When the thousands upon thousands of Sims fans got wind of the production of The Sims 2 early last year anticipation started to mount. Now the finished game has arrived, to be greeted by the huge boiling-hot welcome exactly as its top-selling prequel (and all the add-ons) before it. So – I hear you say, what’s so special about TS2?
Well first of all – the graphics are much much better. Your Sims now have fingers – instead of a lump of non-finger-shaped things for hands. They also now have moving hair, expressions and you can customise every part of their face from their brow shape to their chin size. There are also more social interactions than you can count (not really, I just can’t be bothered to list them all) but they include some cute ones like “Grandma Hug” “Family Kiss” and “Snuggle”. Also, your Sims now don’t have a never-ending life, there are now 6 life stages, Baby, Toddler, Child, Teen, Adult and Elder.
You start off with three neighbourhoods; Strangetown, Pleasantview and Veronaville, These neighbourhoods contain various lots (some finished houses and some are just building plots) and various families. You can now place lots anywhere in the neighbourhood (as long as there’s stable terrain) and can have up to 5 floors. You can now edit the roof shape, and unlike The Sims you now have to add it yourself, as the game won’t automatically put one on, which if you forget to do (as I did on countless occasions) means your house can look very silly from the neighbourhood view. This however, doesn’t affect your sims in-game as there is no weather.
You firstly have to create a family or move a Maxis-Made one into a house. You also have the option to build a house or to use a ready made one. New families include the Capps and the Montys – two families torn by rivalry, but will the teenagers of each family (Romeo and Juliette – How original) fall in love and live happily ever after? Cassandra Goth is now an adult, who we all met in the previous game, and is in search for a hunk, but has no luck, and Bella has presumably run off with the postman – ahh The Sims at its best. If you have a big family, however, they can become quite high-maintenance with all their personal problems that you, and only you, can sort out.
In my game, the first couple I created started out as Roomies (Erin and Adam) and fell in love (awww, how cute?) but decided against their instinct to have 3 partners (lol) and got engaged (couldn’t help noticing that they put the ring on the wrong finger – but hey – at least they’ve got fingers now). They then got married under a pergola in a huge party where they invited all their mates and relatives. A Vicar, sadly, doesn’t make an appearance but you then view a cut scene with them both exchanging rings and kissing! A while later a limo arrives and takes them both away, but they only stay on a honeymoon for about 5 hours. You don’t have control over them during this time, you just get the pleasure of staring at their house (but as at all other times, you can speed this period up). Other than just being boring, getting married and starting a family in the conventional way, your Sims might evenbe abducted by aliens and sometimes men may come back pregnant!
Well, whether you decide to use a family already there, or create your own, the game sure makes it an experience. Each Sim has (or you give them) an aspiration – which they ideally have to fulfil before they face ol’ Grimreaper (You know, the tall one dressed in black, carries a scythe?) Although you now don’t play Rock, Paper, Scissors to plead for your Sims loved one’s life, you play a different game – which doesn’t really have a name.
There are now loads of different objects that you can customise at the touch of a button. For example you can change the colour of wood/fabric on a bed/table/chair, change the colour of worktops and all kinds of other fixtures and fittings too. Also you can now customize neighbourhoods, by adding “Neighbourhood Decorations” like trees, flowers, rocks, fields, boats (only if you have a neighbourhood with water though – duh!) rainbows, signs and the like and a big plus for all SimCity 4 Owners is that you can import a neighbourhood from SC4 to TS2 – Cool huh?
Overall, this game is not so different that The Sims fans won’t be able to get the hang of it quickly enough and you can let your imagination run free with the amount of stuff you can customise. A really good sequel…