The Sims 2 University Review


The Sims was followed by seven expansion games after its release, so it’s not surprising at all that we already have our first The Sims 2 expansion in The Sims 2 University. While the first The Sims expansions were primarily collections of new objects and décor for the game, University instead adds an entire new element of gameplay to The Sims 2. Sure, you get plenty of new objects too, but you also get a new “Young Adult” life stage, a new attribute known as “influence”, new collegiate neighborhoods, and more. If you’re looking to expand the gameplay of The Sims 2, then University certainly delivers.

Screenshots
Sims hanging out on campus.

OK class, let’s start with the basics. The Sims 2 University is installed into The Sims 2 as was done with The Sims’ expansions. You can launch The Sims 2 with the University disk and at first things will look pretty familiar – you’ll see the loading screen followed by the neighborhood selection screen. Once you select your neighborhood, the game will detect your expansion and give you the option of going to one of three universities. These three universities roughly fall along the lines of schools from the East, Midwest, and West, but the differences between them are more aesthetic than anything else. The universities are basically additional neighborhoods and function as such. You start with a view of the campus, select a building, and then you are taken to that lot. Like in The Sims 2, you’ll still need to call a taxi to move between the lots, which include Greek houses, dorms, coffee shops, and other campus staples. At this point it is worth mentioning that getting your first glimpse of college will take you quite a while. You’ll have a load screen to start the game, another to load your neighborhood, another to load the campus neighborhood, and then yet another one to go to a campus lot. These aren’t the fastest of load screens either – don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering if the game has locked up during one or more of them. In the grand scheme of things it may be a minor complaint, but when you sit down to play a game it is nice to be able to start playing without losing a chunk of your play time to load screens.

Back to the topic at hand. So you’ve picked a campus, now what? Well the game gives you the same options that you had before with The Sims 2. You can create a sim from scratch, you can play using the sims already at the college, or you can pick a teenager from your neighborhood and send him or her packing off to school. Sending an existing sim to college has a number of advantages, the first of which is that it’s the only way for a sim to pass through the Young Adult stage of life. You can probably guess that an extra life stage is a good thing because it gives you more time to build up a sim’s skills, but there are other bonuses to college as well – extra Want slots for one. A college degree will also open up a few new career paths for your sim. Even if your sim wants to pursue a career in the tracks that came with The Sims 2, going to college will allow him or her to skip a few rungs on the ladder to success. Needless to say, such head start advantages go a long way towards success in life and it will only cost a sim a few weeks of time as the semesters move along at a healthy clip. And some simoleons, of course, but a teen sim with good grades, skills, and job performance will be able to pull in scholarship money. If a sim still needs some extra dough to pay for that sweet off-campus apartment, then there are plenty of mini-jobs and money making opportunities available to make ends meet. You can serve coffee, play music for tips, or even hustle your classmates for cash by playing pool, but there’s no steady employment to be found at school.