Review by Ninto

Reviewed: 03/17/02 | Updated: 03/17/02

Maxis have done it again! *claps*

Being a huge fan and admirer of the Sim City series, which is also made by Maxis, I sure knew what kind of game I was getting into. The Sims carries on the Maxis' tradition of simulation games which are fun, addictive, have great longevity and above all, challenging.

Gameplay - 9
The Sims at a first glance may look a very simplistic game, but beware because what lurks beneath is a more complex and challenging game than you could ever imagine.

The gameplay in The Sims is where it really shines, it is just so addictive. Your main objective is to control every aspect of the lives of people called Simoleons, perhaps you've heard of this name from Sim City,.... yes because here you get to interact and manipulate the actual people that inhabited those cities on a micro level. In a way, I suppose this game is kind of like a mini RPG. Playing 'god' with these people is great fun indeed. You can choose the physical appearances and personalities of the Sim people as well as making little families. Building neighborhoods and homes for your Sim's is also great fun, but sadly you cannot visit other houses in the neighborhood, instead neighbors come visit you (I particularly found this a little disappointing). You can design and create rooms, choose wallpaper and floor coverings and even landscape the garden. Inside you can then furnish your Sim's new home with furniture, electrical appliances, plumbing, lighting and other accessories of which there are over 150 available. Beware though, at the very start you begin with only minimal funds so getting the things you want your Sim to have at the start simply isn't going to be possible, instead you'll have to earn the 'good stuff'.

Once you have set up their lives, then now is the time to take control. You will need to start out by getting your Sim a career or else they will have no money to pay bills and hence no food to live on. Moving up the career ladder is essential in being able to advance the standard of living of your Sim people. To do this they will need certain skills such as; logic, body, charisma, cooking and mechanical. These can be attained by getting your Sim to do certain tasks such as playing chess to improve logic, and doing some body building to increase the body skill. Of course some jobs will require different characteristics than others, for example a businessman needs good logic and charisma whereas a career as a dare devil will require a strong body attribute. Indeed, not only will these abilities be required of you but also you will need to make friends with other Sim's to advance up the ladder, as friends equals more contacts, just like the real world. The friends aspect can become very frustrating, especially when your at the very top of the career path, since here you'll have to maintain friendships with around 15 other Sim's. Trying to entertain old friends as well as an ongoing career can seem almost impossible as it seems there are simply not enough hours in the day.

Yes, these Sim people are extremely demanding little fella's. They will constantly crave any entertainment they can get there hands on such as watching TV (whether it be a 13'' black & white or a state of the art 40'' plasma screen), playing pool, dancing to the stereo or even enjoying video games on a computer. What they want to do is connected to each of their individual personality traits. For example, if you give high Fun and active attributes then they will of course require constant entertainment, but lazier Sim's will just want to sleep all day. As well as entertainment, your also going to need a bed for your Sim's to sleep in, an oven and microwave to cook with and even a shower and toilet so they can get clean and relieve themselves. However, you don't have to do all this, if feeling a little sadistic you can make your Sim unemployed, dirty, unfit and untidy just too see how far downhill on the career and social ladder they can go. There is truly a huge amount a depth and quality of gameplay here. it's absolutely astounding and un-quantifiable.

Graphics - 8
The graphics side of things isn't at all that bad. Maxis has done a good job in making everything look as realistic as possible. You get a nice isometric 3D view of the house where your Sim's live, this can be rotated by 360 degrees so if something is obstructing your view, just rotate! You can even zoom in and out for more or less detail. From the people and furnishings to the lighting and accessories, everything is well executed, no jaggies and hardly any slowdown (well not on my PII 750 MHz). I particularly like the lighting effect in the evening, whenever your Sim walks past a lamp at night it instantly turns on providing a shaft of light in its immediate vicinity.

Sound - 9
The sound effects in The Sims is very realistic with a lot of attention to detail gone into every aspect imaginable. You can hear the TV channels, stereo tunes, sound of the water running in the bath or shower and even the sounds of the plates clanging and bashing together as the Sim's clear the dinner table. However the way the Sim's speak to each other is kind of weird. It's like a combination of German, Danish and Greek languages mixed into one. You can expect to hear them say things like ''draaagenonme scratich ehu flope'', it has to been seen to believed.

Replay Value - 7
Well there is definitely enough here to keep you playing for several hours at a time. Like all Maxis' Sim games there really is no end to what you can do so replay value isn't a huge disappointment. Of course you will find yourself doing the same thing with your Sim's most of the time such as waking them up, feeding them, sending them off to work, eating then sleeping,... repeat cycle etc... but there's nothing to stop you doing something stupid, but fun like getting the sack, getting married or generally neglecting your Sim's for a while just to change the flow of the game a little.

Overall - 8

Ninto liked:
+ The ability to play god
+ Designing homes for the Sim's
+ Excellent attention to detail
+ Huge open-ended gameplay

Ninto didn't like:
- Crappy Sim speech
- Not being able to visit other Sim's in THEIR homes
- The career aspect being so difficult and frustrating at times

In general this game is an awesome simulation. For fans of Maxis games, this is a sure fire buy, you will not be disappointed. The truly open-ended gameplay is great, having the freedom to set your own goals and chart your Sim's destiny is a blast. Give it a try!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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