The Sims 2 is the new version of the highly popular Sims game. In its most basic form, you will assume control over a household of one or more Sims. The Sims can be one of your own creation or from the game package or a downloadable character/family. The game is open-ended, you can follow a Sim family through generations or go from household to household influencing each as you go.
It's hard to describe The Sims 2 because the game is what you want it be. You can spend time constructing Sim neighbourhoods, building houses and businesses and decorating each. You can spend time creating a Sim or a family. You can play with that family or one of the pre-designed ones that is installed with the game. You can help Sims reach their goals in life or prevent them from doing so. You can even drive them insane or kill them.
In this section, I'll only be very briefly touching on a few very key topics. There is a wealth of information avaiable about playing The Sims 2, including tutorials/walkthroughs and cheat sites. If you are starting your first Sims game, do the tutorial before you start seriously playing the game. If you run into problems try the official Sims 2 help site. Or if you want to connect with other Sim fans, look through the list of fan sites.
A few very basic tips. The first time you play, start with a single Sim to get the hang of it. When buying things for the Sim house, keep in mind that somewhat more expensive items also may produce more benefits (a more expensive sofa is more comfortable and adds to the environment as well.
For the most part, if you have adequately furnished the Sims house, they can take care of all their basic needs without your involvement. If there is a kitchen with a fridge, stove and counter space; they will cook when hungry. They'll watch tv for fun. They go to bed when tired.
Where Sims need your help is to; fulfil their aspirations, help them find a dream job and learn skills so they can get promoted. A Sim living alone needs social activities as well, shopping or calling a friend. Fulfiling the aspirations of your Sim has a major benefit. Each time you do, the Sim gains Aspiration Points. Aspiration points can be spent on reward items; starting with a money tree and ending with the Elixer of Life. A Sim only has 28 days as an adult which means that Elixer of Life can really help give you more time to fulfil their ambitions. Each Sim has one ultimate life ambition. Fulfil that and that Sim will be permanently in a great mood.
The game comes with three neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has some Sims already established and some Sims in the family bin ready to move into a home. It also has the tools for you to build new neighborhoods, create new buildings (residential or business) and create your own families.
When creating buildings, keep in mind that the bigger, more decorated and furnished a building is, the more expensive it will be for a Sim to buy. This is true for both homes and businesses. Many starter homes have only the most basic items so they can be bought by a new family.
Sims 2 comes with a small separate product called The Sims 2 Body Shop. In the Body Shop, you can create new Sims that can be used directly in the game or uploaded to the official Sims 2 exchange site. You can also create custom eye colors, hair, and clothing.
The read me file that comes with the Sims also teaches you how to customise; the music in the game, the videos available on the tv, the video games (just an avi file, not a real game), and how to use SimCity 4 terrain to create a neighborhood.
Many of the things that you can create in Sims 2 can be packaged and uploaded to the official site to share. Or you can save the package on your computer as a file. Saving packaged lots means that you can bring that family or commercial lot to a different computer or give directly to a friend.
Two types of packs are sold as add-ons to Sims. Stuff packs add new and different items for your Sims to buy. At the time of this review, there are 3 stuff packs to buy: Family Fun, Glamour Life and Happy Holiday stuff. Each promises about 60 new items to add to the game. Stuff packs don't add to the gameplay.
Expansion packs not only add new stuff to the game, but they add varying amounts of additional game play as well. Available expansions at this time are: The Sims 2 University, The Sims 2 Night Life, The Sims 2 Open for Business and The Sims 2 Pets with The Sims 2 Seasons to be released soon. University, Night Life and Open for Business all add new districts to the game and add significant new game play. Pets adds animals (cats, dogs, birds and rodents) with new shops and accessories but nearly as much new game play.
Sims 2 has a large number of cheats. Cheats for game play, cheats for video settings, cheats for almost every aspect of the game. A couple of the cheats makes life infinitely easier when playing the game. Like the money cheat. Hold ctrl-shift-c to bring up the cheat window. Type motherlode up in the text bar in the cheat window. Your Sim family now has 50,000 more Simoleans to spend. Quite a few cheats are published in the readme file from the game! Some cheats can ruin your game, so be very careful using them. Ask in the Sim forums or do a Google search to find more.
There are times when it simply isn't obvious why something isn't working. I've had trouble bathing a toddler (needed a bathtub and not a shower) and bathing a dog (dog has to have 2 spaces in front of tub to jump in.) Also once had a problem where a family could no longer go upstairs in their 2 story home.
Time can be quite odd in the game. It is tied to the residential lot you are currently playing. Time stands still for all other Sims in the neighborhood, the Sims in your home are the only ones aging. If you visit a community lot, hours can pass while Sims socialise or eat or play or shop. When they return home, it's only a few minutes there. This is great in that your Sim can get a lot done in a day. But keep an eye on the energy level, that's one of the few things very difficult to keep up when a Sim are on community lots.
The Sims is a popular game and for good reason. There are a number of things you can do, create and share with others. There's a large community involved so you can always find a helping hand. There are suggestions of storylines and goals, but you can play the game however you like.
Want even more challenge? Take on one of the game challenges issued by fans. One of the best known is the Legacy challenge where you must take a family through 10 generations. There are a lot of rules about how to do this, ask in the forums for more information.
Looking to buy something for a Sims fan? If they already have the main Sims 2 game, they'd probably enjoy getting one or more expansions that they don't own.
Playing Sims is highly addictive, your family may not see you again for weeks. Final game rating 4.5/5 stars.
I avoided playing the first Sims game because I was a bit afraid of this. It can be very addicting as you progress and the game can be a huge time sink. Don't ever think you can get away with playing for half an hour or 'just a few more minutes'. Time just rushes past as you are playing.
You can find my Sims 2 page here.