Summary: It's good to know that for all the women that have their husband's balls firmly in their hands, one man has women by their uh... ovaries. Will Wright delivers yet again with the Sims 2. Now you can watch MNF in peace and quiet, catch the Man U-Arsenal game or simply go for a round of golf - and never be missed.
The broad appeal of The Sims is that the game doesnít really have a win point. This makes the game rather easy to get into and out of, whether you want to play for several hours or just a few minutes, there are no chapters or save points. That along with the numerous expansion packs to give each player more and more options for expansion and lifestyles makes for a rather open-ended game that can literally be played forever. The Sims 2 doesnít really vary much from this formula, though it does add some goals and a few other interesting tidbits here and there.
With The Sims being as successful as it is, what else would a company want to do more than make a sequel that will rake in more money for general wallowing/burning purposes? Nothing at all, and thatís why we have The Sims 2. Starting out of the box with more options than the original touted upon release, the game has been an instant hit, selling more than one million copies in its first ten days of release.
Everyone knew that the game would be a huge hit, but will it be able to keep the attention of its fan base? The answer turns out to be a mixed bag, but mostly positive. In a game where more of the same thing isnít such a bad idea, there were a few questionable decisions made by the development team.
In the original Sims, all you really do is control a family of virtual characters as they go throughout their natural lives. However, in The Sims 2 your character can die of old age and can also have children who grow up and have their own children. Each sim, for instance, has their own DNA that can be combined with other sims to form a child and so on. Itís quite an interesting process. These children can grow up and have children of their own making the family tree grow and flourish. Well, that and fertilizer.
Aging in this game is a real tough subject because people donít really want to see the characters they made die. After all, theyíve spent hours upon hours with them, taking care of them in every way. Thereís no easy way to say goodbye. This can be combated with the addition of a few interesting little additions to the overall formula that I must explain before we continue the aging debate.
In The Sims 2, Maxis decided to add wants and fears to a characters life. This ties directly in to the aspiration system, which is the choice you make for your sims overall life theme that is represented by a bar on the sims information panel. The aspiration bar also determines how well certain actions are realized based upon how positive or negative the characters aspirations currently are. Performing the actions associated with the characters wants and fears affect the bar in either a positive or negative way.
The wants are random things that he or she wants, such as a kiss from a mate or a new couch or whatever. When these wants are filled, the character will gain points. Fears work the same way except in the opposite direction. Fears are just how they sound, theyíre things that if they happen to a sim it drops their aspiration meter and lowers their overall purchasing points. Fears among sims go from being snubbed by a loved one, to fire, to the loss of a relative, and everything in-between.
Once a character has a certain amount of points, he/she can then use a special menu to buy unique items with these points. One of the items that can be bought is a water cooler full of the Elixir of Life. Each time a character takes a drink of the elixir, depending on if theyíre high enough on the want meter, theyíll either gain or lose three days of life. This is the only legal way of keeping sims alive forever.
While aging, the sims can have children and watch them grow, allowing for several generations and watching the sim DNA in action. Each following generation can continue to live in and fix up the house that their parents bought, eventually allowing for some very elaborate housing. The added feel of realism is nice as well as watching the characters from birth to death, but thereís a big downside.
The sims in the rest of the neighborhood donít age while yours will. So, if you have a teenaged sim who falls in love with a teenager of the same age, they will grow older while their first love stays the same. Thereís a way around this buy going over to that other house and making time pass for them as well, but thatís a whole lot of hassle for something that should be done anyway. There is, of course, the logistics of such a task making things a lot more difficult on a playability level. What happens when you want to play your other family in the same neighborhood? You go click on them and theyíre dead because they aged away, but if you donít include aging in the game whatís the point of having children? Talk about your overpopulation problems.
Other than your characters either dying too fast or at all, the sims arenít even remotely as needy or dependent now. This, my friends, is a good thing. No more forcing people to go to the bathroom or go to work. In fact, if left alone, the sims will pretty much take care of themselves. Pretty much, but not completely. Sometimes they may still wet themselves and pass out in the yard. In fact, itís kind of fun to make them wet themselves and pass out in the yard while the kids sit inside crying until social services come and take them away. Well, at least it was to me, but then again I made a character with a really big mullet that lived in the Roswell neighborhood that I was praying would get kidnapped by aliens.
As with the older Sims game, itís possible to have multiple neighborhoods and a few are included with the ability to make and download more if desired. Included with the game are the original neighborhood and a couple of themed ones such as Romeo and Juliet and Roswell. I suggest the Roswell area if you plan to get impregnated by aliens, which, by the way, is possible. Other than alien probes, there are quite a few interesting events in store for players, but we donít want to spoil it for everyone.
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