With the Playboy: The Mansion game you get to play to role of the famous men's magazine pioneer Hugh Hefner. Game play involves launching the Playboy magazine from humble beginnings and trying to build it into a publishing icon. To do so, you need to find the right balance between magazine content and staff, such as writers and photographers. In order to do so you need to attract the best talent to be in your magazine by creating positive relationships with Playmates and Celebrities, one way is to invite them to some parties at the Playboy Mansion and have them meeting people of their interest. As you succeed, you gain money, fame and friends and pursue the ultimate Playboy lifestyle. This leads to higher-profile business relationships, which means bigger, and better, parties at the famous Playboy Mansion.
The game offers two modes - Empire Mode (freeform), where you select your own goals (fame, circulation, guests, etc.) and then work over a series of months or years to achieve them or Campaign Mode - a dozen campaigns that chronicle Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Mansion's rise to international fame. This game mode plays just as it sounds, it gives you a series of tasks to complete and as you progress you'll gain money and more importantly you'll be gaining fame for your fledging Playboy. Tasks center around throwing parties and putting together Playboy Magazine every month. Every month, you're going to need a celebrity interview, a cover model, a Playmate centerfold, a pictorial, an essay and an article. So you have to hire a photographer, a Playmate and a journalist. You can hire more expensive staff to produce better content or cheaper hacks to just get the issue out the door.
How you get the content goes into the people and relationship area. You need to keep people happy. That's an axiom at the real Mansion. So, you have to make sure that they're satisfied and having fun. Talk to them, chat them up, flirt, learn what interests them, buy cool, hip items. There's an extensive amount of customization available, letting you determine the floor plan of the mansion as well as the furniture and various decorative pieces that are housed inside. Unfortunately, there's no "Undo" button when you buy stuff.
Throwing a killer party is something that the Playboy Mansion has become famous for and sure enough, the ability to throw the bash of the year is constantly at your fingertips. Through parties at the mansion you make new contacts like Carmen Electra, Uncle Kracker, Jose Canseco, and other celebrities. The more extravagant your mansion is, the more big name people will join the party. Each guest has a rating, in the form of stars, with higher ratings equaling better interviews, essays and photo shoots. Choosing the perfect guest list and then utilizing each party to score a ton of exclusive content offers a good bit of fun and gives Playboy much needed depth. Once a party ends, it's time to send your workers to do your bidding and crank out an issue of Playboy. The better your content, the better your magazine. The better your magazine, the more money you make and the more famous you become. As you get more famous, you'll move up in social circles. Instead of inviting Hollywood-wannabes to your parties, you'll be inviting Hollywood royalty.
The character interaction is straight out of "The Sims," with a few upgrades focused on this kind of game. There are different mood meters which you need to watch - leisure, romance, business, entertainment, friendship and personal growth. Any sexual interaction with Playmates depends upon their individual choices, and how good you are at building relationships. You can't just tell people to have sex, nor can you command someone to have sex with you. It's all consensual within the context of the game. You must develop relationships first, and even then, it's ultimately up to your partner. Sex is simulated in a kind of cartoony style, and you never see any lower nudity. Unfortunately, it doesn't prove to be quite as exciting as I had hoped.
An aspect of the game that I'm sure all of the fellas will appreciate is the photo shoot mode which puts you in the shoes of the photographer. You select the model and decide where you're going to have the photo shoot. So let's say you pick the pool. You can change her pose, change her wardrobe. You can change anything about he - her hair style, her hair color, what jewelry she's wearing, etc. The cool thing is that you can zoom and pan and move around just like a real photographer to get the best shots as she poses for you. Needless to say it's incredibly sexy. Once your photos are all done, you decide which ones you want for the centerfold or which one you want to be the cover of your magazine.
Overall, Playboy Mansion has the potential to be a great game. Unfortunately, every "month" you will do the same things - host parties, get interviews from celebrities, take cover-shots, etc. It becomes a total bore after you realize that all of the characters look alike and have no personality whatsoever. If you enjoy tycoon and sims type games then it might be worth a rent.
related links: homepage
US patch v1.01
Minimum system requirements: Pentium III 800MHz, 256MB RAM, 32MB 3D card with hardware T&L ((ATI Radeon 7500 or greater; Nvidia Geforce 2 or greater), DirectX compatible sound card, CD-Rom drive, 1.5 GB free HDD Space (allows for swap file), Windows Media 9 Player or newer.