I’ve tried hard to get to like the Sims, my little sister loves it, my mom loves it, my coworker’s wife loves it. But for some odd reason I can not get into The Sims. But I must admit that Maxis has a great idea on its hands as well as a quality game that any GameCube owner would enjoy, just not me.
For those who are new to The Sims lets see if I can lay down the basics. You have two game modes Play the Sims, and Get a Life mode. The former is simply taking a family and raising them to prosperity, you build their homes to your liking, want to have a pinball machine in the living room then go for it. You also have control over what jobs they take, when they sleep when they eat, when they use the restroom or shower, simply tell your Sim what to do and for the most part they will do it. Although I wish it was always that simple. There are many things that must be managed for each individual Sim in order to get them to be consistent with what you tell them to do. Everything from hunger to hygiene, entertainment to energy. If your Sim is tired you better put it to bed or else it’s going to pass out on the floor while carrying on a conversation, which at times is quite humorous.
While I think the individual bars for each of the eight attributes is a good idea I think that the game could be a lot more leniant on some of the attributes on how they increase and decrease. When my Sim is too depressed to even read a book because it hasn’t talked to someone I wonder what the hell I’ve done wrong, especially since I just got off the phone with my Sim’s mom.
The other game mode titled Get a Life mode is where you take one Sim and basically experience the trials and tribulations of life. You start out in your mom’s house and must complete certain tasks before you can move on to the next level. In the case of mom’s house you need to borrow 800 dollars from her and complete a few menial tasks. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, you could sell off possessions, but when you move back mom will pocket all the money you gained. Later levels involve repairing stuff around the house, cleaning, getting a job, being social. It is a very interesting gameplay experience very much akin to Animal Crossing although a lot more involved.
Graphically this game looks surprisingly good, the texturing looks a bit better than that of the Playstation 2 version. Although when you zoom in on this game its not perfect, blurry textures become apparent and are sometimes buggy, while my Sim had pajamas on it went over to a vanity to change its hair and magically its entire body turned white. There is also a framerate issue that needs to be addressed. Whether it be due to the free rotating camera or number of individual textures, this game while suffer from massive slowdown constantly. Granted it is not as bad as say Sky Gunner for PS2 but it still needs to be noted.
I must say I am quite impressed with how well the point and click commands have translated down to a GameCube controller or even any console controller for that matter. You may not be able to control every Sim at once but switching between them is simply a tap of the Z button away. The menus are easy to navigate although I wish they menus could be navigated via the left analog stick as opposed to the d-pad but thats just my preference. The camera is very simple to control the C-stick will rotate and zoom the camera so you always have an optimal view of the game, you also have the ability to eliminate the walls of the house in order to get a proper view so thumbs up to Maxis for making such an intuitive camera system.
I must say that sound departmet has done a horrid job in this game. I don’t care if you can’t come up with decent dialogue for characters. If anything don’t make them talk. Simese at times is just downright annoying and there practically is no music to speak of unless you have a radio running, and even then the music is not very good at all.
Overall I must say that The Sims is a good game, just not something I am in to which is funny considering how much time I spent playing Animal Crossing. The ideas and concepts presented in this game are novel and noteworthy, it has to be considering how many different iterations there are on the PC. If micro-management is your idea of a good time or you’re just looking to kill some time then be sure to give this game a look, a rental is a good start but a purchase of the game is required to go deeper and get the most out of the game.
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