The Sims 2: Pets Impressions

The Sims are finally coming to the Wii with a value-packed game that takes advantage of the Wii Remote's pointerlike functionality.

The Sims 2: Pets

You knew EA's ubiquitous Sims franchise would show up on the Wii eventually, and indeed everyone's favorite sim-life series is here with The Sims 2: Pets, a fully featured Sims game that focuses as much on your Sims' feline and canine friends as it does the Sims themselves. The game offers a full Sims gameplay experience, with all the wants and ambitions to satisfy, the home furnishings to purchase, and the personal development milestones to achieve that you've seen in The Sims 2 on the PC. Your pets will even have the same attributes, inclinations, and desires as their human counterparts, so you'll have to keep an eye on Fluffy and Spot to make sure they're getting along and getting satisfied rather than, you know, fighting like cats and dogs.

The pet component of the game is optional, so you can focus entirely on your human characters if you want. But there's so much gameplay tied up in the animal portion, we're not sure why you'd want to. You can create unique cats or dogs from dozens of different breeds, and then customize them by deforming their faces and bodies, changing their fur type and coloration patterns, and so on. You'll also be able to give your pets personalities, making them smart or dumb, friendly or irritable. Later on, it will be possible to make your beloved pet look absolutely absurd with all manner of accessories, like hats, boots, sweaters, and necklaces. The most interesting part of the pet customization system, however, will be the ability to breed two animals. The game will purportedly combine the two breeds to create a genetically unique animal, and while we didn't get to see this feature in action, you'll probably be able to create some pretty interesting new pets over successive generations of crossbreeding.

Once you've got your pets going, it's pretty much just a matter of playing the Sims in the classic style of the PC original. As mentioned, your pets will have desires for things like new toys or learning new tricks just like their masters have desires to form social networks and reach new career milestones. The game takes place in an enclosed community, and you'll see the community center become more populated and filled with local businesses as you become more successful with your own characters. Of course, new businesses will mean new gameplay features will become available, like a boutique where you can purchase some of the aforementioned accessories for your animals.

Of course, the game will make use of the Wii's unique controls to ease gameplay as much as possible. For instance, in the build mode, the game switches to an overhead, grid-based view that's almost akin to a blueprint. Once in this mode, you can use the Wii Remote as a pointer to essentially draw out the walls of your house, paint on new colors and floor types, and so on. Since the Wii Remote does function a lot like a mouse, and the Sims is so PC-centric to begin with, it seems as though this will present a more ideal way to play the game than the traditional controller with two thumbsticks.

The Sims 2: Pets is looking like a good way for Wii owners to jump into a meaty Sims experience on Nintendo's new console. It isn't exactly redefining the series, but just about everything you'd want from a console Sims game appears to be in here. The game is due to hit North American stores in June.

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