The Sims,Sims, The Review

The Sims,Sims, The Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • EA

Developer

  • Maxis

Release Date

  • 11/30/1999
  • Out Now

Platform

  • Mac
  • PC
  • PS2
  • Xbox

rating

Who left the toilet seat up?

Random roommates are part of nearly every college experience, often resulting

in lifelong friendships or the proverbial kick to the nuts. During my freshmen

year, I lived in a triple room with two guys who were as far apart on the spectrum

as can possibly be. Let me tell you about their TV habits…

The first roommate not only loved watching his mid-day soaps,

but also reveled in loudly talking back to the characters and openly dreaming

about how wonderful it must be to live in “Soap Opera World.” The second roommate

loved the movie Scarface,

especially the part where Al Pacino says, “Say hallo

to my leetle friend
,” and then shoots people dead. My roomie loved that

part so much, he’d watch it over and over again at 3 AM, before bedtime.

Suffice

it to say, these roommates drove me absolutely nuts, and I came to the conclusion

that I should try to pit them against each other. It would be like a game” only

with real people. It was just a fantasy, though; I never did orchestrate my

master plan of Roommate Deathmatch, but squaring off against the roomies within

the new single player mode of The Sims on PS2 rekindles all those bitter

memories of aggravation. Except this time around, it’s fun!

The Sims, the digital people simulator already 3 years strong on the

PC, has been translated to the PS2. With

a new goal driven single player game, several two-player options, and a well-mapped

control system, it’s more than just a port. Hours can whiz by just coaxing your

little Sims along, pushing them to succeed, gain friends, and fight the ever-present

menace of BO. The Sims is still the same empathically clever game that

it ever was, yet it retains many of the same little problems, such as the micromanagement

annoyances and the lack of aging characters.

Speaking of which, The Sims has aged in the looks department. While

simple, but effective visuals have always been utilized, I wanted to see more

improvements made after 3 years time. For example, there are abrupt changes

between daytime and nighttime, pausing out to a black screen momentarily. A

smoother and more gradual transition over the course of the day would have been

less jarring and well… better. The camera is now fully rotatable, but still

only offers the above-at-an-angle view to look around your environments. I would

have appreciated a closer level of zoom to really bring me into the action.

On the whole, however, the look and feel of the game remains the same, with

a bright and colorful cheery look, but with some occasional slowdown.

No major changes have been made to the audio either. The Sims still speak a

language all their own, a gobbledy-gook of human sounds to express their emotions,

and different musical genres are selectable via your Sim’s stereo. What has

changed are the controls ” each menu and option has been mapped across the different

buttons. In order to speed up the gameplay, you have to hold the right top button,

like a shift key. I think it would have been more effective and less tiresome

if it worked like a Caps lock: on or off. You control a column of light that

highlights the different interactive objects. If the selected object is ambiguous,

a list of the possible nearby objects you might have selected will appear. You

simply scroll down and select the one you meant to pick out. While these controls

work, I was hoping for the option of more character-centric controls, for a

greater change of pace.

The single player mode, aptly titled “Get a Life,” pushes you through various

stages of life as you move out of Mom’s and play the social butterfly, climbing

your way to the top through pre-created homes. During this journey, you have

to put up with many less-than-savory roomies, who will call you their slave,

forcing you to pick up their garbage and flush their toilets. While you can

switch from your Sim to the roommates, there are many chores these roomies simply

refuse to do.

At first, I was so miffed at this one lazy roommate, Dudley, I decided to make

him lose his convenience store clerk job. He only contributed a paltry 110 Simoleans

anyway, which hardly helped compared to my burgeoning career in the Xtreme sports

biz. After making Dudley miss work a few times, he was fired, and my whole game

was over. So much for revenge.

The

challenge herein is to control both your Sim and the limited roomies and still

succeed at various goals from improving your Sims’s career level to upgrading

your home with the latest trends. The latest “trends” includes additional objects

unlocked after completing various goals within “Get a Life.” Completing these

checkpoints also opens up the two other modes within the game, the original,

open-ended PC version, and the cooperative and competitive two-player games.

Open-ended Sims gives you the opportunity to set forth your own goals, as you

create a melting pot neighborhood of Sims. You can also take your memory card

over to a friends place and load up your Sim in a new neighborhood. However,

between the single player game and the open game, The Sims can eat up

about 1/3 of your memory card. Time for another purchase. Damn those Greedy

Sims.

The competitive matches pits two players in different races to finagle various

goods such as food, Simoleans, and booty from computer controlled Sims. The

cooperative mode plays out like a normal, open-ended game, as two independent

Sims split up their chores and work towards keeping up a happy home. The two-player

modes are a welcome option, if not drastically new.

There is also the option to entirely turn off the free-will of your Sims, offering

more control. Your Sim will be less likely to fritter away your list of planned

chores in favor of cooking himself dinner. But at the same time, the removal

of free-will happens across the board, so in the single player mode, poor Dudley

is going to start missing work on his own every day unless you remember to get

his ass out of bed.

All in all, the Sims is a well-put together version of a three-year old game.

I was expecting a reiteration and that’s what I got, but deep down, I was hoping

for more of a rejuvination. The Get a Life mode does offer a more focused game

for the goal-oriented naysayers of open ended gameplay, and playing The Sims

on a TV does open up the “spectator sport” quality of the game ” much better

on a sofa then wedged on a tiny office chair.

Still, I think if the PC and the PS2 games came out at the exact same time,

I would still choose the PC one for features that thus far remain inherent to

the PC, such as expansion packs (as expensive as they are), web features, customization,

and the larger scale at which you can exchange game items. If you can’t get

it on the PC, The Sims is still a game you won’t mind living with on

your PS2. Now if only i can get it to stop leaving its dirty dishes in the sink…



REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating5
Good translation of the PC original
New goal oriented single player
Two player modes
Translation of the 3 year old PC original
So many more inherent features to the PC
Look and feel is relatively the same
The same little problems of the original