The Sims 2 Updated Impressions - Genetics, Aspirations, Socials

The console version of The Sims 2 will offer nearly everything the original PC game did, including genetics and the aspiration system of wants and fears. We take an updated look.

At a recent press event, we had a chance to take an updated look at The Sims 2 for consoles. The new game will offer many of the same features that the popular PC version did. While the new game will not feature the ability to have children like in the PC game, you will be able to manipulate genetics when creating a new character to play as by customizing your character's grandparents. By altering your grandpa's and your grandma's appearance, you'll be able to follow your hereditary line and end up with your male or female character.

The new game will also feature The Sims 2's aspiration system, which lets your little computer people pursue up to four different "want" goals while trying to avoid up to three different "fear" conditions. Like in the PC game, the more wants your sims accomplish, the happier they'll be. The Sims 2 for consoles will even add an all-new aspiration, creativity, which will work hand in hand with the game's all-new food-creation option. Basically, your sims will be able to wander through the world and find many opportunities to harvest ingredients to cook with, including fruit that can be harvested from trees and tropical fish that can be "borrowed" from other people's aquariums. The game will have about 50 different ingredients, which can be combined in many different ways to produce recipes that don't just make your sims less hungry but can also make sims more energetic, fall ill, or even fall in love.

The Sims 2 for consoles will also have plenty of new features, like direct control over your character's movement using your controller's analogue stick (as opposed to using a cursor to direct your characters) that will let you walk and run. The game will have 10 different career paths your sims can follow and more than 500 objects and items they can interact with (including more than 350 all-new items). It will also have a dozen different "story locations," which will be set up with brief cinematic sequences as you enter them for the first time, such as the H.M.S. Amore, a luxury cruise ship and something of a parody of The Love Boat.

By all appearances, the development team has carefully observed what worked and what didn't work in previous Sims games for consoles. Like with The Urbz, the new game will still let you network with other sims (and even take them over and play as them once you become good enough friends), though you won't have to buy a new wardrobe or be offered a limited selection of social interaction choices with only one or two that will "work." Instead, the game will highlight your conversations with its new "conversation mode," which zooms in the camera on your sim and the character you're speaking with and blurs out the background. In this conversation mode, you'll be offered a set of appropriate social moves, and you'll be able to tell which ones are working and which aren't by paying attention to their body language. And once you become good enough friends with other sims, you'll unlock their DNA to make new sims with, and you'll also unlock their wardrobes to wear. The game will actually support modified versions of the same clothes (like long-sleeved and short-sleeved T-shirts) and will even support layered clothing.

The Sims 2 for consoles looks promising at this point, and it seems that the development team has made good decisions about how to get as much of the PC game onto the consoles as possible. The game will even support split-screen multiplayer. The Sims 2 is scheduled for release on the Xbox, the PS2, and the GameCube this fall.

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