Review by headbanger

Reviewed: 11/21/04

A fun game... Such a shame that it gets old so fast.

The Sims is a well-known PC game, and it has many expansion packs to it (eight, I believe).
In this game, you create a virtual family of anywhere from 1 to 8 Sims in a virtual house in a virtual neighborhood. You more or less play God in this game by controlling everything they do. There are many things you can make each Sim do, such as take a shower, eat, play video games, socialize, watch TV, and many other activities.

Graphics - 6/10
The graphics of this game definitely aren't anything special. Your Sims look like real people, but there isn't a lot of detail in the character. There's enough to get a look at their clothes, and maybe see a little bit of their face, but that's about it. When they participate in an activity, it can be fairly hard to see exactly what they're doing, and, when you actually do see, it can be very repetitive. The possessions of your Sim family and your house look pretty good for the most part, although a few of them could be worked on a bit more.
The graphics aren't bad to the point where you won't want to play the game, but they could've been made a bit better. It didn't really matter that much to me, and I doubt it will matter that much to you.

Sound and Music - 7/10
The music of this game is fairly boring, but it's the right type of music for this type of game. It's mainly piano songs that sound fairly similar to each other, played over and over again.
On the other hand, the sound effects of this game are definitely above average. Pretty much every activity that a Sim participates in has its own unique sound that goes along well with it. When a Sim is play guitar, you can hear them playing guitar. When a Sim is cooking food in the microwave, you hear the microwave running. In addition to that, when Sims talk to each other, they talk in gibberish, which, although it sounds pretty lame right now, actually makes it pretty funny. I know that I enjoy it a lot more hearing them talk in gibberish than I would if they actually talked in real words.
Now, with a family of 8 Sims, each one participating in their own activity, you might think that the sounds would become cluttered and clash with each other, hurting your ears and ruining your experience. Not so. As you (the screen) focus on an area of the house, those sounds overpower the other sounds of the house, which sink away into the background and usually become completely unheard. This is very handy, and does a lot of good for your ears.

House Building - 8/10
In The Sims, it's very easy to build a house. The setup and design is very user-friendly, and, after you build your first or second house, you'll have it completely down.
You start off by actually building your house. You put walls, windows, and doors wherever you want them. After that, you fix up your house's flooring, and put up some wallpaper. You can add a second story, if you wish. You can also add various plants around your house to make it look good.
After you "build" your house, you then buy things to put in it. You can buy a lot of things... couches, TVs, computers, microwaves, ovens, chairs, beds, lights, statues... the list goes on and on. There are several different varieties of the same item, some better than others. Items do various things, and help your Sims out in various ways. Some entertain them, and add to their "Fun" level. Others feed them, and add to their "Hunger" level. A few items take away from your Sims mood, but only in logical ways (for example, drinking Coffee takes away from your Sim's "Bladder", and they will have to go to the bathroom sooner). There are also lots of other miscellaneous items that are just there for fun, such as pinball machines, genie lamps, Christmas trees, and many other items. The ways to customize your house with items are limitless.
Items are divided into several categories based on what type of item it is. However, the categories aren't very well thought out, and I always find myself wondering why a certain item isn't in the category where I thought it was (which, nine times out of ten, is the category that it should have been put in).

Game Play - 9/10
The game play for this game is very smooth, and very simple to get the hang of. All you really have to do is keep an eye on what your Sims are doing, and everything just goes on from there on its own. As for forcing your Sims to do certain activities, it's pretty simple. All you have to do is click on your Sim, click on the activity, and choose an option. Even a 7 year old could do it. All in all the game play is great, and I don't have any complaints regarding it.

Fun Level - 9/10
But all of the above doesn't really matter that much. What really does matter, though, is if the game is fun. And The Sims is just that: fun. It's enjoyable to watch your Sims interact, and it can have some really funny moments.
However, there's no real way to describe just how exactly the game is fun. The best way to put it, simple though it may be, is that it just is. If you try the game for yourself, you'll see exactly why I'm saying this.
On a side note, I've found that it's more enjoyable if you make a Sim family based on people that you actually know, instead of just making some random family. That way, any funny interactions are even more funny, and make the game a lot more fun.

Replay Value - 1/10
After reading that last section, you're probably feeling pretty good about the game, right? Well, sorry to break it to you, but this is where The Sims goes down. Way down.
There is really no replay value to this game.
Although there are endless ways to play this game, it gets old faster than any other game I've ever played. When I first played the game, I thought that I'd be playing this game non-stop for months, but it turned out to be only days. After playing a while with my first family, it just lost all of its fun, and there wasn't much more to do.
I have two reasons why the game got so boring so fast:
1) There's no real goal. All you do is make a family and let them interact. There's no way to "beat" the game, and nothing to accomplish. If you set a goal for yourself, the game suddenly becomes fun again.
2) You spend the majority of your time just watching your Sims do things, and, for the most part, they just eat, sleep, and use the bathroom. You have to actively make yourself a big influence in what they do for this not to affect you, but that takes a lot of the fun out of watching the Sims interact.

Overall - 7/10
All in all, The Sims is a fun game, and its only major flaw is the abysmal replay value. With the exception of that, this game is great, and a PC classic. The poor replay value can be made up if you are a very original and creative person, and have a lot of ideas in mind for how to live your Sim's lives.
If you do decide to buy this game, however, bear in mind that you might get very sick of it very quickly.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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