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The Sims 2: Open for Business
(hx) 04:49 PM CEST - Mar,28 2006

The Sims 2: Open for Business is the third expansion pack to the sales-record-breaking The Sims 2 game. This expansion pack allows your Sims to build a business and run restaurants, nightclubs and other businesses. You can even hire employees if you want someone to do the work for you and customize a lot of your business.

Here's quick list for everything this expansion adds to The Sims 2:

Bluewater Village - Maxis has set up a new extension of the main neighborhood, the default is called Bluewater Village. Like other new playing areas, you can create your own. The new area is populated with many community lots to show off all the types of business a Sim can own. Some of the families own businesses, others are prepared to open one.

Running Businesses - All you need to start your own business is a phone, an open/close sign, and possibly a cash register. Once you've established your business, you're going to need to decide what you're in the business of, exactly. Businesses Sims can own: toy shop, beauty salon, florist, clothing boutique, electronics store, restaurant chain, and others. Running these businesses entails many micromanagement decisions such as price levels and internal construction. Not only do you have to work hard for the money, you may even have to take on employees. You can hire anyone that comes to your business (you won't know their skills) or you can use the phone to hire employees for a small list of possible Sims. There are a ton of business options. You can get pretty creative here. The learning curve isn't steep, you just have to have the patience to find what you're looking for. Of course, running your own business and seeing to every little detail can be a little overwhelming at first. It does requires a lot of work and patience, as there are a lot of details to overlook, but it will be very rewarding in the end, when you'll be able to buy that sports car and huge mansion just with the profits from your business.

Making Money - To facilitate the commerce system, the expansion adds three types of stores to the Simverse: Pay Per Item (toy shop, robo store, clothes...etc), Pay Per Use (Bowling, Salon..etc), and Pay Per Time (Gym, Nightclup, Bar...etc). By using one of these three models you can create virtually any type of retail store. These will offer you a long time of playabilty and this game has awesome replayability, because you can start adding more business's to your lot, making it harder and harder. As businesses gain in popularity and satisfied customers, the reputation and rank increases. Of course, the better your business is known and regarded, the better the rewards.

Business Perks - Business Perks are earned as your business earns rank. There are multiple paths of perks, you can choose from: connections, perceptions, cash, wholesale, and motivation. Business perks do not pass down to your their when you sim dies, and they will have to start again. You gain business perk points every time your businesses move up through the ranks. By the time the business gets to the 3rd or 4th generation, it should be running smoothly and on a profit.

Badges - Too add to the challenge, Sims earn badges for certain skills involved in running a business. There are 7 different types of talent badges - Toy Making, Robotery, Flower Arranging, Restocking, Sales, Cash Register and  Cosmetology. Badges come in three levels: bronze, silver, and gold. How a Sim performs their job will depend on their badge level. With each level, a Sim gains a new social or skill. For example, for crafting badges they must work on the crafting objects (robot-making station, floral station, or toy workbench). Sims who have a lot of badges will want to be paid more (sometimes a lot more) than Sims who have only one or none. Unfortunately there is no bar that goes up showing how close you are to getting a badge. You simply have to do the action over and over until you are told that you received one.

Items -  There are 125 new items in all--make it easy to build a business with its own unique look and style.  There're new roof styles, awnings, split-levels, bay windows, elevators, new chairs, tables, paintings, sculptures, etc, etc.

Making Crafts -  Sims can create robots and toys. Once you build a robot at the workbench and turn it on, it becomes a part of the family, complete with its own wants and needs. The robot can help around the house and work longer and harder than a normal Sim. Robots don't age, and they don't sleep. Instead they use power over time, and can only recharge by standing outside and shutting down while in the sunlight. Robots can fall in love, make woo-hoo (have sim sex), or even get married. Unfortunately, female robots cannot get pregnant ;)

University and Nightlife required? - Not really. But it is definitely designed to work alongside both University and Nightlife. For instance, if you have the Nightlife expansion pack, you can choose from businesses in the Downtown area. If you ever wanted to own & run the Crypt O'Night night club, now you can! Without these two expansions there are certain businesses you just cannot operate, which is a little disappointing. If you fully want to experience this expansion pack, it would be better to have the previous expansions.

Open for Business is so much better than I expected it to be. It adds a whole new dimension to the game and gives you lots more to do when you Sims have max skills and scads of cash and are at the top of every career. It might seem hard at first to get your business going, but it is worth the time. All in all this is a wonderful expansion that any Sims 2 owner should buy.

System requirements: PIII-1GHz, 256MB RAM, T&L-capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM , Win98/ME/2k/XP, at least 1.5GB free HDD space /Requires The Sims 2, The Sims 2 Special DVD Edition or The Sims 2 Holiday Edition to play/

Note: Before you install the game, don't forget to disable CloneCD, Alcohol 120%, VirtuaCD, etc. Also, if you have any "hacked" / third-party objects/patches in your game, you MUST remove these BEFORE attempting install of Sims 2 University.

snd: 4/5 - simlish and effects are still good, new music is catchy (Depeche Mode, Kajagoogoo, Howard Jones, and The Epoxies)
gfx: 4/5 - still pretty good, new animations to enjoy, several new and interesting objects, a few graphical glitches, still scrolls as slow as ever
playability: 5/5 - still deeply entertaining and addictive, new business skills + ability to see your sims create a business, more ambitious than previous expansion packs, same old technical problems remain
genre: life simulation
release: March 2006
developer: Maxis
publisher: Electronic Arts
Overall: 85%

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