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September 24, 2004
The Urbz: Sims in the City - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
8/11/2004EA GamesMaxis1-2$69.95

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Do you wanna par-ty?
It really is incredible how well The Sims has sold on the PC, not even Will Wright - the games creator - ever imagined it would take off as it did, and Electronic Arts originally only predicted small chance of success when it launched in February 2000. Indeed looking at the current PC charts there are no less then 7 out of the top 10 games based on The Sims, and combined with Sim City sales are fast approaching 40 million units! It's an incredible statistic considering that the sequel, The Sims 2, was only released this week on PC. Console owners haven't been left out with the Playstation 2 already blessed with two titles in the series, The Sims and The Sims: Bustin' Out. This game is a little different, so let's get to the details.

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Customise your look.
The idea behind The Urbz: Sims in the City is that the Sims have moved to the City where action is 24/7 and reputation means everything. Sims who live in the City are known as Urbz, and they have a bold new look and attitude. Go to work and be challenged by bosses at locations like the Sushi Bar, Chop Shop, or Bootleg Fireworks, Inc. Success at work brings promotions, access to new power socials and gear to influence your new lifestyle. Flaunt your attitude by styling your Urbz using the detailed new character engine; then cross the velvet ropes of an uptown night club or explore the subway to earn new skills and items for your high-rise crib. It's up to you whether your Urbz become big-time players on the street or are lost in the crowd. It's all about reputation as The Urbz are living the dream in a City that never sleeps.

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What's that dog doing!
Choose to live in one of nine neighborhoods, each with its own unique inhabitants and their lifestyles. These districts are titled Kicktail Park, Neon East, South Side Bridge, Gasoline Row, 125th St., Cozmo Park, Diamond Heights, Central Station, and The Foundry. Depending on which district you pick your gameplay experience and the way you earn your reputation will be different. Motive gameplay is more elegant than ever so that you fulfill your motives quicker and even have limited motives to manage in specific situations. You can bounce into a hip boutique and change your look in-game from rasta to rap, affecting how the world perceives you!

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Do you get arrested for that?
Speaking of perception your reputation is crucial to the gameplay. Build your reputation within the world, outside your hood, and through characters you’ll hang with. Your goal is to be the biggest player in the city with ultimate access to the hottest places and people. You need to build reputation by interacting with the other Urbz who live in the City. As you get more friends (or enemies) your reputation grows. Think of reputation as how well you're known and what influence you have in the world.

Playstation 2 owners have an added bonus in that you will be able to get your face in the game! Once you earn a reputation worthy of bill boards, you’ll see your face (or your Urbz face without EyeToy) appear on signs, billboards, and bus ads all around the city. As you can see from the screenshots this is a pretty sharp looking game with nice backgrounds and wonderfully detailed characters who each has his/her own personality and style. One thing that has changed somewhat from Sims titles is that the game isn't always fixed at an isometric viewpoint as it now moves around a bit to focus on the action on screen.

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Check out the bikes.
One interesting thing about the game is that the music is being composed by Black Eyed Peas lead singer Will.I.Am. Indeed nine music tracks will come from their album Monkey Business. Interestingly the artists went back and re-recorded their songs in simlish. Of course all the band members will appear in the game - unsurprisingly appearing as musicians!

The Urbz: Sims in the City is one of the most interesting games coming out on Playstation 2 this Christmas. With a more urban feel then other Sims titles it could also have a wider appeal. Expect a release in November here in Australia with a lower price point of $AU69.95.