Simply Marvelous To The MAXIST!
Rich Graphics, Detail, Sound, Hours of Gameplay
Slow load times.
The Bottom Line:
This is a must have for Strategy and Simulation enthusiasts. Great game for the entire family.
From time to time, we all here the phrase, "There's no need to reinvent the wheel!" or "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." Apparently Maxis, thinks outside the box, and beyond the norm and has decided to reinvent it's hit game "The Sims" with it's new offering "The Sims 2".
This review will not seek to compare the two games but rather review this game with the following elements in mind:
*Load Speed Of Game
*Glitches or Needs For Fixes
*Graphics And Sound
*Extended Game Play
The installation for this game took about 10 minutes on my 1.87 Ghz computer with a Pentium 4 chipset. The game consists of 4 CD-Roms which all must be used during the installation.
Maxis recognizes that you might be spending some time during the installation by the computer screen and has two offerings to help you pass the time. The first in the form of a sneak peek at screen shots of the game and the second in a game within the installation.
The screenshots are vivid and colorful and fun to look at. The game is a combination of a throwback to "Concentration" and a Question/Answer trivia game based on the original Sims platform. The amount of times it takes you to clear the puzzle and the number of correct answers that you are able to score between the time it takes for discs to load determines which stage of development your 'pre-sim' ends up in. This can range from Baby, Teenager, Adult, and and Adult with Companion!
Don't get overly excited about how far you make it in any one round, this is just a pre-game and has no effect on the sim you will be developing later.
The installation will take approximately 364 MB of hard drive space for the basic installation. Over all it ran smoothly and without any interruption.
Maxis recieves a very Solid A in this Category!
Load Speed Of The Game Grade:B-
This game uses real texture and 3D wire models and frames. It is graphic intensive and thus it can take for what seems like an eternity for the game to load initially.
The wait time between splash screens is usually anywhere from 2-3 minutes. This becomes a drawback to the game as to move from Creating your Sims/Family, Moving Into The Neighborhood, and leaving one's house to go out on the town all require the game to stop and load another portion of the program.
In some parts of the game you will get to see a photo of your sim(s) posing in all there glorious pixels. In some transitions all you get is what could be mistaken for what some used to call "the blue screen of death". Don't reboot your machines folks, the game is loading.
Because of the delay of play, it can detract from the enjoyment of the game and so Maxis gets a B- in this category.
Glitches/Need For Patches Or Fixes: Grade A
After 4 hours of game platy I have not come across any glitch or need for a patch.
I will update this section if I find any. This is after all a new release and sometimes one has to wait long enough for the unfortunate bug to present itself.
Because of no know issues at this time Maxis recieves an A!
Graphics and Sound Grade: A
The graphics and sound in this game are amazing. Everything is done in 3D. This makes the sims facial expressions and gestures so vivid that one can get sucked into the pixelated world and not want to retreat.
Visually the Sims look like something of a cross between those characters in the recent Final Fantasy games and the animated series of Yugioh or Pokemon.
The objects and settings in the world of the sims are also just as rich and vivid. You can see the textures and details in the wall paintings. The fibers in the shag carpet show their appeal.
The objects are either very real world, such as plates, cups, televisions, radios and beds to fantasyesque like a small money tree that can be watered and milked for $40 simoleons a stretch or a mood adjuster that looks like something out of the magic toaster that the sims will wear on their head.
The sounds are just as impressive. It is as if Maxis got together in their sound laboratory and recorded snippets of real life (i.e. toilet flushing, knife on cutting board, keystrokes across the keyboard, walking through the grass).
Maxis delivers big in both these areas and recieves an A!
Any game can have fancy graphics and sound but it isn't worth much if it isn't playable.
The Sims2 isn't plagued with a hard interface and so it is very easy to play.
One can zoom in and out of the real 3d world models with their mouse wheel or with the = or - key on the interactive menu.
You can use your keyboard to move objects or your sims around the screen or utilize your mouse.
The Menus are bright and visual. They are done with universal symbols so that it is easy to understand. NO matter what language one would speak, one should be able to navigate through the menus. These consist of deciding how your sims will interact with people/objects around them and in building their home and purchasing items to place in those homes.
