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The Sims 2
(hx) 11:48 AM CEST - Sep,29 2004

Finally, after four years of waiting, the much-anticipated sequel to the blockbuster smash, The Sims 2, has finally landed on shelves of retailers everywhere. Can The Sims 2 live up to the promise/hype that has kept fans waiting for years? Well, I've played The Sims 2 for the past 10 days and here is my review.

For those that never heard of The Sims, it's a life simulating game where you control a "sim" or a family of "sims". They have to eat, sleep, pee, bathe, interact with other sims or pet, get a job, make money, pay bills, and a variety of other life sustaining tasks. In The Sims 2, your little simulated people have a lot more depth than in the previous game. The sims are more intelligent, aware, and responsive to other sims and their environment. The major new feature in The Sims 2 is DNA that lets sims pass on certain characteristics to their offspring. Your sims will not only grow old, but their physical appearance will reflect the sort of activities they pass their time doing. If your sim slobs around the house all day and eats junk food even when he's not hungry, he will also get more fat, etc.

Many people loved the original Sims simply for being able to build and decorate houses. Also here, you can build a house, decorate it, buy furniture. The build tool has been considerably improved and houses can finally have a maximum of three floors as well as foundations and a roof top floor. You can choose from variety of floors, doors, windows, wall coverings and fences allowing you to really design a custom home from scratch. There're three prepared neighborhoods (Pleasantview, Strangetown and Veronaville) with an interesting background, however you can create your own (!) from scratch using one of several neighborhood terrains. The Sims 2 allows you to have nearly unlimited neighborhoods, each with their own layouts. You can create create different sized lots, place houses, community centers, and even environmental items like balloons, rocks, trees, clouds, birds, and so on. The enhanced neighborhood editor also allows you to import custom cities from Maxis' SimCity 4, if you have that game installed. Needless to say the build mode now offers much more architectural options than original Sims and is much more fun. I bet The Sims fans will love the new build mode.

The "Create a family" option allowing you to create totally custom Sims. Create a Sim is incredible detailed - you can change almost everything - from their nose size and shape, width of their mouth, to the eye color selection. There's countless amounts of hairstyles, hair colors, pre-set faces, types of facial hair, eye color and clothes. You have complete control over how your sims look as well as how they will act. All sims, whether pre-existing or created by the player, have an aspiration. There are five aspirations - Family (self explanatory), Romance (self explanatory), Popularity (these sims "need" to be popular), Knowledge (these Sims have a passion for learning), and Fortune (their goal is to be rich) - which set the primary goals for a sim's life. To be honest, the first evening I've spent hours just creating my sims' family!

Once you move your sims into their house, their lives develops as each sim's personality comes alive and the game is back to the same theme as the original. But The Sims 2 is even better! You must build and run the everyday lives of your sims, ensuring they sleep, eat, love, wash, entertain themselves, and earn money to do so, so they do not meet the grim reaper sooner than they should ;) For your info, the adult female sims can get pregnant if you try for a baby. Teenagers will not be able to get pregnant but they can have romantic relationships with other teenagers outside their family. As you play, you get aspiration points (which will fill up a green meter on the game interface) when you complete a want and lose them when something you fear happens. The more aspiration points your sims have, the happier and more confident they'll be - and the longer they'll eventually live, whereas if you give your sim a traumatic childhood they will grow with phobias and could become socially dysfunctional.

As mentioned above, one of the most important features, the one that players have been asking for ever since the original Sims game was released, is aging. In the game, your sims age will be tracked by an iconic interface. Each sim has a defined life time so the death does not suddenly appear out of nowhere, giving you enough time to extend your family. Of course, your sims can die also by accident (electrocution, starvation, illness...). Dead Sims return as ghosts that scare a living sim well enough, dropping their mood far in the red. Yeah, the sims can get sick too. There are several illnesses, including colds, flu, pneumonia and food poisoning. Sick sims will cough and sneeze, puke, and their health will deteriorate. Nedless to say, the sick sims need sleep (about 12 hours of rest). There's also a Biotech Station (a special reward object) which also can cure your sims. To prevent to don't be sick, there are plenty of ways to get healthy: You can work out on a weight machine, workout with the radio or TV, practice yoga, or go for a swim.

Children born will actually resemble their parents "DNA" system - this can be viewed through the in-game family tree and the resemblance is clearly visible. The use of "genes" will determine how a Sim looks, how they will grow up, grow old and eventually die. This isn't a massive feature but a nice addition nonetheless that does improve the replay value of the game as it creates a somewhat purpose of playing - to see your created family grow. There's no doubt that you can literally play the game forever.

As you can see from screenshots, The Sims 2 has gotten a graphical overhaul. Everything, of course, looks better in 3D and many of the objects have several color options, also the animation is much smoother and lifelike, compared to the first game. The sims show various amusing facial expressions (disgusted, lustful, bored, sleepy, excited, thoughtful ... ) depending on mood and situation. The camera is completely unlocked, allowing you to zoom, pan and move anywhere. With the game you may also develop a photo album, make a video and story of your Sims and then export them to the Internet.

