This review is for the console version of The Sims so any changes in the gameplay, graphics or sound for the other two consoles will not be noted.
The #1 PC game of all time, The Sims, arrives onto the three big consoles. Along with the release onto the consoles comes the new level-based game play and graphics. Does it live up to the standards of the PC version or does it flop around like a fish out of water?
First of all let's start with the newest addition to The Sims, 'Get-A-Life' mode. The Get-A-Life mode is a core part of the game as you must go through it to unlock the two-player 'party' games, furniture and even the actual free-play mode. You can also unlock additional items to wear and hairstyles. You start the Get-A-Life mode as a young adult in your mother's house, your goal - to borrow enough money and move out. As you do these things more goals are added to keep you busy and entertained. Common goals are things like get promoted in your job path and clean the house you're living in. While the Get-A-Life mode is a welcome addition to The Sims, it can still lack originality at times and can feel repetitive.
Another innovation to The Sims is the two-player support. Mini-games such as 'The Museum' where you must beg or steal money from the investors visiting a museum type building. There are quite a few of these two-player games all involving some kind of racing to beat the other player by gaining a certain type of item, whether it be money, love or food. The two-player games are fun ï¿½ for about 10 minutes and then become tiresome and at times it can seem a chore to do. Keeping with the two-player games, it is also now possible to play with a second player in the 'free-play' mode. Again this is a great addition to The Sims, its nothing to spend valuable money on if you have already have The Sims for PC.
The controls for The Sims have put the PS2 controller to good use. There are no awkward button combinations to press or hard to reach controls. The camera and cursor are controlled by the left and right analog stick, making movement around your Sim's house fairly easy. The directional buttons are used to view your currently selected Sim's relationships, employment status, skills and motives. The x, triangle, circle and square buttons are used as the accept and cancel type commands. The four shoulder buttons also are put to good use, the L1 and R1 buttons are for controlling the speed of the game and L2 and R2 switch between the your Sims in the house. As said before, the controls are easy to learn and you do not have to stop the game to figure out what to press next, resulting in a smooth gaming experience.
The actual gameplay of The Sims for PS2 can be very entertaining but unfortunately can lack it at times. When playing The Sims for PS2 you may notice some new objects integrated into the game, not nearly as much as you can get on the PC version (via downloads) though. The main gameplay of The Sims is generally improved, with the Get-A-Life mode added and two-player support. But what makes The Sims on PS2 so different to the PC version is the all new graphics and look of the game.
The Sims on PS2 has had an overhaul in terms of the graphics. They are all new and improved. Sims can have detailed clothes and quite a few different pre-set faces, right down to an earring. What's more with the faces, is that you may not be happy with how your Sim looks once you are in the game, problem? Not anymore. With the help of a purchasable Vanity Mirror from the 'buy' mode you can change the look of your Sim, sure it may be unrealistic but you can be very glad its there in the common case of ugly children.
You can now also control the camera which gives you total control over what zoom and rotation you want, this becomes very helpful at times when you can just rotate around you character to see something you couldn't before with the press of a button. Still on the subject of the camera, a first person mode is hidden in the game, unlockable by inputting a code. The first person mode is fun for a while if you want to see exactly what your Sim sees, be expected to be amazed at how boring your Sim can really be.
One major gripe I have with the graphics of this game is the huge, and I mean huge brownish blurry censor that comes up whenever your Sim decides to have a bath, spa or use the toilet. Now I don't want to sound like I want to see some animated nude Sim, but the censor that is in place is quite frankly, very irritating.
You first load up The Sims and hear that tune, and if youï¿½ve played The Sims on PC it may sound very similar, as with all the other music. From playing the PC version quite regularly it seems that the PS2 does not have as much effort put into it in the sound department. You invite another Sim over for a party, they talk on the phone for a second, you're sure you've heard this before, the Sim arrives and you get talking about money or the weather, and again you're sure you've heard it before. That's right all the talking sound effects in the PS2 version are the same as on the PC. Although I had no problems with the effects on the PC version, it seems a bit unoriginal to use exactly the same thing in the console games.
The sound isn't limited to the Sims talking and menu music though, the in-game television has different sound effects for each station, and the same is also for radio stations. A wide range of music is used in the game to get the life-like experience. The sound for The Sims is not exactly new, but it is good. All the music and sound effects from the PC version appear in the PS2 version, but without any much original stuff. However, while playing The Sims the sound is great.
Overall, The Sims for the Playstation 2 is a fairly solid game with very few faults. Players will pick up this game time after time to play what gamers enjoy best, good quality entertainment. If the PC version is anything to go by, look out for the next instalment of the series onto the consoles. However, if you enjoyed and have the PC version the PS2 version may not be worth your while.