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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Simulation

 

Publisher

Arush / Hip Interactive

 

Developer

Cyberlore

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q1 2005

 

 

- Some neat archival material

- Easy to grasp if you’ve played the Sims

 

 

- Give it a half-hour and you’ll be bored

 

 

Review: The Sims 2 (PC)

Review: Leisure Suit Larry - Magna Cum Laude (PC)

Review: BloodRayne 2 (XB)

 

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Playboy: The Mansion

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

playboy the mansion review          playboy the mansion review

 

II really and truly am surprised that the rollicking success of the Sims (and it’s many expansions and sequel) haven’t resulted in a landslide of “me too” games. This is where Playboy: The Mansion steps in – a game that is like the Sims dipped in an extra thick stew of testosterone and liberally sprinkled with busty ladies bursting at the seams (when they have seams to burst). It seems like a hit waiting to happen!

Playboy: The Mansion puts you in the well-tread slippers of Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy Empire, a company which just so happened to produce my favorite movie version of Macbeth. As Hef, it’s your job (in mission mode) to build the

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Playboy Empire from small beginnings by throwing parties, schmoozing with writers, Playmates and celebrities, while at the same time attempting to produce a killer issue and increase circulation. [Insert Viagra joke here.] If that weren’t enough you’ll also get the chance to outfit the Mansion with all manner of furniture and decorative do-dads. There’s also the

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obligatory cover shoot.
 
For all the dateless male teens hoping that Playboy: The Mansion is wall-to-wall T&A… frankly, they’ll be disappointed. During cover shoots you’ll see cartoony breasts, but it’s a far cry from the orgy of flesh you might have expected. The graphics do reasonable justice to many of the real life Playmates and Bunnies – admittedly I had to ask my twin brother if they were close. He says yes, I’ll believe him. During the photo shoots the models are high res but during the bulk of play (using the ¾ overhead perspective) they look fairly non-descript and during some of the larger parties it’s easy to lose sight of the model because they all look the same.

You only ever directly control Hef. From this position, you make acquaintances and make sure everyone in the Mansion feels good about himself or herself and make sure there are plenty of voluptuous women around to entice people to write for the magazine. It’s like you’re involved in a big social engineering experiment; handling moods, personalities, drives, intelligence, and even astrological compatibility; striving to bring everyone involved to the feverish understanding that you (i.e. Hef) are a god and that attaining the rank of “inner circle” is tantamount to partying on Mount Olympus with direct access to the Pantheon.
 
So, why am I so bored?

 

playboy the mansion review          playboy the mansion review

 
At least with mission mode you have a sense of purpose (although you might have trouble caring). In sandbox mode, the lack of any kind of objective is cool for about 30 minutes. Part of the reason is that I may be burned out on the Sims formula: meet someone, chat, chat some more, tell a joke, dance, get jiggy with a well-endowed model, and chat some more. It’s achingly repetitive. And dealing with the magazine aspect of Playboy: The Mansion is interesting for a while, but then it too gets boring. The same can be said of the photo shoots, which are handicapped by a limited number of available poses. (This last point could be addressed by updates available through Live.) Not helping is the music selection, which ranges erratically from okay to “Pop my eardrums with this ice-pick, please!” variety. For pure numbers, it’s close to what the Grand Theft Auto series usually packs in, but the quality is lacking.
 
Before I pursue a more worthy game, I should say there’s some neat archival material included in the game (old covers, etc.) but if you’re old enough to remember any of them, you’re old enough to know better than to play this game.
 
- D.D. Nunavut
(March 16, 2005)

 

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