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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Simulation

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Maxis

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

 

- Easy for anyone to get into (namely, your wife or girlfriend)

- Fun if you like just twiddling around

- Accessible control

 

 

- There’s a story (somewhat) but not much happens

 

 

Review: The Sims (GC)

Review: The Sims Bustin' Out (GBA)

Review: The Sims Bustin' Out (XB)

 

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The Sims Bustin' Out

Score: 8.2 / 10

 

I’d really like to start this review with some originality but when it’s a review of another Sims game, I can’t help but feel a little cynical.  That’s not to say that the Sims Bustin’ Out (SBO) isn’t a well-constructed game, filled with stuff to do, but after a bazillion (give or take) PC expansions and appearances in the console world, and write-ups in just about every mainstream media publication what can possible be stated that hasn’t been stated before?  And at 3:00AM, filled with various cold medications and running a mild fever, would it even be a good idea for me to attempt it?

 

sims bustin out gamecube review          sims bustin out gamecube review

 

The strongest thing SBO has going for itself is that my wife will play it for long stretches, giving me the chance to catch up on email, post some reviews, and read the paper.  I think the last stat I saw had more women than men playing the Sims, so I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise. (Maybe it’s that whole “playing house” thing.)  But the fact your wife or girlfriend can and will play this game – and for long stretches – isn’t mentioned as a feature anywhere on the package.  If sales are important as we’re lead to believe, that should have been front and center on the package because although more women are getting into gaming (awesome!) the majority of games are still bought and played by males.  I have no empirical data to back this up but any visit to EB should be enough to convince you.

 

Anyway, SBO is essentially a refinement of Sims games that have come before it and the second to appear on the GameCube.  The “goals” remain largely the same: keep your sim being happy and healthy by establishing (and maintaining) relationships and earning money to buy cool stuff.  There is a “Bust Out” story mode with set goals (to unlock items, etc.) and lots of different places to access around town but like the Sims games before SBO the concentration is placed on maintaining your sim’s well being (particularly in free-form mode).

 

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Amazingly enough the control aspects haven’t suffered much in the shift from the PC to the console realm.  You move a cursor – like a laser-pointer from Heaven – to direct the actions of your sim in a 3D dollhouse realm.  Actions can be qued up (like going to the bathroom before going to bed) so you always have control over where your sim is going.  (Left on its own a sim will wander around taking care of itself – somewhat.)  Accessing the various sub menus is also a snap.

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The graphics, although truly 3D, bright and colorful, don’t seem as sharp compared to its PC roots.  Still, things are easy to see and the camera can be positioned in many different angles as you roam the neighborhood.  And reading your sim’s body language (and the body language of other sims) isn’t difficult.

 

Even if it was hard to read the body language, the similish language offers enough insight to clear it up.  SBO is a good sounding game all-round.

 

sims bustin out gamecube review          sims bustin out gamecube review

 

My one real gripe with SBO is that I had to buy a new memory card before being able to play it.  Saving your game requires 160 blocks of memory!  The last game that forced me to buy another memory card was All-Star Baseball 2004 and I’ve never forgotten it, particularly when most games don’t go over 10 blocks of memory.

 

The other issue I have with SBO is the split-screen two-player mode.  There’s nothing more groan-inducing than being halfway through the paper when your mate calls from the next room, “Hey this has a two-player mode!  Let’s play together!”  Of course, you must join her to maintain the peace, but if you were playing Hunter: The Reckoning and suggested she join you, she’d be gone like a shot.  Yes, yes, broad generalizations, but that’s the way it is at my house.

 

If you liked the Sims, Bustin’ Out is a great addition.  Much of the series’ originality has lost its shine, but the mechanics and playability remain extremely good even though there’s not much in the way of plot.

 

- Omni

(February 28, 2004)

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