The Sims 2 Nightlife E3 2005 Preshow Impressions

Nightlife will let your sims hop into a shiny new car and party until the break of dawn.

If The Sims 2 Nightlife reminds you a little of The Sims Hot Date, there's a reason for that. Hot Date was one of the most popular expansion packs for the original game, and ever since The Sims 2 was released last year, fans have been calling for the opportunity to take their sims out for a night on the town, just like they did in Hot Date. Nightlife will address that, as well as give your sims the chance to buy and drive cars. We had a chance to see Nightlife in action prior to E3. Here's what you can expect.

Like with other Sims expansions, you can expect a ton of new content in Nightlife. In terms of environments, Nightlife will introduce a new downtown area that you can explore with your sims. This means posh restaurants, hot nightclubs, and even bowling alleys. And, of course, you can always build and design your own downtown locales. To help you do so, there will be approximately 125 new objects and building options in the expansion, including half-walls and diagonal swimming pools. And one of the biggest new additions is the overhauled lighting engine, meaning that you can have elaborate interior lighting that's suitable for a hot nightclub. This means colored lights as well as spotlights.

And it wouldn't be an expansion without new social interactions for you to use with other sims. To help your romantic wooing, there's a dip kiss, which lets your sims lower their partner halfway to the ground, as if they had swept them off their feet, and then plant one on their lips. Or you can blow kisses to your loved one across the dinner table. That's just one of the many new dining interactions. You'll be able to have elaborate dining scenes, both at home and in restaurants.

There won't be a new age group, like the young-adult age introduced in University, but there will be a new aspiration--pleasure--that fits in well with the expansion. After all, your goal is to go out to have fun, meet potential new romantic partners, and to, well, score. Of course, the dating game is never easy, and if you played Hot Date, you know that it takes some work to build up a relationship with someone. And unlike the young-adult age in University, the pleasure aspiration will work in the regular game, so you have a whole new option when creating a character.

Finally, you will be able to purchase a car, which is something fans have been clamoring for since the original game. This will be a gameplay challenge, as you have to save up for the car, but the reward is that you get to select from several different models. A car means that your sim or sims will no longer be reliant on taxicabs to go out, and that's good news because it eliminates all the time wasted waiting for a cab to arrive. And as you probably know, time is easily the most valuable commodity in the game. You also won't have to rely on the pesky morning carpool, the one that honks its horn at your sim to hurry up to go to work. As producer Tim LaTourneau explained, there's also a thrill when you see your sims walk out their front door, head over to the driveway, and pull out in their own vehicles.

Nightlife shows every indication of being another successful expansion pack for The Sims 2, and EA is looking to expand the core gameplay of the original game for the foreseeable future, especially since the upcoming console, handheld, and mobile versions of the game are building on the PC version. EA already has Nightlife in alpha, meaning that all the parts are in the game. It's just a matter of tuning, fixing, testing, and balancing before it ships out sometime this summer. So yes, expect plenty of hot summer nights, both literally and figuratively. Hopefully EA will have gameplay at the show, and if it does, we'll fill you in on the latest details.

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