Will massive overbites and very small beady eyes start to dominate an ever decreasing gene pool? These are questions that will only be answered by playing the game over a massive period of time, but we think that itâ??s a point worth makingâ?¦
The Sims has always been about customising everything to your specifications, from the Sims that you make, to the house that they live in, to the furniture that they use. As we have already mentioned, the original game had plenty of spin-off to keep the loyal fans happy, and Sims 2 has taken all of that into account. The level of customisation in this game is immense, and libraries of furniture and paint all for you to keep your families happy; and keeping your family happy is after all what the game is about.
Sims 2 enhances the careers path of your Sims by including text options into the game at certain points. One of these options may be whether you should tell your boss that youâ??ve found out that at the company may be taken over, or whether you should invest in the company and make a fortune. Both options, as weâ??ve already mentioned, will have a huge effect on your Simâ??s job prospects, and the fact that this option has been included in the game means that a level of morality is also placed on the player. After all, if your Sim is sacked, how is he or she expected to provide for the rest of the family? Following the careers of your Sims adds a depth that the original game lacks, which may make some gamer re-evaluate their opinion of the title.
Visually, the game is over saturated with vivid colours, and the Mark Mothersbaugh score really adds to the whole saccharine sweet feel of the game, and even though itâ??s a vastly different game, Sims 2 still retains a feel of Sim City the music acting as a strong tool that helps to reinforce the gameâ??s heritage. Linking Sims 2 to the Sim city franchise is the option to import Sim City 4 cities, which will mean that you can have an amazing level of intricate transport systems and other â??Cityâ? elements within the game. There can be no doubt that EA will release a number of expansion packs as it did for the original game, and whether options that are unavailable to you in Sims 2 at the moment (like the fact that cannot change the height of the Sims), will be addressed. Imagine the publishers releasing a Sims 2: Little and Large expansion pack, which will enable you to take the body shape of your Sims to a whole new levelâ?¦