The Sims Review

The Sims is new to console gaming, but if you're a PC gamer then you've probably heard of the game if you haven't played it yourself.  The Sims is the number one selling computer game franchise of all time, and has spawned a number of expansion games.  Now The Sims has landed on the PlayStation 2, giving console gamers an opportunity to experience the game phenomenon themselves 

The Sims on PC is kind of like Seinfeld in that it is very popular, but ultimately is a game about nothing.  The game doesn't have an ending and there's not really any way to win.  This is not the case with the game on the PS2.  Rather than simply porting the game to the console, Maxis tweaked the gameplay as well.  You can still play the game the same open-ended way as the PC version, but in addition to this the PS2 version includes goal-based levels in its Get a Life mode and even some multiplayer games as well.

Sims at play.

Before we get into that, though, it would be better to let you in on some of the game's basics.  You control one or more simulated people, or sims, and must guide them through their daily lives and keep them happy.  You begin by creating a sim by selecting from a variety of heads, hair styles, body types, and clothing, all of which come in many different colors.  You then set your sim's traits by allocating a limited number of points between different personality traits which will affect your sim's nature and how he or she reacts to the other sims in the game.  Your sim can be playful or serious, neat or messy, or shy or outgoing, among other things, and be anywhere in between.  You can play with a single sim or create an entire family complete with children.

Once you have your sim you can begin the game either in the Live or Get a Life modes.  The Live Mode supports the same open-ended gameplay as the PC version, where there are no goals other than advancing your sim's career, expanding his or her home, and, most importantly, keeping your sim happy.

Sims are driven by a set of statistics called motives.  These motives determine your sim's overall happiness, so keeping the motives satisfied is the main focus of the game.  The motives include hunger, hygiene, bladder, energy, fun, social, room, and comfort.  These motives naturally degrade over time and you'll need to instruct your sim to partake in activities that will replenish them.  For example, when your sim is hungry you can instruct her to go to the kitchen and make dinner.  When your sim's bladder is full you need to direct him to the bathroom and instruct him to wash afterwards, lest your sim's hygiene motive suffer in the process.  Failing to satisfy these motives is a recipe for disaster as your sim's happiness will plummet and embarrassing results such as wet pants or passing out in the middle of the floor might result.  Chronic neglect of your sim's motives can even lead to his or her death (Poe fans can place a sim-Fortunato in a small room with no doors ala The Cask of Amontillado with similar dire results).

In order to help you keep your sims' motives satisfied, the game comes with a number of interactive objects.  Some objects provide the obvious functionality, a fridge for your sim's food, a bed to replenish energy, a shower to keep clean, etc.  Others have dual functionality, such as mirrors that allow your sim to brush her teeth as well as practice speeches.  Some are just there to look nice and improve the quality of your sim's home, which has a good effect on the room motive.  There are a lot of objects available in the game, so you can easily customize your sim's home to your and his liking.