The Sims 2 PlayStation 2
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Maxis
Release Date: Out Now
The Sims 2, an introduction.
The Sims 2 has been an amazing success on the PC and although the game has only been released just over a year, its sales figures are phenomenal. Needless to say then that it's no surprise that console versions of the game have been created to let console gamers enjoy The Sims 2 experience. As you might expect it's not exactly the same game that arrived on the PC last year but nevertheless it's one that fans of the previous console versions of The Sims will appreciate.
What's the game about?
In The Sims 2 you have a choice of playing a story mode or a freeplay mode where you can do as you wish. It's a similar experience to previous console versions of The Sims (ignoring The Urbz) and there's little doubt that if the previous console versions have appealed to you, then you'll enjoy what's on offer here. The game is anything but a straight forward port of the PC version and whilst there are similarities there are also quite a few differences that have both a positive and negative effect on the game.
What's good about the game?
In The Sims 2 you now have direct control over your character. In previous versions of the game on the main consoles you moved the characters around in a similar manner as you would on the PC. That is to say you moved a cursor and clicked on where you wanted them to move to or on items you wanted them to interact with. The new direct control method allows you to move your Sim around from a third person perspective and it works quite nicely, although you'll want to switch to the more traditional method of control for certain functions. Other new additions have been made such as a new cooking system, which allows you to collect various food items as well as recipes that will enable your Sims to create their own meals. This new cooking system works surprisingly well and really ought to be implemented into the PC version at some point. During a conversation you can draw a portrait of the person you're having a conversation with, which can impress them as long as your Sim has good creativity skills. If you have an EyeToy camera you can even put your face in the game. No, not on a Sim but on a picture that can be hung on your Sims wall.
What's not so good about the game?
Having played and enjoyed the PC version of The Sims 2, and its 2 expansions, it was expecting a lot for the console version of The Sims 2 to be as extensive in the amount of items and features it offered. In fact this PlayStation 2 version feels much lighter on content than the PC version of The Sims 2, even if you ignore the extra content that the first two expansions have added. A big disappointment for me was the rather poor character creation mode. Instead of having the benefit of the superb Sim creator tools that you have on the PC, you're stuck with a random Sim creator that can be very annoying. You're randomly given parents and from these a Sim is randomly created. This would be fine except you have no control over the process and it can take many attempts before you finally get a Sim you're happy with. You do get to change certain aspects of your characters appearance after this process but even so the options feel very limited.
I've enjoyed previous consoles versions of The Sims because of their focused story modes which have been something different from the PC games. The Sims Bustin' Out for example had a great story mode that was very enjoyable and made a great change from the open ended game play the series is famous for. The story mode in The Sims 2 though is rather weak and not very interesting. Several aspects of the game have been dumbed down too. Character relationships are far easier in this version of The Sims 2 than in the PC version. By the end of my first conversation with a member of the opposite sex I had married them, which is all the more remarkable when the conversation only took around 5 minutes. Quite a few of the items and locations in the game are initially locked (as with previous console versions) and it will take a great deal of time to unlock everything, which might irk some people.
How does it look?
On the PC the graphical leap from The Sims to The Sims 2 was significant because it was a move from 2D to a rather impressive 3D virtual world. The console version of The Sims was already in 3D and already superior to the original game on the PC. That said, The Sims 2 is still an improvement over the previous console Sims games and on the whole the game looks quite good. Thankfully the load times aren't as bad as they were with the PlayStation 2 version of The Urbz: Sims in the City, but you'll still have to wait for items to appear on the buy and build menus when you first open them. The game has been given a console friendly interface that works really well and allows you to see all of the important information very quickly.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
The Sims games have never been a problem for deaf gamers and this version of The Sims 2 is also fine for deaf gamers. All objectives are shown in text. Tutorial messages are also shown in text. The Sims once again speak in their own brand of gibberish so no subtitles are needed. As per usual icons appear above their heads to give you visual feedback on how their conversations are progressing. The game manual is very light on details but to be honest the game's tutorial tips do a good job of explaining what needs to be done and you'll probably have little need for looking in the manual, so its brevity is not a problem.
For those who aren't fortunate enough to own a PC that runs The Sims 2 sufficiently, or indeed for those who just want to play the game on a console rather than the PC, this PlayStation 2 version of The Sims 2 should definitely meet their needs. However, the game definitely offers a less impressive experience (probably due to the technological limitations of the current consoles more than anything else) and those who have enjoyed The Sims 2 on their PC will find the console version of the game has been diluted somewhat. The story mode isn't as impressive as the one found in The Sims Bustin' Out which is also disappointing. Still taking the game on its own merits it can be an enjoyable experience.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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The Sims 2 isn't quite the same experience on the PlayStation 2 as it was on the PC. There are some nice features here though and the new cooking system should definitely find its way into the PC version.