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The Sims 2 Seasons
(hx) 05:49 PM CEST - Aug,13 2007

The Sims 2 Seasons is the fifth expansion pack to the sales-record-breaking The Sims 2 game. Seasons brings what the title implies - the four seasons - to the mix. It includes weather, gardening, fishing, and a few new career paths. These features may not sound like much, but they're enough to make this one of the best expansion packs in the series.

First, let's start with the four seasons. Each season lasts for approximately five sim's days and you have the option to alter their order of progression. The first thing you'll notice is an additional icon in the top left of your Neighbourhood screen, from where you can set the quartet of seasons that your sims will go through. You can follow the usual Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter sequence, or mix things up to your liking.

Besides being a solely visual, interactive addition, each season enhances sim's attributes in certain ways. In Summer, you get an extra relationship boost to all positive interactions towards people living outside your family. It is nice to have a nice boost to keep up to date with friends, especially if you have many friends, thank you Open for Business. Also, it is Summer so be aware that you will heat up faster in the sun and exercising. Your temperature will reach the red far faster rather than other seasons, so you might need to drink some fresh juice to calm you down. In Autumn your sims will acquire skills at a quicker pace than normal. It isn't too warm in this season and it prone to sudden changes in weather. Of course, with the season of fall, the leaves will fall of any trees that aren't related to producing food, quite quickly which will soon turn to be a chore. Of course, you can rake up the leaves, giving access to cleaning points by simply raking it. Of course, you can also compost them to give an extra boost to your garden or you can burn them!

Winter is basically what it is, the freezing cold. Of course, it will snow and this will make everything outside covered in snow. Of course, everything will still work, its rather more decoration than anything else. And then there is the opportunity to make snow angels and snowmen. Of course, since there is ice, you can have ice skating. The most important thing to remember here is that your sim needs to change into his outerwear clothes, otherwise he might find himself an iceberg sooner than you think. Just like Summer on the way it rapidly increased the temperature gauge, Winter does the exact opposite. Luckily, since all trees will be dormant for the winter, you can purchase a hot chocolate maker. Just a cup of this glorious stuff will warm your sim up from the blue to the green. Spring is the Season for Love. Spring adds that extra flare to your romance. Existing and new romantic relationships benefit from this so consider this to be the perfect time to catch up with your girlfriend or increase your chances of getting that perfect man or woman. Of course, marriage is for the life of the sim, since the SimCity Marriage Council does not believe in divorce :P This is also the time to start some planting of crops will be in Spring. It also allows you access to your pond again, when the weather decides to pick up again. Of course, with spring, the Season of life, there will be some butterflies to catch. Sadly, they will die eventually, but it's worth it if you want to see them a bit longer.

Unlike University, Nightlife and Open for Business, Seasons doesn't introduce any new areas for your sims to explore, but it does feature a new completely different neighborhood - Riverblossom Hills - which includes a grocery store and other NPC facilities. The new neighborhood of Riverblossom Hills will let you jump into several pre-made families. One family introduces you to the alternative lifestyle of PlantSims, which are Seasons' counterpart to the vampires in Nightlife and the alien hybrids in Strangetown. You can take control of Leod McGreggor if you want to immediately try an experienced gardener and fisherman. Probably the biggest addition Seasons gives to your families is the passage of time, and almost everything else in the game relates to it. As I mentioned, sims now suffer temperatures, which can cause sunburns if it's too hot or illness if it's too cold. Sims now, when they change clothes, change their temperature tolerances.

Drawing from the talent system added in Open for Business, the Seasons expansion pack lets you earn talent badges for fishing and gardening. The fishing is a bit disappointing. Your sim just stands around at the side of a pond and eventually earns a fish that can be eaten or mounted as a trophy. Farming takes a lot of responsibility, but the hard work pays off when you make a lot of money, or when you eat it. The process starts out with fertilizing land, planting a seed, watering and tending the plant, and eventually harvesting the land. Sims will earn badges, which opens up new seeds and ability to talk to plants. The best thing about gardening is the rewards. You can purchase orchard trees (orange, lemon, and apple) and get fruit, or you can create plots and plant vegetables and fruits such as cucumbers, tomatoes, pole beans, strawberries, etc. From growing these, you can harvest them and stock them into the Main Squeezer 235X juicer from the catalog. Once you have enough stocked, select the juicer you should be able to mix and match the different produce to make tasty juices. Each type of juice made has a special effect. Things like curing colds, being cold down or warmed up, platinum mood, getting a random skill point, or build skills faster. I should also mention that too much gardening turns your sims into weird plant people :-) Try out and you will see!

Sims also have weather-related wants and fears. In spring they want romance, and in winter they want snowball fights, for instance. The knowledge sims want to be struck by lightning (which can be deadly), but the rest fear it :-) There are also five new career fields, Law, Journalism, Music, Adventurer, and Gaming. The career reward items that go with these careers are kind of re-meshed items that already exist so don't expect too much there - although I enjoy the teaching library and the law podium. Different seasons also bring different moods. Other little things, like new social activities and the ability to put away leftovers in the fridge, deepen the experience further.

Overall, I'd say Seasons brings a whole new dimension to your Sims 2 game. If you only get one expansion, I highly recommend getting this one.

related links: product page, cheats, patch, Lily Allen - Smile (in Simlish) - using Sims 2 Seasons (video), Sims 2 Seasons minigame, get CDROM

System requirements: 1.3GHz CPU, 256MB RAM (512 MB RAM is recommended if you are running with a few expansion packs installed or Vista), T&L-capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM , Win98/ME/2k/XP/Vista, 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/

snd: 4/5 - simlish and effects are still good, few new songs that are in the same vein as the old songs
gfx: 4/5 - still the same, some nice weather effects
playability: 4/5 - still entertaining and addictive, full weather/season system, Farming -> Magical Juices, five new career fields, some bugs
genre: life simulation
platform: PC
release: March 2007
developer: Maxis
publisher: Electronic Arts
Overall: 75%

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