Overall this interface is simple and easy. There isn't a sense that one must be ambidextrous or have lightning fast reflexes to enjoy this game.
As a matter of fact, you can adjust the rate of speed of the game to your liking. You can pause, slow down, or speed up the rate of game play as you wish. This is accomplished with a menu that looks very similar to that of a CD-player.
For not complicating things and gumming up the works, Maxis recieves another A!
Extended Game Play:A+
For the beginner or novice to Maxis games, there are three tutorials that can be completed which explain the ins and outs of all functions of The Sims 2.
The options for miultiple sessions of game play are endless here. Why? Because of the games premise. You can design your sim, design your sims home, and run their lives.
No two sims are alike. Thus the options for different oppprtunities abound.
The basic goal for The Sims 2 is to have the created sim meet their life Aspiration which can be Romance, Knowledge, Popularity, Wealth, and Family. This must also be carefully measured with making sure basic needs are met as well which range from Hunger, Hygeiene, Social, Fun, Energy, and Environment. There are no real levels in the game. One can measure their success in the game with how well the Sims needs and aspirations are being met.
You can tell how you are doing in meeting the sims overall needs by a Aspiration meter. This looks like a Funnel and can vary from Platinum White (exceeding), yellow (Meeting) to red (not meeting).
Want to find out why your sim is unhappy? Then just refer to one of two menus.
The Aspiration menu will give you a goal that the sim wants to accomplish. This can be talking to a particular sim, buying an item for the home, to making a new friend and many more.
The basic needs menu will let you know if your character needs to sleep, imrove their surroundings, sleep, eat, clean themselves, have some entertainment, or socialize.
The menu lets you know how well you are doing at meeting the sims needs with a bar that shows either green for meeting, yellow for somehwat meeting, and red for not meeting.
Complete one of the aspiration slots and a new one will appear to show you what the sim wants in succesion. Complete enough of these aspirations and you are rewarded with Apsiration items. Items that can not be purchased.
There are also fears that the sims must avoid, such as being rejected by another sim, having an accident on the way to the bathroom, or being fired. If one of these come into play your aspiration score depletes and so does the overall mood of your sim.
Because of the interchangeability of the two menus, this makes for hours of gameplay.
Creating Your Sim
Creating the sims is so involved that you get to chose the astrological sign, the hair style, the color, the eyebrows, the eyelash length, how far apart the eyes are, how high or low the forehead is, the makeup...the possibilities are endless here.
Just think of it as you getting to build the mannequin from the ground up. Dressing every feature as you go along.
Once you have created your sim or family, you can define their relationships. You can make a sim a child of another sim in the same household, a spouse, or a roomate. This also means that when sims procreate they inherit genes from each parent and can come out with some pretty dynamic personalities and physical traits.
Who do we blame for Byron's pyromania Dad, Mom, or maybe that was Grandpa. The sims age also. So be mindful, they might just die. Babies do grow up to be toddlers, teenagers, adults, and eventually elders.
Endless hours can also be spent designing, bnuilding, and furnishing a Sims home.
Think of Trading Spaces meets the computer and you are off to the races.
Does Wynona like that wall sconce or does she prefer candle light? Is red really the best wall covering for the interior of that bedroom or does Millie prefer a muted blue.
The sims aren't just homebodies. They can go out on the town and socialize with others. There are threee different neighborhoods they can live in and explore.
This game will most certainly have expansion packs but it doesn't appear that it will need as many as it's predecessor did. The expansion packs that already seem built into this fine game are elements of Living Large, House Party, and Hot Date.
Not all objects are available from the old game but then again there are many new objects to enjoy.
If you liked the Sims you will enjoy Sims 2. If you have never played The Sims you will not notice any difference.
Another fun feature is the photo albums and videos that one can create of their sims and share with others.
Tale of The Tape: A-
Maxis has done it again. It has created a rich and dynamic world that one can enjoy. One can create a paradise or a living hell for their sims. It is after all for their own amusement.
Buy this game! You will be glad you Did!