The Sims 2 Pets Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
You may not believe this but one of the games I'm really looking forward to this Autumn/Fall is My Sims for the Nintendo Wii. I can't honestly say why, but I think EA have made the right choice in creating a different Sims experience for both the Wii and the DS. Both have unique control schemes and simply taking a game from a more traditional console such as the PlayStation 2 and trying to make it work on either the DS or Wii is a risky business at best. Take The Sims 2 Pets for instance. On the PlayStation 2 the controls where pretty much what you would expect them to be. On the Wii however, it just doesn't feel right. Don't get me wrong it's pretty much the same game as the PlayStation 2 version we looked at last year but it just doesn't feel like it makes good use of the console's unique controls.
The first thing to make clear is that The Sims 2 Pets for the Wii is the exact same game as The Sims 2 Pets that appeared on the PlayStation 2 last year. Aside from the control scheme, there are no differences. On starting a new game you can choose to pick a created family and jump into a home or you can choose to create both your family and your home if you wish. One of the problems I had with the console versions of The Sims 2 was that the method of creating your Sim was pretty horrible as it offered no real means of customisation. Thankfully the method of creating your Sim is much better this time around, although it’s still not as impressive as in the PC version. Of course with it being The Sims 2: Pets you can also create dogs and cats to be part of your family right from the beginning. Should you choose to buy a pet after you have started your game you’ll simply have to pick from the pets on offer and you won’t have a chance to create them.
The challenge with owning a pet of course is that you have no direct control over them. In order to have an obedient pet you’re going to have to train them. Of course you’ll have to play with them too, it’s not all work for your furry friends. Naturally they’ll misbehave and dig up your garden and wee where they shouldn’t. Discipline is the key though. You can walk to the Town Centre (where you can purchase all of your pet products using Pet Points) and the Central Town Park. You simply walk to the arrows that lie on the edge of your property and press the A button. As in The Sims 2 you have direct control over your character but by pressing the 1 button you can opt for a 'classic' control scheme that involves moving a pointer around and clicking on objects.
The control schemes work reasonably well but I was left feeling disappointed that the developers had simply forced a typical console control scheme on to this Wii version of the game. You would think that with the controls the Wii offers you would have a more PC-like control system. After all the Wii remote affords a point and click control that has previously been impossible on a games console and you would think the developers would have taken advantage of this but that's not been the case here as the game is simply a straight port and that's a big shame. It's even more disappointing when you can play the GameCube version of The Sims 2 Pets (which is exactly the same game although you'll need a GameCube controller to play it) on the Wii and that can be had for as little as £9.99.
If you were expecting the Wii version of The Sims 2 Pets to look anything different from the PlayStation 2 or GameCube version you're going to be in for a disappointment as there are virtually no differences here. In fact the game looks identical. The frame rate appears to be better on the Wii version and the load times maybe a little quicker but essentially it's the same experience.
As with The Sims 2 Pets on the PlayStation 2, the Wii version of The Sims 2 Pets will give deaf gamers no problems at all. Sims still talk in their own language and the general meaning of their conversations are shown as icons. There is no real speech in the game. All information is relayed either through icons or text. Tutorial messages are all in text and introduce you to the methods of caring for your pets etc.
Those of you who are itching to play a version of The Sims on your Wii console might find some value in The Sims 2 Pets, after all it's a good game, just as good as the previous console versions in fact. It's just disappointing that the game is exactly the same as previous versions of The Sims 2 Pets. In fact what it does do is prove EA are correct in taking a different approach, in the form of My Sims, to cater fully for the Wii. If more versions of The Sims (not including My Sims of course) are to appear on the Wii they need to take full advantage of the control scheme that the console offers and not simply be carbon copies of versions that have appeared on other consoles.
The Sims 2 Pets for the Wii is exactly the same game that appeared on other formats last year and doesn't take full advantage of the console's control system. For a Sims game that truly feels like a Wii game we'll have to wait until My Sims appears later this year.