The Sims 2 Review

One complaint some gamers had about The Sims was that children never grew up. Babies would become grade school aged kids and then live a Peter Pan existence of perpetual childhood. This is not the case in The Sims 2 where sims grow into teens and eventually adults. Adults will continue to age as well, eventually passing into old age and dying as the next generations take their place. Some gamers may be a bit apprehensive about losing their sims to the grim reaper, but it adds a much more interesting dynamic to the game than before. Parents pass on sim-DNA to their offspring, so appearance and personality traits will run in families. Playing a family through several generations can be a fascinating experience as you watch your sims fill out an extended family tree and build an entire family history.

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Threee generations sit down to dinner.

The move to a 3D engine has allowed the game’s developers to make sims more lifelike than ever before. For example, you can let your sim grow fat or work him out into a sculptured physique. Breathing even more life into the sims is the amazing range of facial expressions and body movements they exhibit. The first time you see your sims dance to music from a stereo you’ll be amazed at the number of dance moves they exhibit and how fluid their motions are. The really amazing thing though is the ability of sims to express emotions through facial expressions. Thanks to the 3D camera, you can zoom right up close to a sim and tell whether they are happy or anxious, how well a conversation is going, and whether two sims like each other all by reading facial expressions like you would for a real person. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the sims in The Sims 2 have by far the most realistic expressions and movements of any characters to appear in computer games to date. And we’re not talking about cutscenes here; this is all rendered in-engine during gameplay.

Starting a new game of The Sims 2 begins with selecting a neighborhood. Unlike in The Sims, neighborhoods in The Sims 2 can vary dramatically. Three neighborhoods come with the game and each has its own character thanks to the various sim families living there. You don’t start a new game in a vacuum – each neighborhood’s families come with their own set of relationships, rivalries, and histories. The Sims 2 stays true to the series’ trademark humor by including an Area 51 kind of neighborhood, complete with oddball characters and rumors of resident aliens – the outer space kind. If you don’t find a neighborhood to your liking, you can simply create your own. If you have SimCity 4 you can even use that game to design your neighborhood and import it into The Sims 2 – along with its mountains, streams, and other landscape features. Once you select a neighborhood you can take control of one of the resident families or create your own from scratch and move them in.

Should you decide to create your sim or an entire sim family, The Sims 2 provides an excellent tool for creating sims. In The Sims you were given your choice of a set of heads, torsos, and legs that you could mix and match to create your sim. In The Sims 2 you can use a rich set of tools to create a custom look for your sim. Every facial feature and structure that you can think of can be manipulated by using the intuitive tools provide with the sim creator. Sliders allow you to adjust a myriad of things such as jaw line, eye spacing, and forehead height, usually in more than one way such as curvature and relative size. The tool is quite powerful and can be used to create sim versions of famous or familiar faces or you can simply use the randomize option and create a unique sim the easy way. Even if you do not possess the talent to create a spitting image sim version of your favorite celebrities there are people out there who do, so you’ll be able to find them on the internet and download them into the game.