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".
Lots of New Additions
Much Improved Graphics
Some Annoying Bugs
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.