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November 15, 2005
The Sims 2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
27/10/2005EA GamesMaxis1-2MMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
1413KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Look, a surfing machine.
Can you believe it will be six years in February since The Sims first burst onto the PC gaming scene? It's amazing how time flies isn't it? In that short amount of time the series has become one of the greatest gaming phenomena’s of all time selling millions of copies the world over. It's remarkable. When you think about it this game is merely a simulation of life. You go about your daily chores, even going to the toilet and making meals and even go to sleep. Exactly why the game became such a success is unknown, but it did, and has become very popular among female gamers. That's not to say guys can't enjoy this series either, they can and most certainly do. The Sims 2 is the latest outing on PS2 and we're going to let you know if it's worth your hard earned cash, and time.

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A more adult, ermm, theme.
As we previously mentioned The Sims is basically a life simulation where you build a character and then control every move they make, customizing their world, building their homes, creating their food, and designing their fashions! You will guide their careers as well as their friendships, and relationships. Indeed there is nothing fundamentally different with this title. Your sims will need to eat when hungry, sleep when tired and go to the toilet when they, well, need to go. The range of options is quite amazing. The Sims 2 on PS2 includes around 10,000 fashion items to unlock and use as well as hundreds of items to fill your world with. This is by far the biggest range of customization we've seen in the series to date.

Having been released on PC in September 2004 one may have expected Electronic Arts and developers Maxis to simply create a direct port of The Sims 2 for console owners. This is not the case however as this game has been changed quite considerably from the PC version with more emphasis on the single player mode. In fact the game includes an all new Story mode which, after you've created your Sim, gives you goals to achieve depending on your characters wants and fears during their in life. In order to reach these goals you should try to avoid encountering your sims fears, but try to accomplish their wants. One thing to note is that despite being called a Story mode this isn't a story driven narrative as the title suggests. Still it's engrossing and will have you hooked for days.

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Customization rocks!
The second mode in The Sims 2 is Freeplay which sees you selecting one of four locations to live in, and then building a house and family. There aren't any goals as such but the enjoyment simply comes from helping your sims through their lives. This mode is much more PC like in its open ended nature. While The Sims 2 doesn't include any multi-player options - we still dream of the day of a living Sims word with thousands of online gamers - the developers have included a 2-player split screen mode to keep you occupied. The 2-player mode actually works a treat so if there are two of you looking to play the game there is no hassles in playing together.

There have been a couple of changes over previous titles in the series. The inclusion of food is one are where the developers have spent considerable time. No longer do the sims just eat whatever TV dinner comes out of the fridge, but you can now provide the food which are located all around the game world. Your sims will need to learn the recipes as well so will have to study cookbooks. Some of the food they cook will be great and give them the expected energy boost. It can go wrong however and make them quite sick.

In terms of controls the big change is that not only can you point and click but can now also directly control your sims with the analogue stick. Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses and it will likely come down to personal preference as to which control method works out best.

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Playing some arcade games.
There are some disappointments with The Sims 2. Sadly one of the most unique features of the PC game, that being that your characters can start as children and age over time, has been removed for this console title as has the ability to have children. We're not sure why. Perhaps it put too much strain on the aging console, perhaps the save games were too large as a result and its missed. We would have also love to see Electronic Arts make use of the PS2's Eye Toy by allowing you to texture map your face onto characters. Sadly it's not included in the game at all with the Eye Toy only included so photos of yourself can be plastered on the walls as posters. Maybe next time then. Finally the save size for this game was a little larger then one might expect at about 1413kb it's not the biggest save file, but certainly large enough despite the amount of data required to be stored.

Graphically the developers seem to be making much better use of the PS2's power then the previous game. Not only has the range of animations on the characters been improved considerably, but the range of object, backgrounds, locations and events has also been increased dramatically. The games entire look has been overhauled and is much closer to the PC counterpart then The Sims Bustin' Out was back in 2003.

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Is that a Bio-Dome?
Once again the audio in this game is quite impressive. As with previous games the Sims have their own little language which, as we mentioned last year, is quite humorous at times. Besides the sim talk the games music and effects are also quite impressive with a range of music styles and effects for all the events in the game. Indeed this is the best sounding Sims game we've played and the Dolby Pro Logic II support, while not the most active ever heard, is a nice touch.

The Sims 2 on consoles is quite a different beast to the PC version so fans of the series should even consider owning both games. Its great to see Electronic Arts putting just as much love and effort into this game rather then just a port. We still have some small issues with the title but overall this game is one worth adding to your collection.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSNot the best PS2 graphics, looks much nicer then the previous game.
SOUNDAlso improved and expanded is the audio in this sequel. Great.
GAMEPLAYSeveral new features over the original game and even the PC version.
VALUETonnes of stuff to unlock, a lengthy game that may never end.
OVERALLThe Sims 2 is another great game in the series which, even if you own the PC game, is well worth adding to your collection. Great fun and the perfect way to waste an afternoon or two (or twenty) away.

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