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.