The Sims Review

No more reticulating splines or hyperventilating the children (or is that hyperactivating the children?).

Though not quite a basic fare, The Sims, a PlayStation2 release from Maxis and Electronic Arts, takes the core game back to the beginning, and introduces the phenomenal simulation to a new platform and likely a new fan base.

Paul has a problem. He lives with his mother, has little money and no skills. He is neat; his mother is a slob. She leaves garbage on the floor. The television is smoking and she incessantly demands that he learn to fix it. Of course, just walking up to the television and tinkering with it is conducive to session of electric shock therapy. Paul will need to skill up, earn points by studying cooking and mechanics.

Then he will have to find a job in order to make himself self-sufficient enough to move out of the house.

The Sims does deviate from the PC version of the game in several areas. For starters, the game begins ­ after creating your Sim ­ with a dream sequence where your character receives a romantic kiss and a naked foray into a hot tube. Don’t worry, parents, in typical Sims fashion, even though your Sim is naked, you don’t see anything. But it is in the middle of this dream sequence that your Sim receives a rude awakening. The mansion sequence is a portent of what could happen if your Sim is successful in life.

When you are in the learning phase of the game, your “mom” will jabber in Sim talk, but a pop-up screen will also give you clues as to what you need to be doing. Don’t study cooking and your first effort on the stove may result in a fire. You must accomplish certain tasks in order to prove that you are ready to move out of your mother’s house and try to make it on your own.

Bonus items will also be made available as you accomplish tasks. Fixing the television will unlock a vanity mirror, which as any PC Sims player knows, is used to practice speech and increase charm.

The game also features the building modes and the same interface features ­ buying, speeding up time, as well as the range of personal indicators to measure hygiene, fun, and energy among others ­ that the PC version has.

Another one of the newer features in the game is the multiplayer mode. You can go head-to-head in a competition, and if successful, you can unlock the “Play The Sims” mode, in which two players can have created Sims share a home.

The control elements of this game were wonderfully ported from the PC to the PS2. PC gamers may take a few moments to get acquainted with where everything is, but once the concepts are in place, it could almost be said that this platform ­ while lacking the various expansions of The Sims PC series ­ is easier to play (certainly easier to save) than it’s older cousin.

Because there is no mouse to move and issue commands to your Sim, a beam of light and circle, falling from the heavens, is used to initiate commands.

Graphically the game is color and almost identical to the PC version. The playing area may be a little more finite, but the environmental elements are very well done, and the world is quite colorful.

The game’s sound is almost incidental to the play. The Sims jabber in their own peculiar language and the music is almost akin to the tunes heard in an elevator.

The Sims, for the PS2, serves and an introduction on the PlayStation 2 to the concepts of the PC game franchise while dropping in some new ideas to give the program some fresh aspects. This is a game in which you micromanage a created character in a cyber realm that, to some extent, mirrors the real world.  It takes time to play and develop a character, and those who have never played The Sims may find their opinions of the program defaulting to one of two settings ­ either you will really like the game, or you won’t like it at all.

Sims addicts can take comfort in the fact that now your PC hard drive does not have to be eaten alive with saved games.

This game is rated Teen for comic mischief, mature sexual themes and mild violence.

Reviewer’s Scoring Details

Gameplay: 7.6

The camera angles take some time to get used to with both thumbsticks controlling the scrolling as well as the horizontal/vertical and zoom capabilities. In typical Sims style, the world is rather finite and you must take time to skill up your Sim before they can advance in this micromanaged world. Transitional phases in the game, like from day to night, also takes some minor load times, which does interrupt the flow of the game.

Graphics: 7.6

The animation is stilted and alternates between fluid movement and robotic-like posturing. The world is brightly colored.

Sound: 7

Sims-talk is addictive but nonsensical and can get tiresome. However, this is a game that is not predicated upon the sound but rather the game structure.

Difficulty: Easy

The controls are simple and have ported well to this platform. While the game itself takes time to develop, the interface and basic concepts are easy to work through.

Concept: 7.5

This game has some nice additions, like the multiplayer mode, and the control elements have been ported over well to this platform. This is, though, The Sims as we’ve come to know the game.

Multiplayer: 8.2

The head-to-head competition is fun and the “Play The Sims” mode is a wonderful touch.

Overall: 8

The Sims has made a successful transition to a new platform. There was some anticipation to see how the various game elements would fit into this console system, but EA and Maxis have done a remarkable job of tweaking the game just a bit but keeping the overall flavor and look intact on the PS2.

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