The Urbz: Sims in the City
Review by GavLuvsGA
"A definite improvement on Bustin' Out"
I am a big fan of the Sims series, and although I was a little disappointed by The Sims: Bustin' Out, I was eager to see how this compared to the series. I was worried at first because it appears to have a number of differences, but I needn't have worried at all.
Gameplay - 7/10
The gameplay is actually quite fun. Helping with the Sims' needs is mainly easier than before, and in this version they don't waste time yelling at you when their needs are low or dawdling from one place to another. Big differences in this version include the fact that there is no car pool or bus to take you to work; you can go to one of many districts, and take a job for a while - and yes, you get to control your Sim at work. While the jobs seem to consist solely of fast button pressing, it is certainly interesting. The other new feature is building up enough reputation points to get past the brainless apes - I mean, bouncers - guarding the party rooms. As you progress, you will constantly unlock new neighbourhoods to visit.
Unlike Bustin' Out, you can change your appearance, and this is necessary a lot if you want to fit in with the various neighbourhoods, and I got a sense that there was a lot of social satire at work, regarding how different people have different ideas as to what is acceptable. Maybe I think too hard.
Oh, and you are being constantly visited by your landlord, Harry Snivel, who wants to collect rent, and will repossess your stuff if you can't afford it; this took me by surprise the first time.
There are a few nuisances. For example, whenever you arrive at a place, it starts off with a cutscene as the screen pans over the area you are in before you start playing, and it gets annoying after a while. This one guy called Darius (who is almost equivalent to Morpheus from The Matrix series) constantly pages you, and he can become annoying after a while. Similarly, cutscenes are frequently used to show that your Sim has achieved something, or whenever a local villain has shown up, and often they get annoying.
The Sims are generally easy to control, but sometimes they have a habit of suddenly rushing off somewhere (often to try and get past the bouncer, when they can't), which can be a nuisance. Also, the controls seem a bit jerky at times and I find it hard to click on items.
Story - 5/10
There's not much of a story; your Sim gets an apartment, and goes to various neighbourhoods to socialise and work. At least it's a change from "Malcolm steals your stuff and you have to buy it back while moving to various houses".
Graphics - 10/10
Considerably better than Bustin' Out, you actually get to see what your Sims look like, and zoom in really close up, and they're actually drawn more realistically than in the previous games. Each district is given it's own identity that makes it stand out from the rest.
Sound - 6/10
It's pretty unremarkable, but it's different from the usual sounds, and it makes a change not to have your Sims crying out in anguish every few minutes because they're bored.
Play Time/Replay Value - 10/10
I find myself frequently hooked on this game, going on for what I intend to be just half an hour and staying on four three hours. This game has a lot to offer and could keep you interested for some time, even though the goals are less interesting than in the previous games.
Buy. This game takes up 107 blocks on your memory card, which is about 50 less than Bustin' Out does, which makes it considerably better value.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/01/05
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