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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Simulation

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Maxis

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2005

 

 

- Selectable third-person controls allow for a more console-centric way of moving characters
- Best Sims console title
- Again allows for two-player Sims gaming

 

 

- Can’t compete with all the PC version and its expansion packs offer
- Annoying loading screens and sometimes less-than-responsive controls
- Visuals aren’t as sharp as PC version

 

 

Review: The Sims 2 (PS2)

Review: The Sims 2 (PC)

Review: Urbz: Sims in the City (DS)

Review: The Sims (XB)

 

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The Sims 2

Score: 8.6 / 10

 

the sims 2         the sims 2

 

Fanatical PC Sims fans have been able to play their favorite God game for some time now, even enjoying two great expansion packs and awaiting another, The Sims 2: Open for Business, momentarily. But just as with the original Sims, the home consoles are finally populated with the Sims world again with the release of The Sims 2.

The trickiest proposition for The Sims 2 console developers is the same as before: how to translate a decidedly single-player PC experience onto the consoles, where multiplayer is a more prevalent aspect of gaming? But just as before, The Sims 2 successfully provides a console God game that transcends its single-player roots and provides a more console-centric style (objective-based gameplay and multiplayer) although PC Sims 2 players who own both of the PC game’s expansion packs, University and Nightlife, will be disappointed by the console’s less-filling

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offering sans the content from both the expansions.

As in previous Sims console games, The Sims 2 is the ultimate in God game freedom, allowing for the player to follow any whim and go about leading their Sims through life at a leisurely pace if so desired (although Sims now age from toddler to senior citizen and genetics play a big part in their appearance).

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The Sims 2 isn’t exactly a straight port of the PC game, because on the PC, there’s also a plethora of in-game content, both through the original game and with the addition of the two expansion packs, that don’t make the jump to the console. But if you only play the Sims on a console, then you won’t even notice that PC content is missing from its console offspring.

On the console, there was the need to console-fy the game, providing console gamers a “goal” system. Once again you can create your own Sim, or have the game randomly select two parents and genetically birth a Sim with DNA-encoded traits from both. But I would recommend crafting your own Sim, because some of the results of the random process are like genetic experiments gone horribly awry (think the monstrosities roaming through the campy Marlon Brando-Val Kilmer “The Island of Dr. Moreau” movie or almost any episode of “The Jerry Springer Show” and you get the idea).

Once your Sim is “born” you have two choices: the PC-familiar open-ended gameplay, where you can play the game however you like, or the for-the-console-crowd story-based gameplay, where you have specific goals to attain in order to progress through the game. There’s also another gameplay nod to the console gamer in the form of a two-player, split-screen co-op mode.

 

the sims 2         the sims 2


There are specific goals you must attain while in story mode to open new items and areas to explore, but they basically fall into a few familiar categories: you must become friends (and eventually lovers) with fellow Sims or set out on a career path and build your skills in various areas of expertise such as cooking and mechanical. Your Sim has wants and need to fill, fears to avoid, as well as the basic life requirements of eating, sleeping and cleanliness (including using the bathroom on a regular basis) to survive. But socializing and networking is the main goal-oriented road to Sims 2 success.

One of the most obvious differences between playing a PC game versus a console game is the translation of mouse & keyboard controls to a console controller. Just as in previous Sims console versions, the same basic movement controls, where you move the glowing cursor to the desired spot where you want your Sim to go and then watch him or her move there applies in The Sims 2. But this time, you can enter into a third-person, real-time control schematic that all console action gamers will be at home with. This is a preferred method of movement, but it has a slight schizophrenic feeling to it if you use the “speed up” control to rapidly advance the slow-paced gameplay. It speeds you up too fast, and you’ll find yourself walking into walls and other items throughout your Sims domicile.

Visually The Sims 2 is an improvement from previous Sims console games, especially in the sometimes-racy but superb animations that go along with Sims interactions that are at the very center of the gameplay. But even on the Xbox, somehow the game’s graphics fall short of the PC version. Not a humongous falloff in the eye-candy, but discerning Sims gamers who have put in a lot of time with The Sims 2 in its PC form will notice.

Load times are the game’s most annoying issue. When you move between different locales in the game, you’ve got to wait through a delay while the game loads the new level. That’s to be expected. But while it’s not really a load time per se, waiting for the game to stop your current activity and switch to the next involves a waiting time that is enough to exasperate even the most patient of Sims gamers.

While Sims 2 PC players will be able to notice what’s missing from the game’s PC inspiration, console-only Simmers will find The Sims 2 to be the best console rendition of the series yet. Better graphics, animations and gameplay (both free-roam and story-driven single-player and split-screen two-player) combine with the usual Sims God game goodness for a respectable console version of a very good PC game.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(February 23, 2005)
 

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