RETRO REVIEW: The Sims 2

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

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The Sims 2 | oprainfall

3 Games in one box? EA sure has changed!

Title The Sims 2
Developer Maxis Emeryville
Publisher Electronic Arts (PC)Aspyr Media (Mac)
Release Date September 2004
Genre Life Simulation Game
Platform PC
Age Rating ESRB – Teen

 

The Sims 2 | Sims 4 - Happy Sim

Sometimes you just gotta party hard!

With The Sims 4 out and sucking up all of my social life, I thought I would take a look back at my favorite Sims game and talk about why I love it so much. (I need to do something before my review of The Sims 4 comes out, right?) The Sims itself was revolutionary. It was one of the first games that wasn’t about shooting someone in the face, but actually about building up these little computer people into successes. In the original Sims, there was a lot of wackiness, but there was a limit on how far you could go with this type of game back in 2000. For instance, there was no concept of a weekend, and adults and children never aged up (without hacks or certain expansion packs). However, one thing that has been with the game series since the very first game was the ability to make me ignore real people in an effort to become friends with virtual ones. Let’s take a look back and see if this game holds up so many years later.

The Sims 2 | Sims 1 Graphics

Mmmm… Dem graphics…

I bring up The Sims (that’s the original one for you guys paying attention) because there was a massive addition to the game series when The Sims 2 was released. Sims got a massive overhaul and a lot of amazing features were added to the game, while keeping it fun for anyone that wanted to play. For now, let’s get into the review itself.

The Sims 2 | Dorm Room

No room like dorm room!

The Sims 2 is a mouse-and-keyboard-controlled affair. Unlike the original version, which used an isometric perspective, Sims 2 is fully 3D. Because of that, the ability to really get up close and personal was now available. (I’ve just got to get close to see those final death throes!) There’s a lot of keyboard shortcuts for building and holding the right-click button spins the map around. It’s pretty standard stuff.

There were a lot of different gameplay features added to Sims 2. In an effort to make the Sims more individual, they were given Aspirations. Along with those goals they wanted to achieve, they were given wants and fears. Giving into your Sims demands gives them Aspiration Points, and keeping their Aspiration Meter high helps them live longer lives. Doing the opposite makes your Sims die a lot sooner than they would have normally.

If you go through a week with your Aspiration Meter high, your Sims will be in a better mood and even mention it in a pop-up window. The downside to this is that you might have to decide if you want to make them happy now or focus on the long term. Do you make them learn the Cleaning skill so they can be promoted or level up their Cooking because they want to?

The Sims 2 | Hot Tub

Go after your dreams, kids!

Other features were added in expansion packs. For instance, in the University expansion, a new life stage was added — Young Adult. Your Sims are then sent off to college, and you can choose to continue with your family on the home lot or follow your teenager off to college. You could even make a Sim and have them start off going to college. This was a great way to mix up the alternative of starting a family and raising a kid who goes to college. Unfortunately, there is no way for adult or elder Sims to go to college. Only teenagers have the option. It does make for a nice level of progression, though.

The graphics of The Sims 2 have aged pretty well. The fashion choices of the early ’90s, however, didn’t. At all. Most of the default clothing is all mom jeans and button-up shirts. Luckily, The Sims 2 comes with the ability to add and make everything from clothing to usable objects like fridges and closets. However, there isn’t a color wheel, so you can’t completely modify everything like in Sims 3.

The Sims 2 | Group Photo

Death looks dapper as always!

Different versions of The Sims fulfill different things for me. I like the original Sims in a nostalgic way. It’s fun to look back and play the original game that was somehow brutally unforgiving and amazingly fun. I love the customization available in Sims 3. I can build a massive mansion or a shack in a swamp with a secret Batcave (Na-na-na-na-na-na!), and using the creative tools I can make them completely my own.

I love Sims 2 for gameplay and features. To me, it’s the best game in the series because there is a sense of progression. Nothing is handed to you. If you want your Sim to be a police officer, you have to wait until that job becomes available in the daily paper. You can’t just show up at the Police Station and get a job. (I’m looking at you, Sims 3!) Slowly, with dedication, you level up your Sim, get them the skills and friends they need to progress until they get to the top, and you can afford to furnish your house (and get the good bed!). It’s an amazing feeling, slowly being able to afford a better life for not only your starter Sims, but their children as well. You go from slowly buying better furniture to getting your Sims’ kids into Private School (Wowing the Headmaster with your Goopy Carbonara!) and even building them a mansion where all future generations of your amazing linage can call home.

The Sims 2 | Sims 4 - Character Customization

Will The Sims 4 be as replayable? I hope so!

I love The Sims 2 because it earns my love and respect by making me work for it. Nothing is handed to you and, because of that, everything is all the sweeter when you earn it.

With a game like this, it’s hard to say when it ends or when you have beaten it. The goal is simple of course, help your Sims live an amazing life. Level them up and teach them skills. I’ve had save files I’ve played for one a day and also had files I’ve played over a year. It’s only done when everyone is dead, after all.

I’m not saying it was perfect, however. There are loading screens between each location and a lot of different bugs that drove me crazy. Not only that, but the modding tools available to you aren’t very user friendly. You have the ability to mod things into the game, but, if you didn’t have the patience to learn to use the tools, you would have had to join a modding community. Despite the game being rather aged, it’s still an amazing game that I can sink days into, not just hours.

Review Score
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below! Oh, and check out the official trailer below. It’s pretty funny:

About Kelsey Brinson

Avid video game player and nerd extraordinaire. I play games and give people my opinions about them, sometimes while on the subway wearing a tin foil hat and sometimes on the internet! I also stream video games with help on Twitch! How thrilling!