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Hitman 2
Lots of New Additions
Much Improved Graphics
Some Annoying Bugs
Will Wright brings his top selling PC game to the XBox. For those who who have been on another planet "The Sims" drops you in a virtual world and allows you to create and micro-manage your own virtual "Sim". 

The game's open-ended depth allows for a wealth of careers, romance and house fittings with large amount juggling between going to the toilet, eating and obtaining money to survive. 

For the console version, Maxis teamed up with EA to offer something that still has the fun-factor of the PC version while being intriguing enough to warrant buying the game again. To a degree the developers have done this. The console version now provides a very nice looking 3D freely-rotational view of the game with significantly improved graphics and visuals. Another nice addition is the "Get a life" mode where you have to earn enough money to leave your folks, obtain a particular job and go forward in the world. There are also many more things to buy for your virtual home (numerous from the PC expansion packs), all with a function and an associated response from different ingame Sims. 

A two-player mode is also introduced, though no online play as far as I could see. The general chatter, smoke alarms, door bells, tv channels and background music all sound great. Dolby 5.1 is supported, but I found the whole positional sounds working better through my Sennheiser headphones. Either way, The Sims atmosphere is great and truely immersive. 

If your Sims get too uncooperative, you have the option to turn off their "free will" in the options. The good side to this is they are not likely to raid the fridge en route to the already impatient lift outside. The bad side being they are just as likely to collapse from exhaustion or hunger if you dont keep a close eye on the approapriate food and fatigue dials. 

While the game allows you to zoom in, out and pan around, I would've loved to see a first person mode, but I am just nit picking really. To do so, would require significantly higher definition graphics which would probably be at expense of the beautifully smooth as glass scrolling and camera movement that The Sims offers.

The port from PC to console doesn't come without its drawbacks however. In building mode I frequently found myself at first spending a fortune in Sim cash correcting wallpapering on the wrong side of the wall and even now 45 degree walls appear impossible to pull down. I also found on more than one occasion that the hireable gardener completely abandoned his role of watering the plants and reduced to simply bagging the dead dry plants into bin bags and carting it off to the trash.

One thing that really did it for me on the PC was the option to import your own MP3's for the radio channels. With the XBox's hard disk capability one would've thought this would've been a perfect inclusion. Elements from the expansion packs like Hot Date and Sims Vacation are also fairly thin on the ground. Personally, I would love to see EA release these XBox add on's in the future.

Having played the Sims on the PC, I have to say the console cousin is certainly worth buying. The "Get a Life" additon and a souped up graphics and panoramic cameras give a greater feel of immersion and enjoyment to the game. If you're a fan of the Sim genre, its a must. Even to get every female (or male) into your vibrating bed. It's fresh enough to provide new experiences in the game, while taking advantages of what made it so popular on the PC.



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