Electronic Arts have been very keen to exploit the success of The Sims series. Becoming a huge hit on the PC with more expansion packs then you could possibly want, people who love The Sims have been spoilt for choice.
Console owners have not been forgotten in this mass fan base and now the Xbox version has arrived.
If controlling people’s every action appeals to you, this game allows for just that. In years gone by the earliest version of The Sims probably would have been getting out your puppets and by tugging on those strings controlling their actions, nowadays in the digital age the wood has been spared and instead you have a more interesting and diverse universe then you could ever get from a Pinocchio wannabe.
Although the principle is the same, instead of string your handy controller is your route to the power of control over these digital people. First thing that was asked of me when speaking to people was of course the lack of a mouse which was used at the heart of the PC version, so how would this translate to consoles. Well actually pretty well.
Using what looks like a beam of light, you can guide this through the rooms and outdoors to select objects for your little friends to interact with. With zoom functions also included to get a better perspective of the entire environment and up-close action for when maybe your Sims has set the house on fire. For a game originally on the PC I am very happy with the controls, although PC fans of the game will probably complain it isn’t as good, but I am open minded and for a console controller, they have done a good job.
The games graphics have reportedly been enhanced over the PS2 version with higher textures and other little niceties. Even with these extras though the game does look rather drab at times, but the game somehow compensates for this by making it very difficult to have a moment to take it all in as with The Sims there is not much time to take a breather.
There are two game modes. The first is ‘Get a Life’ which as the title suggests allows you to start living at home with your nagging mother to eventually move out, get a job and advance your skills such as socialising with friends, learning all about cooking and the more simple things like hygiene, hunger, and of course getting a good nights sleep.
The second mode is the more traditional Sims action of choosing where you want to live and setting up your ideal family including children. Very customisable changing facial features and clothes. You can go as wacky, cool or as plain as you like for your personality preferences.
Once set up away you go, sending husband to work, the children to school and maybe have your lovely wife to look after the house. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it is actually very challenging with all sorts of things happening that could cause disaster for your little family.
It is your task to keep everyone happy, full of food and not lacking in any area or your household soon becomes the family from hell as they get more irritable. For example if you do not check your families levels of tiredness they can get so exhausted they just collapse and sleep where they were last standing, although quite funny to watch, it is not the best way of getting through the game. Monitoring hunger by cooking meals and serving to the rest of the family and then the fun task of clearing away the mess otherwise watch the flies buzz around the mess which gets everyone upset after time.
Developing your Sims is very important too for them to advance in society. By doing this you can repair your own household equipment and even get job promotions meaning more money to spend on lavish furniture and entertainment items. When you start the standard Sims mode your accommodation is empty meaning you need to buy items like kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom equipment. Of course not forgetting the fun filled devices like computers, Televisions and Stereo systems.
To start with the game is quite entertaining setting up in so many different ways. Soon though more noticeable on the console version is the time you spend seamlessly doing nothing, instead doing the more mundane chores like bathing, eating, sleeping and having the odd game on the computer. You really need plenty of time to get anything out of this game as the odd go during the day simply is not enough to experience The Sims the way it should be.
People who own consoles tend to like the idea of nice and simple gaming that you can start and put down at will unlike PC counterparts who would more likely enjoy the long journey and strategy involved in this game and this is where The Sims struggles and without the time deserving this game just feels slow and hard going.
If you have bags of time to spare and are looking for something to fill it on, then this game could possibly be what you are looking for with plenty of fun elements and ideas to share with other Sim fans, otherwise keep clear as for many hours you will feel a pointless slow journey unfolding.