Overall, I highly recommend The Sims 2 to any fan of the original. Buy this game if your PC can handle it - see my recommended specs.

System requirements: PIII-800Mhz, 256MB RAM, T&L-capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM , Win98/ME/2k/XP, at least 3.5GB free HDD space.

Ed.note: I would recommend at least: P4 2GHz (or Athlon 2200XP+) or better, 512MB or more and GeForce 5700 FX with 128MB RAM or better

related links: homepage, cheats, trainer, nude patch, The Sims Resource, Snooty Sims, The Sims 2 CDROM.

gameplay movies: movie1 (3.5MB), movie2 (7.2MB),  movie3 (9.3MB),  movie4 (14.9MB), movie4 (12.8MB) /DivX required/

snd: 5/5 - great, all-new set of spoken "simlish", all-new audio for peripheral characters and fixtures, like shopkeepers, radio stations, and TV shows, wonderful music
gfx: 5/5 - stunning new graphics engine, clean, crisp, amazing attention to detail, cool animation, sluggish camera, resource hog, some glitches
playability: 5/5 - deeply entertaining and addictive, impressive size and depth of the game, aspiration system gives Sims wants and fears, massive "create a Sim editor", well balanced, easy to control, high replay value, very high hw requirements, slow loading times (even with 1GB RAM), many bugs (although nothing too serious), no multiplayer
genre: life simulation
release: September 2004
developer: Maxis
publisher: EA Games
Overall: 93%

last 10 comments:

xxxx(04:05 PM CEST - Sep,29 2004 )
yup very decent game and expect even more addons than the last one. The aging is pretty cool but I find it's a little fast and what seems to be an issue for a lot of people is that the characters that come with the game, your neighbours, don't age. Most people in community usually use the cheat code to turn off aging. There is a lot of money here for EA in terms of addon cuz i can think of lots. Strippers, Dial-a-Bottle, Hospital to name a few.

SABOT's(05:54 PM CEST - Sep,29 2004 )
I've just played the Roller Coaster 3 demo xxxx, and it's a WHOLE new world compaired to the last time i played anything similar -namely Theme Park! Seriously ADDICTIVE. The ride cameras are AMAZING damn near realistic in the coasters!! I reckon folks would throw up on their monitors if they suffered from motion sickness playing it :lol:

Been seriously thinking of The Sims2 -must be my old age! Is it the 3D characters that just makes the diff or is it game play? Do you own it xxxx?

xxxx(08:20 PM CEST - Sep,29 2004 )
Stumpus> I've just played the Roller Coaster 3 demo xxxx, and it's a WHOLE new world compaired to the last time i played anything similar -namely Theme Park! Seriously ADDICTIVE. The ride cameras are AMAZING damn near realistic in the coasters!! I reckon folks would throw up on their monitors if they suffered from motion sickness playing it :lol:

Been seriously thinking of The Sims2 -must be my old age! Is it the 3D characters that just makes the diff or is it game play? Do you own it xxxx?

Ya I seen that RCT 3 screenshots and stuff and it looks cool too. Usually it's my wife that plays these kinds of games and she said that RC3 looked cool but she didn't enjoy the last ones so forget it, I'll tell her you say otherwise. Like have it on the weekend since it does sound better than I thought too.

Sims 1 I didn't play, didn't like it or I just couldn't get into it. Sims 2 on the other hand, I have AA cranked and all settings cranked, it video lags here and there but ya the game is great fun and I can see they are gonna have expansion hell for this one. Too much good to say, graphics rock and it's just damn addictive. Ya I never thought I'd play Sims 2, but here I am nearly a week later playing Sims 2 more than Counter-Strike Source or anything else. Overall, game play is more fun and you can do more things. Don't get deluxe as it is a waste of money. just get the ordinary release. DVD 2 simply contains more media in terms of E3 show and interviews and stuff you can live without. Currently I am building my own neighbourhood in Sim2 and added a Fire Pit for hamburgers etc and just ate at it last night. Even more cool you can invite fellow Sims to meet you at a location.. next thing I want to do is a Billiard/Strip Club. Think I have to wait for an addon since you can't make your own objects yet.. Only gay part of Sims 2 right now.

FX5900(03:06 PM CEST - Oct,03 2004 )
From your photos HX, it looks like all you did was pick up girls, take hot baths and make babies. :D

maga(12:37 PM CEST - Oct,04 2004 )
what else do you want ??!??

xxxx(02:50 PM CEST - Oct,04 2004 )
ha, this is the best. sleep with as many chicks as you can but DON'T get married! At one time i was sleeping each day nearly with 3 different chicks. then i got married and dumped her and slept with someone else the same day. ah the life!

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