Review by MidgetSnowman
"Finally, they get the Sims right for the home market."
Me and my sister have always been fans of the sims, and a few months back I bought her the console versions to keep her from using half my old piddly comp's diskspace so often. While I loved the inclusion of goals and the story mode, I've never been a huge fan of the micromanagement involved, and the sheer amount of penny pinching and item twinking you have to do at first in order to keep your sim satisfied until you have the cash to get better itemry.
Enter the Urbz, a Sims-esque game set in a fictional city, where the focus now is on your ability to make yourself the most respected and loved man (or woman), on the streets. And from all looks? Yes, this is going to be the perfection of console gameplay fused with Sim-style fun
Graphics: well, for a sims game, these are downright gorgeous. The textures move fluidly, and there's only occasional slowdown when lots of multiple actions are happening onscreen, your character is able to dress in a variety of interesting and fashionable clothes from various cultures, societal cliques and lifestyles, and many of the actions like Firecracker Dance, the Power Socials, and the neon lighting effects are just awesome looking
Controls: Although a tad twitchy at times when trying to select an object, the controls are responsive, the discarding of a need to click on move when you tap the cursor on an unoccupied spot, and the larger variety of things you can do make up for it. I do wish they had made it easier to scroll through social actions, as later on in the game it can take a few seconds to scroll down insanely long lists to find an appropriate action.
Sound: Simlish is annoying, but the addition of more musical styles and better composition of songs, along with the amazingly amusing Black Eyed Peas Simlish version of "Get it Started" are great. The ability to give your cellphone ringtones, and the social action music are pretty well done too
Gameplay: the meat of any game..and this game certainly is a certified Angus steak. The Basic gameplay borrows from a normal Sims game, but simplifies and refines it.
You take the role of an Urb, newly moved to the city and given a small apartment with minimal furnishings (as in, all you get is some wall lamps). You soon get a message from Darius, the most popular man in the city, yhe hands you some small amount of furniture. During character creation you get to pick any of the cities nine areas to have as your starting area to visit. This influences a few factors such as peoples starting reactions to you, and determined the order in which you'll visit places. You head into town, where you can interact with other Urbz via social actions, which you learn more of by beating job minigames and befriending urbz. As you befriend Urbz, your star power increases. More star power unlocks better items. better apartments, new locales to visit, and gets you into exclusive clubs in each district that have items that will recharge your needs for free, as well as allow you to get Power Social items from Darius at midnight parties.
Jobs are streamlined and more fun, as now they consist of short minigames, keep all the needs the game gives you satisfied, and you earn money, these games can be played many times a day, and at higher levels can pay off nicely (the Fashion Model job in Diamond Heights at level 3 pays 2,750 dollars for each time you play, similar payoffs can be earned at other jobs too).
Your social interaction is also influenced by your threads. Dress like a high and totty rich gal, and the punks at Central Station will probably not take you seriously, though sometimes you can influence locals to dress like you if they like you enough (this is especially funny when a gentleman from diamond heights adopts a bondage shirt)
In short, this game offers a lot more customaization, and a lot less micromanagement, and a plethora of features not even listed in this review. It truly is a masterwork of a simulation/rpg game, and anyone with a sense of humor or a thing for the sims will probably love this game.
Overall: the game is stylish, fun, and easily accessible to anyone, and frankly. there are very few reasons to not buy this game, except maybe not having a large attention span
Overall, it gets a 9 out of 10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/28/04
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