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This game lacks the addictiveness of the other Sims games. I love the Sims and was disappointed when playing this game. I like the idea of it, Sims castaway on an Island. And there are good aspects, such as being more able to explore than Sims 2 and your Sims need not take a bath, they can just swim in the sea (not really a big difference but I like the idea of it). But mostly, this game is lacking. This is because it is too easy. Playing the story is fun while it lasts, but once you have completed it the free play version of the game is far too easy. There is not much stuff to buy, as they are living on an island, and so there is not much to spur you on in progressing your Sims lives. I just found that I was left with nothing to do as my Sims had all they needed. It doesn't take much to keep your Sims happy and I was just amassing a lot of food that 2 Sims would never get round to eating.
As a big fan of The Sims 2, I couldn't wait to give the Life Stories range a go. I bought the fist Sims Life stories, and although enjoyed it, found it was lacking something a bit...different. This version however, was more enjoyable. Unlike The Sims 2, Castaway Stories encourages you to travel from area to area, discovering things, meeting and talking to people. Yes, there was a slight delay between each area as your castaway moved around, but nothing compared to travelling from your home to a community lot in the original Sims games. I felt that this idea of moving around a little more freely was the interim step between The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. It was nice to have a set plot to follow (I'm an old-school point-and-click adventure gamer by heart!) for a change, and it forced be to do interactions and use objects that my unadventurous Sims normally wouldn't! If this game cost more than it does, then it would probably be a waste of money for die hard Sims 2 lovers, but for someone who loves The Sims, but can get a little fed up with creating your own story lines, this game was great fun. It works much better on my laptop than the full Sims 2 game, and the fact that this also provides you with an opportunity for 'free play' meant that while my laptop was at it's chuggingly slowest, I still had the opportunity to play in the way I wanted to once I've completed the main story line. I have yet to re-play Castaway with the other character, so I am not sure if the storyline will be the same, or will go in another direction - I'm hoping the latter! Even so, it would have been nice to maybe have more than just the two characters/storylines. Maybe 4 would have been more satisfying? Overall, not an 'investment' game (one that you would truly invest your time in), but something great to play between other games, or while away somewhere!
As a fan of the Sims Series I was really looking forward to this new stand alone version. However, while the story mode offered was challenging and a lot of fun, the actual game play is VERY slow! As you move between the different areas (which you have to do very often in the story mode) it can take several minutes for the new landscape to load. Also you need to have a lot of memory free and an updated video card or the water will appear as red flashes which can be very annoying and can irritate your eyes after a while. Apart from these flaws, the game itself is very entertaining. It is not as good as the normal series but has a few quirky additions such as being able to make your own items and having to forage for things and not just earn them. The normal cheats still work but to be honest there aren't that many new items to buy and in reality they have just redesigned all the normal items to look more handmade. A good game but you need a lot of patience to play the story mode
This is one of the first 'laptop friendly' editions of the Sims by EA. The truth is it really isn't that 'laptop friendly'. My laptop has twice the processing power and ram needed to make this game run and yet it really is the slowest game I've played on it, it would seem that 'laptop friendly' only really refers to the controls. The major problem seems to be with the cut sequences, they are so slow, and there is no option to skip through. The premise is excellent, you can choose one of two paths to play and once you have done this you can enter the sandbox mode. It plays more like console versions of The Sims, setting you tasks and running through the game in chapters. This game contains all of the typical Sims humor and characterisation, you really do feel sorry for your little dude, all alone on this barren island. If you can get this game to run, and you like The Sims, then this is great value for money. Just don't try to run it on a laptop :)