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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Life Simulation

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Maxis

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Release Date

Q4 2005

 

 

- Lets your Sims focus on partying and dating instead of the everyday grind
of Sims living
- Some great new items, especially the bowling alley
- New vampire NPCs can transform your Sim into a real nightlife party
creature

 

 

- Adds cars you can buy, but you don't have control over driving it
- Doesn't push the Sims game into a new gameplay direction that is hasn't been before in a previous expansion (remember Hot Date?)

 

 

Review: The Sims 2 (PC)

Review: The Sims 2: University (PC)

 

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The Sims 2 Nightlife

Score: 8.7/10

Some Sims 2 gamers are perfectly content having their Sims live a normal Sims life: going to work, raising a family, taking care of everyday needs, and occasionally upgrading their Sims abode with new items. But then there's the Sims gamer that desires to go beyond the everyday, mundane Sims existence, looking to quench their thirst for excitement. These are the Sims 2 gamers that have done the Dangerfield and gone back to school already with the first Sims 2 expansion University and now want their Sims to look for some sizzling romance and socializing nightlife. Sims 2 Nightlife fills that void with a new emphasis on dating and the simple quest for pleasure, Sims 2 style.

 

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It's not a step in a new direction that the Sims franchise hasn't been before (remember the Hot Date expansion for the original Sims?). But having your Sims focus on their pleasure by enjoying the social scene, that includes hitting the town at night and looking to light the flames of passion and romance, will appeal to many Sims 2 gamers looking to spice up their Sims' lives. Think of it as a sort of "Desperate Housewives" expansion, where the routine "Simburbia" lifestyle ignites into searing hot passion with alluring nightlife that is the perfect setting for courting a new love.

 

Again, the biggest implementation of Nightlife is the Sims dating realm. There are new features that are entirely designed to only track your Sims' "dateability" with other Sims, tracking the laws of physical attraction and one-on-one chemistry. Just like in real life, there are aspects of an individual that make one more or less appealing to particular individuals. What you do for a living, how you act, and your basic Sims genetic makeup will determine how much "chemistry" there is between your Sim and another you may be interested in. If you see a lightning bolt on the 

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game screen in the "date meter" when you're interacting in a romantic way with another Sim, then there's chemistry there that could lead to a more serious physical relationship. If there's no bolt, the electricity's not there - yet.

 

You can continue to woo that particular non-bolting Sim, but you'll have to be even more romantic than usual if you will have any chance of getting that romantic fire sparked. If all else fails, there's 

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always the gypsy matchmaker, who will, with a generous enough "donation," provide the perfect love match. If that doesn't work, she has her own brand of chemistry you can buy with enough Simoleons: a little love potion number 8.5 that will increase your attraction to your desired amore.

 

There's more than the old one-on-one socializing added in Nightlife. You can go out in Sims groups with a few of your closest Sims friends. They'll invite you for a night on the town. There are even two types of group dates too. A "Just for Fun" outing will be just that: no strings attached, just a night to enjoy yourself amongst the company of your good friends. But there's also the "Outing" group date, which is timed and is scored, and could lead to "rewards" for your Sim if the score is high enough.

 

But be careful out there in the night air, because there's plenty of other night creatures lurking in the nightclubs, restaurants, and other "hot spots." Grand Vampires are new NPCs that roam the nightlife. Get too friendly with one and you may be turned into a night-loving, daylight-hating denizen of the night yourself. Spend your days snoozing in your coffin (a new item) and the nights cruising the downtown as part of the vampiric, nocturnal social order. You can revert back to your "normal" Sims life free of the vampire night-walking crew by visiting the gypsy matchmaker once again, who has a purchasable cure for the vampire spell you're under.

 

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Plenty of new items (over 125) are in Nightlife, and they can be kept in the new personal inventory for each Sim, giving Nightlife a new item-collecting aspect. These items can be used in your Sims residence, including any new downtown residence you buy, to keep you closer to the nightlife action.

 

New types of restaurants are also now available, from 50's-themed diners to exquisite five-star establishments perfect for a romantic interlude. Various nightclubs are scattered about, and one of my favorite additions is the bowling alley, perfect for the kegling fan. You can also purchase a mini-bowling alley for your home, as long as you have a big enough space to build it on your home site.

 

Another new Nightlife addition is that you can now buy cars. Unfortunately, you can't drive them freely about the town as in an open-world driving game such as Grand Theft Auto, but having your own car means that there's no more waiting for carpools or taxis to get your Sim from home to a desired destination. Simply put your Sim in their own car and pick a place to ride. You'll need to build a garage and driveway to have a car, but that's the only requirement (other than the obvious need for a Simoleon car payment).

 

You don't have to go downtown to have a party, either. You can bring the party home with some of the new, party-happening items available such as the DJ booth, karaoke machine and the Electro Dance Sphere that spins you in a frenzied party mood. If cards are your party game, you can also purchase a poker table for some Texas Hold'em sessions with your friends.

 

While the gameplay's been enhanced with the dating element, the visuals haven't been, as they're still on par with the two previous Sims 2 titles. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, because the Sims 2 graphics were solid to begin with. More neon-flavored treats for the eyes are here, especially when you visit the nightclubs with their glowingly colored
dancing strobe lights.

 

It doesn't go into a completely new direction of Sims gameplay that its predecessor, University, did with the need to go to class, study and do homework that were essential to getting a good grade towards your Sims degree. And while there's Nightlife goals to fulfill that will increase your overall Sims pleasure quotient, there's less worry about task-fulfilling and more temptation on spending each and every moment downtown looking for love in the nightclubs, restaurants, stores and museums that offer their own sense of pleasurable adventure that wasn't possible in Sims 2 before. If dating is your game and "partying" is your middle name, then dance on downtown with Nightlife, where the nighttime is the right time for loving and partying hearty all night until the sun rises in the morning.

 

-Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

November 1, 2005

 

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