The Sims: Hot Date Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Sims: Hot Date Info

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Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

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rating

All dressed up and finally somewhere to go!

EA released their revolutionary title The Sims nearly

two years ago. Since that time they have doled out to a wide assortment of shut-ins

and social malcontents no less than three expansions. The most recent, Hot

Date
, is without a doubt the best of the lot. Although it’s far from perfect,

it’s a big step in the right direction for the Sims.

If you consider yourself the Frank

Lloyd Wright
of the Sim universe, Hot Date will seem a cornucopia

of construction. The main feature of this expansion is the addition of a downtown

district for each of your neighborhoods. Each downtown contains ten lots; though

nine of them are full at start, you are free to bulldoze what’s there and replace

the shops, restaurants and hang outs with those of your own creation.

The default lots are generally too sparse and the fun too far and few between.

Your Sims will probably find them about as fun as watching paint dry. Undertaking

construction of a new downtown, you will soon find yourself hard pressed to

create a variety of unique establishments where your Sims can gather for a reliably

good time with the limited selection of start up items. Fortunately, the downtown

lots are available for download and sharing, which should help out quite a bit.

Building downtown lots isn’t as fun as it sounds.

Each downtown area is populated by residents of the selected neighborhood and

‘Townies,’ NPC Sims who just happen to be downtown browsing for a skimpy negligee

or out for an evening of fine dining, frenzied dancing and wanton bubble blowing.

Your Sims can interact with Townies. They can form friendships and love affairs.

They can be called on the phone for chit-chat and invited home. They can even

move into your Sim’s house and become a player-controlled character. These extra

people add immensely to the fun factor in Hot Date.

But it’s too bad that they don’t allow Sims from your other neighborhoods to

meet downtown. I would have preferred a single downtown district where Sims

from all of the neighborhoods could congregate (like a giant Sim hub), maybe

throw in a few Townies for a bit of chaos and save us all a lot of wearying

construction.

Indeed, players cannot truly affect anything downtown in play mode other than

their selected Sim. ‘Build’ and ‘Buy’ are not selectable, which just adds to

the tedium of construction. There’s really no way to be sure that your downtown

will be free of corners in which Sims will get stuck and other building and

placement errors other than sending a Sim on a trial run and taking careful

note of what needs to be changed. This is simply more work than fun.

A sub-category motif abounds in this expansion and it extends to objects as

well as social interactions. Objects have been categorized to the point where

some items are nearly impossible to find. This is particularly true with the

downtown objects and compounded by the fact that some uptown objects, like computers

and the virtual reality glasses, aren’t available downtown. And, of course,

there are downtown objects which aren’t available to your neighborhood. Spending

two hours searching for the hotdog cart is sure to weigh on anyone’s fun meter.

The real joy of this expansion rests in sowing the seeds of discontent among

the residents of your Sim neighborhoods. Hot Date gives the gamer some

great tools for creating angst-ridden relationships, as it introduces more than

40 new social interactions. Familiar categories of exchanges have been broken

into subcategories. For example, a Sim hoping to entertain a guest must next

decide whether a Joke will do the trick, some Juggling might be called for or

to go whole hog and break out the Puppet. How a Sim reacts to your Sim’s amusements

depends, of course, on their personality.

Sims have always had Interests, but they didn’t appear to play a very large

part in forming relationships. In Hot Date, Sims now have more interests

and they can change these by simply heading downtown to buy a magazine and bringing

it back for a good read. Interests can be gained much more quickly than skills

and it gives your Sims schmoozing ammo for their amorous assaults on more difficult

Sims. Players can nudge their Sim into changing the topic of conversation, hopefully

to an interest they both share. That’s a lot better than being confined to watching

helplessly as your Sim bores the hell out of everybody he/she talks to.

Players will no longer be able to have one Sim pin another in a corner alternating

between Joke and Compliment until they have coerced a friendship out of the

befuddled victim…or at least not as easily.



There are far more physical interactions between Sims than in previous versions

and they allow for much more complex relationships, which is something that

the Sims apparently needed. If your Sims are feeling amorous while dining, they

might indulge in a bit of footsie. They can also Cuddle on just about any communal

piece of furniture, an option which might include sub-options like Embrace,

Caress, Kiss and Make Out. One Sim can give another a playful tickle or tickle

them mercilessly until they wet themselves. The additional options made me wonder

how the game had done without them all this time.

Gifts no longer come from thin air. Now your generous Sims can shower their

lovers with flowers, jewels, toys and candies. They can even buy clothes for

their friends and themselves, clothes which are added to their wardrobe and

available when they get back home. This is a very nice touch and a pretty cool

feature of the game.

The concept of time has never merged seamlessly into The Sims. Just

walking across a moderate-sized room will take a Sim whole minutes. Time is

even further warped in Hot Date, particularly in downtown mode where

time seems to have no connection to anything. A restaurant meal can take upwards

of four hours. If a Sim leaves downtown by taxi at 8:33 in the morning, they

should not be getting home at 6:56 in the evening. Fortunately, Downtown Time

is only a distant cousin to Neighborhood Time; time spent downtown doesn’t seem

to have much bearing on Neighborhood Time or even in relation to their careers.

We are given a bit of love with the energy meters, which seem to run down slower

while your Sim is downtown, allowing your Sims the opportunity to enjoy the

new downtown features and maybe even make a friend or two. Your hygiene meter

is the big loser this time out. Your Sim can step out of the shower and into

a cab to meet a potential lover downtown and by the time they have wined and

dined and the date agrees to return to his swinging bachelor pad for the ‘hot’

part of the date, either or both of them will abandon affection for want of

a shower. Apparently, there is something mysterious and unseen downtown that

will have your Sims smelling like rancid gibbons

in no time at all.

But this is a minor quibble. The addition of expanded conversation options,

physical interactions and interests makes it much harder for your Sim to win

friends, but it is a much more rewarding experience. It lends the game an eerie

trace of depth and plenty of potential drama. Hot Date is definitely

the most worthy of the Sim expansions, though a bit flawed. And it’s more fun

than a barrel full of gibbons.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

4
Rating
The most fun of all the expansions
Townies!
Relationship tinkering
New interests & item inventory
Multiple downtowns
No build or buy modes downtown
Many object are hard to locate