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Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Edge of Reality Inc.
Style(s): Life Development Sim
Synopsis: It's "people simulation" on the PS2 as the most popular PC title in the history of the industry moves to the realm of console gaming. Perhaps the most obvious difference, as the game moves from computer monitors to television screens, is the new graphics engine. The Sims for PlayStation 2 is completely 3D. There are several other changes as well though, focused on making the game engaging and appropriate for console-style play, with a controller instead of a keyboard. Unlike the gradated progression of the PC's Sims, the PS2 version of the game offers level-based play, in which new objects and houses are earned by reaching certain "life's big moments" goals. Many items must be "unlocked," instead of being available (but unaffordable) from the start of the game. The Sims for PS2 also offers new characters and objects that have never been featured in the home computer version of the game or its many expansion packs. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 26-page Instruction Manual
Even though the gamepad interface is unexpectedly intuitive, the manual leaves nothing in doubt. Basic game concepts are explained just enough to make things interesting. In-game help is accessible, understandable, and presented in proper Sims style. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
This version's finer graphical detail is often foiled by the TV screen's lower resolution, but anyone who's seen The Sims on a home computer monitor will like the way all those familiar household objects look in true 3D with decent lighting effects. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
While the 3D graphics and gamepad control scheme instantly distinguish The Sims' PS2 offspring from its PC parents, the biggest difference between the two versions of the game is not the way they look or feel, but the way they play. At its heart, the original Sims for home computers is a strategy game. Not only do players decide on their short-term goals for themselves, but they decide how they will pursue those goals. By contrast, the console version of the Sims is really a role-playing game. Players create a single persona and then play through a series of scenarios to develop the character according to a scripted storyline. Although PC and Mac players will feel instant familiarity with countless details -- from the soothing piano music, to the unctuous object descriptions, to the weirdly expressive "Simlish" nonsense language -- the console version of The Sims promotes a fundamentally different experience. Because it sets a path of progression, the PS2 game is very accessible. From start to finish, players are seldom left wondering what to do next, or even how to get it done. This linear development also allows the game to have a real storyline -- something that is not possible in the home computer versions of The Sims. The "Get A Life" adventure starts characters off as young adults who still live with their mothers, and then leads them through independence, dating, marriage, parenthood, and retirement in distinct life stages. As they follow the footsteps laid out before them, players are regularly rewarded with more money, more items, and more goals. The sense of progress is easy to feel, as each small victory unlocks some small prize. When players are heading in the right direction, the game lets them know. Of course, this sense of direction comes at a cost of freedom. Compared to home computer Sims fans, console players have little choice as to when their characters will buy a new house, find a spouse, or start a family. Because each game follows the same basic script, the player's current objective becomes simply meeting the conditions required for the next step forward. Creative players will still make use of their talents while expanding and decorating their homes, but even these activities are tethered by the single-player storyline. Most new objects must be unlocked before they become available for purchase, so the player character's place along the plotline is again a primary factor. Adding a "Sonic Shower" or "Strip Poker Table" to the home is not simply a matter of saving up enough simoleons; characters must also accomplish certain goals through the "Get A Life" story before these items are available for purchase. Those who play the single-player campaign do unlock a number of extras. Along with some multiplayer mini-games, a "Play the Sims" mode becomes available, and functions much more like the home computer versions of the game. Again, veterans of the PC and Mac versions will be impressed by the modernized graphics. Soon enough, however, they will realize why the "Get A Life" mode was made central in the console versions of the game. Free-form play is neither as efficient nor as rewarding in this version. It's fun to build a Sims house in full 3D, but actually using it is a different story. A big draw to the computer game is the ability to create lots of different characters, with different personalities, and experiment with their interactions. The PS2 interface forces players to concentrate on individual Sims or objects, making it harder to grasp the overall dynamic of the neighborhood. As the title's focus is moved from strategy to role-playing, the player's in-game motivation shifts from creativity to compliance. In some ways The Sims on PS2 is a perfect console translation of the home computer phenomenon, but it may truly appeal only to the limited audience of Sims fans who will appreciate the extra guidance it instills. Some traditional console gamers may find the action slow and the subject matter commonplace. Most home computer gamers will find this version of The Sims to be a novel diversion, but they will eventually return to their monitors and keyboards for the easy, open-ended play that is only available there. The game is ideal only for those who are interested in the PC phenomenon but can't (or won't) play it on a PC. The rest of us will be duly impressed, but may ultimately decide to get a life elsewhere. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
While there are unlockable extras and multiplayer mini-games, this version's linear nature makes the main single-player story less fun the second time through. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
PS2 gamers will enjoy hearing the excellent Sims music and intriguing Sims language coming from their TV speakers for the first time, but there is little new for PC or Mac veterans of the series. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
Basic Sims strategy concepts are used surprisingly well as the foundation for a console RPG, but this game does not deliver the laid-back, free form play that is a cornerstone of the series' popularity on home computers. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.