Malcolm Owen On February 16, 2006 at 1:53 pm

The original game sold by the bucket-load. What seemed like thousands of add-on packs followed and contributed heavily to EA as it is today. Critical acclaim heralded the game, and many people lost hour upon hour of productive time thanks to its addictiveness. Hardened gamers said it was an abomination and they couldn’t see why so many people wanted to play and actually buy it, but the casual-gaming public bought and enjoyed it. Clones of the basic gameplay mechanics were used elsewhere as smaller developers tried to earn a quick buck, thereby almost creating a new genre of gaming. It appears that any sequel to The Sims has some big shoes to fill.

The Sims 2 is an attempt by EA to fill said huge footwear. Just like last time, you have the choice to do whatever the heck you want with anyone in the game, all in the process of helping them live out their lives. Being the God-figure (or unseen deity of your choice), you can order your Sims to go various tasks or things, mostly seen in everyday life, for example doing the washing up, cleaning, eating, showering, weight lifting, going out and working, TV watching and other bodily functions.
Meters along the bottom tells you what the Sim you have currently selected requires to do or needs to have sorted out for them, like the aforementioned bodily functions. Change part of the scenery in the virtual dolls house, and the Sim in question may feel happier. Give them a bed, and they’ll rest up for a few hours. A TV offers visual entertainment, and the opportunity to find out about the outside world.
You also have to send one or two Sims out to work to earn Simoleons so you can buy a better grade of stuff for the house, or food, or wages for the home help if you choose to employ them.
So far, everything I have mentioned is known to anyone who has played the original game. It’s fair to say that there isn’t much in the way of major change, and therefore veterans will immediately pick up on everything quite quickly. There are, however, a few changes to the grand scheme of things.

Before, you had a very restricted view of the world. A choice of only a few regular angles awaited the player, a vain restriction, giving a security camera view of everything that happened. Buttons allowed for you to rotate around the area, but at predetermined intervals, but this restriction had a lot more towards the 2D nature of all the items in the game. Everything was created and layered, all made to look pseudo-3D in an isometric style, and it worked well.
Now, in the flashy future, The Sims 2 is created in full 3D Technicolor. The camera can swoop and point in more directions than before. All the items are proper 3D objects, and the people themselves are much more detailed, to fit into the whole new world that they inhabit.
This does mean that you have to get a Doom 3 compatible system in order to actually play it at a high graphical standard, but most people would be able to chug along quite happily on more average computers. The number of Sims on screen does drastically affect the game’s performance, so large families should be avoided in those instances.

A welcome aspect to the game is that your Sims can now age over time. In the space of a few hours, a Sim can be brought in via a “Woo-Hoo” (Sim terminology for the “Double Bed Rumba”) taught through childhood, into being a teenager, a normal working adult, and then into old age and death. Their appearance does change over time, and their capabilities mutate for each section of their life to match.
Another part of the aging system is that since you can “Woo-Hoo” kids into the world, they actually take characteristics from both parents. “He has his father’s hair”, and so on. After many generations, a family tree will develop in such a way that you can see where specific features first originated and then got refined through the ages.

Sims have immediate aspirations and fears that they do and do not want happening to them. The more these get completed or avoided, the better or worse the mood of your Sim.
Life Goals are similar to these, except they are a bit more long-term. A Sim may want to be a family person, or more likely extremely rich. Fulfilling these gives you bonus points to spend on items for the house, to make like more interesting to live. It’s like getting a bonus in work in real life, but in game form.

There isn’t really much wrong that you can say about The Sims 2. Aside from the high system specifications, there’s only the amount of time it saps from you to worry about. If I can sit for 6 hours after installing it, and not notice everyone else going to sleep, then it must be addictive. If you’re pushing for something really bad, it’ll be more in the form of the endless add-on packs you will be encouraged to buy.

The Sims 2. Should you get it? Yes. Should you get the endless expansion packs? If you want. Should you only play it with an alarm clock running or someone to bring you out of the game when you have to do something important, like go to the loo? Definitely.

Buy The Sims 2 for the PC at
Buy it at EB


Addictive and simple, yet with enough improvements to make it worthwhile.


A huge improvement, with more freedom and options than the original.


Charlie Brown’s teacher returns for round 2.


A dolls house for those who don’t play with them. We do not need Malibu Stacey any more

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