Review by Lord of Many

"All the stuff you liked about the first one, with none of the stuff you didn't."

The Sims was a largely popular game that spawned seven excellent expansions and was tons of fun standing alone. It was based around the theory that people like meddling in the lives of others, and in this area it did very well. The original Sims had some key problems, though. Its sequel fixes almost all of the first one's problems.

The graphics are VERY good. I can't in all honesty say they're great, but they certainly look a lot better than the prequel. Cutscenes looked a bit crappy, though. (The game cutscenes whenever something big happens, like an engagement.) The graphics also sometimes lag when you've first loaded an area, but this isn't much of a problem.

The music has been updated from Sims 1 and adds a lively feel to a game, contrasting with the boring and repetitive music from the last game. Sound itself is realistic, but that is to be expected, since games with bad SFX are fairly rare.

The Sims 2 follows the same format as before, but with a twist: Sims actually age, which adds a new level of depth to the game. At each stage of life are certain goals that the Sim must complete, called "aspirations." These add to a meter that affects your mood slightly and allows you to buy special items with Aspiration points that you earn by completing these goals. The aspirations are usually fairly easy and net you little points, but there are often big aspirations, like "get married." This adds a focus that the first game was lacking, and encourages you to do more things with your Sims.

Back to aging. Sims can now grow old and die, instead of the previous game where Sims only died if you actively worked at it. They also can have kids of their own, which is much more satisfying than in the first game, because your kids actually grow up. In the original, a simple crib would be created and you wound nurse the crib for three days until the baby became a child and stayed that way forever. In this game, the baby is an actual Sim that you can play with, teach to walk and talk, and feed. You must also change the baby's diaper. The baby soon becomes a child, and then a teenager, and finally an adult. This means that you can continue your Sim's family forever, and adds quite a lot of depth into a game that was fairly lacking in it.

Relationships are now easier to maintain, which is great for the child area because now it is much easier to get married than in the first one. A lot of the actions from Hot Date are still around, though many got axed. There's a small lack of actions available, but not so small that you'll feel slighted. Also, the Sim's actual needs aren't as urgent as before, giving you time to actually do stuff instead of using the bathroom every five minutes. It was kind of unrealistic, though: instead of eating twice a day, I'm now eating once every day. But it gives you a lot of time do do the aspirations, so I'm not complaining.

You won't be disappointed. I can only think of one more thing to mention, and that's that the game is fairly lacking in stuff to buy. But I'm sure that will change over the next year or so. Again, excellent game.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/19/04

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