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February 22, 2003
The Sims - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
7/2/2003EA GamesMaxis1-2M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Having a drink.
The Sims. Who would have every though that a game simulating the life of people could have made such an impression on gamers. While hardcore gamers soon laughed the game off and doomed it to fail what many people didn't count on was the ability of the game to capture the minds (and wallets) of the casual and - more impressively - female gamer. With sales of the PC game running into the millions it was only a matter of time before a port to the consoles was in order, and the Playstation 2 is the first to benefit. With several promised changes and improvements this game promises to be something special.

There isn't a terrible lot you can say about this game with regards to the storyline as there isn't really one. The company that brought us Sim City has developed a game that revolves around the daily lives of people and their living habits. Your task is simply to assist them with daily tasks. Making sure they eat when hungry, go to the toilet when needed, get a job, make friends, and just live their lives. As you progress through the game you can move in to bigger houses and purchase more items to keep your sims entertained. Consider The Sims a super advanced form of the Tamagochi fad that braced the world several years ago.

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Generating a punk character.
One thing that does impress is the way in which the controls have been altered to suit the PS2 controller. It wasn't more then a couple of minutes before the game could be controlled properly and fluidly which is quite a relief given the numerous poor ports from PC to PS2. Realising that the console owners have a different gaming style to PC gamers Maxis and Electronic Arts have added in a new game mode called "Get A Life". In this mode you must complete many tasks to progress and move out of home. The game begins by having to repair your mothers TV and cook a meal, but in order to do that you need to study basic repairs and cooking from a book. By completing these tasks you can then borrow money from your mother and move out of home where the second level starts.

Another of the additions to the Playstation 2 version of The Sims is the inclusion of two player gameplay. It is now possible to control two sims within the one environment to compete for popularity points and money. A welcome addition that should add many hours of pleasure to the game. The customisation of the sims themselves has been expanded quite a bit for the PS2 version with more options and looks for the characters. As with previous games it is possible to purchase new items, or even build new rooms within the houses.

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2-player split screen mode.
Niggles are pretty minor in The Sims. By far the biggest niggle is the way in which the sims will occasionally do "stupid" things. Perhaps the biggest of these is after completing a meal the sims will place the empty plates on the floor. Perhaps if they wanted the dog to lick the dishes then fine, but they don't even have pets! I was also annoyed by the waiting while your sims are at work during the day or you are sleeping overnight. You can still schedule tasks during this time but even with the time speedup you will be waiting. Also annoying is that you can't place tasks at the front of the cue easily. If for instance you have 5 tasks such as cleaning the house and preparing a meal and the phone rings or someone knocks at the door you can't do that as a priority. Finally I am a little disappointed that this game requires a rather sizable 1593kb on the memory card.

One of the biggest changes from the PC to PS2 version comes in the graphics. The analogue sticks allow you now to rotate and zoom in and rotate the house. The camera movements are fluid and really give you a better sense of immersion then the PC game which had fixed viewpoints. A little more work could have been done with the walls which become invisible to allow you a view into the rooms as at times they still remain blocking the view. Fortunately there is also a selection between full walls, no walls or this disappearing walls. The actual graphics themselves are rather average, and to be honest rather disappointing. It would have been nice to see some upgrades for this port, but given the lower resolution of Playstation 2 a drop from the PC game was expected in part. Still, there are many more impressive looking PS2 games. The customisation of the characters is terrific with each character instantly recognisable on screen.

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It's time for a house party.
The sound in this game has some good and some bad points. Starting with the bad. Unlike so many other EA titles this game does not include DTS sound which, combined with the storage space on DVD, could have allowed some massive leaps in sound quality as well as quantity. It would have been terrific to hear some radio stations with the variety and quality heard in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. On the positive side there is nothing in this game to make you want to turn the volume down and even the "sim speak" which isn't English, but rather a series of mumblings is acceptable, and even humorous at times.

Overall, The Sims is a great port of the PC title. The graphics and sound, in comparison to other PS2 titles seems lacking but the gameplay has been retained. The addition of the "Get A Life" mode adds a lot to the longevity, as does the 2-player mode. Worth considering for some laid back gaming.

GRAPHICSNever going to win any awards, but the game does look nice enough.
SOUNDSeveral music styles play while the Sims have their own (cute) chatter.
GAMEPLAYAll the engrossing gameplay has been ported which makes this winner.
VALUEThe Sims takes a while to complete, and will certainly get you back.
OVERALLThe Sims is a welcome addition to a racing and action heavy console. The game has some nice additions to the PC original and while it won't win any technical awards it is a very engrossing title and worth a look.

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