“The Sims 2” will consume your soul.

Or at least several hours of your time at a whack. My boxed copy of The Sims 2 arrived yesterday and I must say that I’m more impressed than I expected to be. I think I loaded it into the PC around 5:30PM and I didn’t get to bed until almost 2AM. I’m going to play with it a bit more before I write up a formal review, but it’s fair to say now that it appears to be everything The Sims was plus so much more. Here’s a few notes in no particular order:

  • The new graphics engine is as pretty as you’ve heard and the initial load of the game is a lot faster than it was under the original game, however, switching between neighborhoods and shutting down the game is an exercise in patience due to the amount of disk access involved. A defrag after install is almost mandatory and this game, along with DOOM 3, has convinced me it’s time to move up to 1GB of RAM as soon as I can afford it.
  • Basements and the ability to build additional floors above the second story are much welcomed additions.
  • It’s now possible to interact with the NPCs just like any other Sim. My Sim managed to woo and marry the maid he hired.
  • I was concerned about the seemingly short life-span of Sims in this new version, but it turns out not to be as big a problem as I first thought. A total Sim lifespan from birth to death is roughly 25 real-world hours with the “adult” stage being the longest. Getting the aspiration points needed to win The Elixir of Life which will add days to your Sim’s lifespan is easier than I thought it would be and while it has a limited number of uses it can be earned more than once ensuring that any favorite Sims you have can be kept around for quite some time if you really want to.
  • The game now tracks the days of the week and jobs actually do give you days off as well as vacation time. This alone has improved the game immensely.
  • Oddly enough, trips to the “community areas” still cause time back at your home to freeze much like in the expansion packs to the original game. I would’ve thought that the designers would have changed this for the sequel, but there is a certain advantage for players in leaving it the way it is. For example, at one point my social needs were way low, but I was due to leave for work within the hour. A trip to the community sector gave me the time I needed to get the social need fulfilled without missing a day at work thanks to the time-freeze that happens when you leave your home lot. When I got back it was still 10 minutes to 8AM despite the fact that I’d spent almost a day in the community area.
  • There’s all manner of visual flourishes and touches that’ll bring a smile to your face ranging from the visible odor lines emanating from your Sim when he’s gone too long between showers to the bits of food that fly around when a sloppy Sim holds a plate to his mouth and scarfs his food. Engaged and married Sims even sport a ring on their newly individually fingered hands.
  • If you’re like Anne and only want to build and decorate homes you can now do so without having to create a family and make use of the money cheat as any empty lot can be built on and furnished for free. Your Sim just needs to be able to afford what you came up with if you want to move them in later.

In short, there’s a lot to like and if you were at all a fan of the original you’re going to love the sequel. A coworker reminded me that a cheaper possible solution to the RAM issue would be to pick up a second hard drive and install the game on one while leaving the OS on the other along with the swap file. Considering that 1GB of PC3200 RAM will set me back around $110 right now versus $60 for a second 80GB HD, this may be worth looking into. Plus it would double more storage space.

13 thoughts on ““The Sims 2” will consume your soul.

  1. Honestly, I never had much of a problem with the walk animations in the original so I didn’t notice if these were different to any great degree.

    The modders are already pumping out some amazing stuff. The Sims Body Shop has been available for quite awhile prior to the release of the game so there’s already quite a bit of custom content available at the various sites. It’s mainly limited to clothing skins and various accessories such as facial hair and makeup at this point in time as I don’t think there’s an object transmorgrifier available yet, but that’ll come in time.

    In fact, I’m thinking of whipping up a few SEB t-shirt skins for use in the game which I’ll make available if folks want them.

  2. They broke the walk animations starting with the Unleashed expansion. If it weren’t for third-party fixes to the animations, I would have pitched the expansions.

  3. Ah, I stopped after the first two expansions myself though Courtney continued to buy the rest. I didn’t play again until she got the Makin’ Magic expansion at which point I think they fixed the walk as I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

  4. I’m so conflicted about getting me a copy of Sims 2.  On one hand, I’m craving the joy that is the Sims as Scott Weiland craves crack cocaine.  The original Sims is one of my favorite games of all time, and from the sounds of it Sims 2 is 10 times better.  On the other hand, I have a whole bunch to do (working on a master’s thesis and applying to PhD programs) and if my experience with Sims is any indicator if I get Sims 2 I’ll spend the next two months after I purchase it as a computer hermit emerging only to eat and sleep once every couple of days.

  5. It’s a strange world we live in…we starve and stave off sleep just to watch pixels live a life!

    Can’t wait! This gives my mad friends and I a further opportunity to stalk and mate with our favourite actors and musicans *ahem*

    (capcha = art)

  6. Swine, I wouldn’t recommend getting the game until later then. It will consume your soul.

    Iki, it wasn’t a review. It was an overview. The review proper will come later.

    Tish, I’ve always found amusement in the irony behind wasting my life sitting around giving fake people in my computer a decent life.

  7. Les,

    Yeah, that thought occurred to me as well.  I had to fight the urge today to go and purchase it.  Though, as soon as I have a little free time, I’m getting that game and playing the hell out of it.

  8. I cam this close to snagging this the other day but with the new job and all, I really don’t have time time.  Maybe I’ll pick it up during our upcoming October holiday and lock myself in my apartment with it.  That brings back fond memories of when The Sims first came out!

  9. Last night was the second night in a row that I was up past midnight playing it which is amazing in that I don’t feel like I’m all that addicted to it. It’s just that there’s always one more thing you can try and do to see what happens and I keep losing track of the time.

    I’m thinking I’ll go to bed early tonight to make up for it.

  10. tongue wink Les this sound like the old days to me. 
    “Where is that kid?”
    “In the computer room!”
    “Isn’t he coming up to eat?”
    ” He spends way too much time on that machine.”

    That was about twenty years ago—So things change but they still stay the same—somewhat!!!!

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