The Sims Unleashed Review

When you think about how pets are a part of so many people's lives, it's a bit surprising that your sims have had to live their lives free of the unconditional love of household animals.  The Sims Unleashed finally rectifies this oversight, making it possible for your sims to own pets, and it also adds a whole host of other new gameplay features as well.  In terms of sheer added gameplay, this is by far the biggest Sims expansion game yet.  And since it is an expansion game, you'll need to own either The Sims or The Sims Deluxe in order to play Unleashed.

The Pet StoreWhile it is the pets that are certainly the stars of this new expansion pack, the first new addition you'll see is the expanded neighborhoods.  There are now 41 available lots in each neighborhood that can be zoned as residential or community lots.  The residential lots are the same as before, and are where homes are built and sim families live.  The new community lots are places where all sims can come together to shop, relax, and socialize.  To visit the community lots, you call a cab just as in Vacation or Hot Date.  The Old Town Shuttle will come and pick you up and you can then select your destination lot.  It is at these lots that you will find the pet stores where you can purchase your sim pets.

There are a variety of pets to choose from in Unleashed.  Cats and dogs are the stars of the show, and when you purchase them they actually become members of your sim family.  You adopt a pet by choosing between a dog or a cat, selecting the animal's sex (yes, you can be blessed with puppies or kittens should you buy a mixed sex pair), choosing your pet's appearance, and finally naming your new pet.  Your pet is then immediately added to your family, and their portrait appears right alongside of those of your family members.

Dogs and cats have their own needs, personality, and skills, just like your sims.  However, you can not take control of a pet and direct their actions.  They will take care of their needs as long as you provide them with the basics such as food dishes, toys, and somewhere to sleep.  Pet personalities are a mix of different attributes: quiet, friendly, playful, smart, and loyal.  You do not get to select the level of each attribute; they are set when you purchase the pet. 

Your pet's skills consist of hunting, tricks, and obedience for cats, and house breaking, tricks, and obedience for dogs.  You can increase your pet's skills through training, either by interacting with your pet directly or hiring a pet trainer.  Pet trainers are the easy way to go, but are expensive.  Each session with a pet trainer will result in the gain of one skill point in one of the skill areas - the area to which the point is applied is selected at random. 

Cat LadyPets also have and maintain relationships with sims and other pets.  Interacting with pets will strengthen the relationship, and will take care of your sim's social needs as well.  In fact, with a couple of pets your sim can live alone and never speak to another sim and be perfectly happy - a crazy cat lady sim will do just fine even if shunned by her neighbors.  Pets will also help you to expand your social circle.  Bringing your pets to one of the community lots is a great way to meet new sims and gain new friends.

If you take good care of your pet and train it well, you will be rewarded with a happy and obedient companion.  They'll even help around the house by controlling pests, attacking burglars, or bringing in the paper.  You can also take your pet to one of the pet shows and compete for prizes.  Happy, well-trained pets will bring home an award for you to show off to your friends.  On the other hand, unhappy pets will have a tendency to misbehave and make messes, and neglected pets can die or be taken from you by Animal Control.