The Sims 2 Review

In addition to their need-based motives, each sim in The Sims 2 also has their own set of life goals known as aspirations. When a sim is created, you have to decide what type of goals drive your sim. Will your sim seek fame, fortune, a quiet family life, or something else? Your choice will drive the aspirations of your sim and determine the course of his or her life. A fortune-focused sim will be miserable staying home and taking care of kids while a family-oriented sim will be just as unhappy living alone and going to work every day. Aspirations come in the form of four positive events and three negative ones that are set at random slot machine-style at the beginning of each day. These vary from small events like talking to a spouse to bigger ones such as getting engaged, and each is tied to a number of aspiration points your sim will be awarded for accomplishing the goal. Of course youíll earn a lot more points for the birth of a child than for kissing a girl or boyfriend. On the flipside rejection by a love interest or the death of a loved one can send a simís aspiration points downward. Aspirations and fears add more to the game aspect of The Sims 2 than was present in The Sims by giving you short-term goals to shoot for. However, you still canít really ďwinĒ a game of The Sims 2 and the play remains as open-ended as ever.

Screenshots
A fortune focused sim relaxes at home "alone".

The points you can earn and lose through realizing aspirations and fears have several effects. The first is that your cumulative points are tracked by a meter which is color-coded based on your total. Keep it high and your sim will reach platinum status, making him or her quite happy and even helping to slow your simís aging process. If it drops too low into the red, then your sim will become progressively more depressed and may even find him or herself in therapy before too long. Another benefit of earning aspiration points is that you can spend them like cash on special ďaspiration objectsĒ. Each object has a beneficial effect, such as a tree that grows money or a mood enhancing helmet, but each one can also have undesired side effects if used by depressed sims.

Aspirations and fears arenít the only new things when it comes to your sims. The simulation aspect of the game has become a lot richer and more in-depth as well. First of all, the simsí AI has undergone an upgrade. Sims are far better at taking care of their own basic needs without the need for you to continually tell them when to eat and go to the bathroom. Players of the original game will be happy to hear that the AI upgrade extended to pathfinding as well. Sims no longer get stuck or lost trying to get somewhere when there are a lot of other sims or objects in the way.

Another change to the AI gives sims enhanced memories. Realizing a dreaded fear can leave a sim moping or utterly distressed for quite a while. If that fear was realized because of another sim, such as cheating with a spouse, youíll be able to see the bad blood and apprehension between the sims. Sims can differentiate between friends, families, and enemies, and as your simsí families grow and expand you can expect to see you sims exhibit family like behavior such as bringing the kids to see their grandparents.