Product Type: Electronic Arts PC games
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The Sims 2 (PC)
Member Name: walsha11
The Sims 2 (PC)
Advantages: fun, loads of options, possibilities, exciting, aspirations, ageing, improved from original
Disadvantages: occasional issue with graphics, not for really young ones, crashing and long loading
Years down the line I was given Sims 2 as a gift by my then boyfriend. I could not wait to explore the changes and improvements they had made to the original name and was thrilled to discover a much better, more interactive and enjoyable game. I have since been given Sims 3 and I played this for a few weeks before deciding I much preferred everything about Sim 2. So like the technophobe I am I reverted right back to Sims 2 and have been playing away happily ever since.
There are about a million things to cover with this game so I'm going to outline what I view as some of the most important aspects.
- Installation -
Installing Sims 2 is not all that different from installing Sims 1 is you every played that. You basically have a disc to enter into your disc drive and the computer talks you through the rest. There will be an installation code inside your case which is on the back of the manual, you need this code to install the game so make sure you don't throw it away/lose it. Everything else is pretty straight forward and it shouldn't take much longer than around 30 minutes to install the game fully. I haven't done this for years now but if my memory serves me correctly you may have to shut down your computer, though plenty of warning is given. I also really like that during the installation process they supply you with a quick and easy sims related game to play + pictures to keep you entertained.
- Loading -
I pretty much have every expansion pack going and a load of internet downloads so my Sim 2 loads pretty slowly (10 minutes). The annoying this is that you cannot minimise it, let it load and continue to do other things as in my experience it either crashes or fails to load. I do think mine is probably worse than it is with just the Sims 2 because of all the add ons I own but it still isn't the quickest of games to load up.
- Graphics -
What I like most abut Sims 2 is probably the graphics, and it is also what I liked least about Sims 3. If you ever played original Sims then you'll know you got a set number of faces and outfits to choose from, none of which you could modify. In the Sims 2 you are able to change every tiny little thing about your sims face, which means you can make very individual looking Sims. The difference in the graphics between original Sims and Sims 2 is drastic. I think they look much better, you have more choice in creating them the way you want them and I've found it really exciting when a Sim has a baby because you do get a mesh between the parents and not just a randomly allocated child. The graphics for the rest of the game are considerably better too, and so detailed that if you zoom in really close you can see the extra lengths they have gone to to create a very detailed and realistic game.
I have experienced a couple of incompatibility issues with Vista and the game. Apparently this is quite a common occurrence and you can download a free thing from the website to rectify the issue. I still find occasionally some slightly weird things happen with the graphics e.g entire background goes black so all I can see is the house/sim. These generally go back pretty quickly or with the move of a mouse but can be a little irritating from time to time.
- Neighbourhood -
When you load up your Sims you have the choice between a couple of pre-made neighbourhoods or the option of creating your own. I much prefer to create my own neighbourhood as I like to make my Sims game as realistic as possible. You can choose a design of neighbourhood (from alpine woodland to dusty desert) and then there is the option of adding in additional characteristics (like flowers/rocks/trees etc) as well as man made things (like a hot air balloon/pylons etc). I think the options available to the gamer are really good and just add to that personalised and realistic feel which I love about the game.
- Sims -
There is a dressing room which you can go to by clicking on the 'create a sim' button and this is where you make your Sim or family of Sims. You first choose things like gender/body type/age etc. and are then asked to choose a template face. You can then adjust every contour of this face and change things like hair colour and hair style too. You also have the option of adding jewellery, make up, glasses, facial hair - pretty much everything you can imagine, even including face paint. Next you get to choose outfits, which include everyday, formal, underwear, pyjamas, swimsuit and exercise clothes. I think the choices available are really great and even without any expansion packs or downloads there are loads to choose from. Last of all you choose the personality traits, much like in original Sims, by allocating points per trait. Then you choose a aspiration which is basically like a life goal. These are things like knowledge/family/money etc and this aspiration will determine the Sims wants, needs and fears. These things can be fulfilled in game play and improve the happiness and promotability of your Sim.
- Building -
The physical building process doesn't differ too greatly from the original Sims though there are greater possibilities for what you can make. In this game your are able to add multiple stories on to your home which is pretty cool and a great way to maximise space. There are also an increased number of effects your can use on your home and these are all laid out in really straight forward and easy ways. You can also create community lots in your Sim neighbourhood which is really handy for making social places for your Sim to meet neighbours, or shopping centres for things like buying clothes when a child has been born. The possibilities really extend as far as your imagination does as you are supplied with all the tools you need to create as much and as little as you want.
- Playing -
Personally I like to create a neighbourhood that represents a realistic demographic of society. That sounds a little insane but for me the game is all about making it as real to life as is possible. I tend to create an entire neighbourhood and give equal amounts of my time to each family. My favourite thing to do is to raise families as I really enjoy the pregnancy/birth/child raising element of this game. It differs from original Sims because these Sims actually grow up from a baby into a toddler, child, teen and then adult. I find this part of the game the most fulfilling though there are so many possible avenues to explore that it becomes a different game for everyone who plays it.
- Cheats -
There are quite a variety of cheats out there to be found on the internet. These are easily found but probably the most useful in my experience are for money, setting it to your Sim's birthday, making a Sim have twins, speeding up the pregnancy or for making things disappear when something goes wrong. I don't tend to use these all that often because, as I said, I like to keep my games as realistic as possible. That said, they are useful and can add another elements to this already great game.
- Downloading -
I have filled my laptop to the brim with downloads from various websites. These are easily accessible online and the majority of them are free, though beware of the ones that do charge. I mostly use them for downloading clothes and hair though you can find things like furniture and other items.
- Problems -
My main problems really have been the graphics issue which though reduced by the download from the website still crops up occasionally. I also find my game crashes quite regularly so I have to be very vigilant about saving it, this is probably because I have loads of expansions and downloads but it is something to be aware of.
- Price -
You can buy this game on Amazon for around £12 which is pretty good. I think since the release of the 3rd version of the Sims the price of Sims 2 has dropped a little. This is perfect for me because I actually enjoy it more than Sims 3.
- Age -
I started playing the Sims games when I was around 9 or 10 but the first Sims was a slightly more simple and innocent game back then. The Sims 2 would is suggested for 7+ which seems pretty reasonable to me as most 7 year olds now are fairly computer savvy. It is also, in my opinion, a much more wholesome game than some of the other things out there (COD etc) which young children want to play. My only reservation would be that there are things that are slightly more adult (like the interactions between Sims - woohooing, if that means anything to you). I would use parental discretion and some little white lies with the younger ones.
Overall, this is a game I have grown up with and even though I'm 22 I continue to play it. It really is the only computer game I've ever played consistently and I'm not sure anything else will compare to it. I would thoroughly recommend it as a simple, imaginative game with endless possibilities.
Summary: My favourite game EVER.