The Sims 2
The first Sims game for the PC is ages old and even the second instalment has been out there for quite a while. But since The Sims 2 for the consoles is a port, we expected the late release. You won’t see me letting a tear drop for this delay since I’m just not that SIMpathetic. However after my first minutes with the Sims a moist matter started dripping out of my eye. Where it tears of joy or sadness? That’s the question that I’ll try to answer in this review of The Sims 2 for Xbox.
It starts with the language setting. Looking at the Dutch language option I immediately got cramps. Games that offer this choice are often, judging from my experience, not that good. But since I love to irritate myself I set the language to Dutch. The consequences aren’t that big. As everyone knows, the Sims speak in a language which no one can comprehend. So no matter how often you change the language, they’ll be incomprehensive. It’s mostly the menus where you’ll see the effects of the language change and reading menus in Dutch is just easier for me. The language setting doesn’t really have an influence on the overall score of the game; it’s just a thing that fascinates me in games.
The first thing you’ll have to do in The Sims 2 is make your own character. In stead of giving you free play to make one, you’ll first be given a generator. The idea that I have about generators is that they randomly generate something. That’s indeed what it does in The Sims 2 but the only thing it does generate is your species and skin colour. When you’re finished with the generator you’ll get the opportunity to change every possible feature of your body; from your cheeks to your hairdo. Which is nice for people who love to see themselves in a game, but a farmer boy like myself is pretty fed up with all these create your … features. Especially when you know that the same farmer son spend half an hour fooling around with the generator, because he was convinced that he won’t be able to adjust it afterwards. He, in other words, had to wait ‘till the generator had a decent character. Huge was his frustration and craving to throw his Xbox through the window when it appeared that he could change everything after the generator.
I fetched all my patience to be able to start with a decent character. I managed to create a pretty handsome fellow, although I wasn’t happy about one fact. No matter how much I tried, my characters always seemed to have a little mascara going on. Fans of The Cure, or for the younger ones, Good Charlotte, will love this little downfall but I’m from a time where make up had the same goal as beer, namely make women look more attractive. (Pinch of salt please). That’s enough wining about the good old days. In the mean time I wondered: The Sims 2, what to do? It rhymes much better than my new years letter. Happy new year to everyone by the way, what are your good intentions for 2006? I’m not a big fan of good intentions. Obese people are making good use of them to convince thinner people that they do care about their overweight when in fact they couldn’t care less; they feel fine with a couple of extra pounds. So I decided to write down some good intentions in my notebook in which I never look and it sounded like this: “Mario, don’t review any games of which you know beforehand that they don’t really interest you, making it hard to give in depth information which will result in fans hating you. That’s one big sentence for a good intention, but hey my new Minister 2006 notebook is huge so no problems there.
The Sims 2 may be a feel good game for some but it didn’t really give me a good feeling. My first gaming minutes couldn’t help but remind me of the first Sims game. Ten minutes later, when I fixed the sink and made out with my roommate, I started to feel a little better. A little later however I was already getting married so bye bye love and bye bye good feeling. You know what irritates me most in The Sims 2? Not the fact that you can marry faster than take a shit but the constant pressure of keeping your character happy. To remind you how he or she is doing, they throw in a couple of meters that show if he needs to eat, take a pee or nap. The meters work contrarily in my case. The are subdivided in basic needs and special needs which differ depending on your personality. My character for instance was a creative person so I had to let him paint a lot. By feeding your needs, you’ll get money and points. This money is useful for pimping your home and buying food. Heck, I’m boring myself by even writing this. That’s not healthy is it?
That’s why I’d like to come back to the good intentions. I’ll write one down now in my too big notebook. “I’m going to be more precise in my reviews in 2006. It’s irritating my readers. They might not read my reviews from this time on and they’ll give negative comments throwing me back in a downwards spiral. This also has an influence on my mood which affects my inspiration to write a review. To keep it short: Mario, stop wining and get to the point.” Too bad that this review doesn’t have a point. People who like celebrities and as a consequence also love the Sims Awards in Belgium will love to play this game. All the others will see The Sims 2 as one big milking cow. I don’t like to use these last words because there’ve been to many useless discussions about this matter already. But the truth is out there; The Sims 2 is part of the commercial bunch of titles for which there is a target group. If you’re in this target group, you can safely buy The Sims 2. If you’re like me and love cows too much to milk them, you’ll be best leaving this game in the shelves. Which reminds me: those tears I mentioned in my lead, make up for yourself if they were tears of joy or happiness, will ya?