Well it seems they hooked me again...

"Hi my name is chicknfeet...and I'm a Simaholic."
"Hi Chicknfeet!"

For those that don't know, I'm a sim fanatic. So it should go without saying, this next gen sim game was destined to join my collection. I must say, my expectations were high for this game. Thankfully, Maxis didn't shoot my love for the sims to hell.

For those that have ever played any of the previous sim installments (PC, PS2, GC, etc.), you know pretty much how things flow. Well in the sims 2, the general idea still remains: create your little sim, move them into a nice house, raise a family, and build a social network to advance your employment standings. This time around, the formula got tweeked. Now, rather than just drudging along with your sims for ever & ever (assuming you aren't a sick bastard and end up killing them off) your sims now have the ability to age and die off from natural causes. This new aspect of the game, in conjunction with the new aspiration meter, make it more challenging to get life long goals accomplished. Mind you, if it were just the age factor that enhanced the gameplay, it would be a little more easy paced and less tedious to manage (due to the neat little gifts they give you in the game). But why would anybody want that? Enter the aspiration meter. Think of this as being an indicator of your sims mental status. Similar to their moods, the aspiration meter lets you know when a sim is mentally sound, sitting on top of the world, or just plain out of their minds (52 cards short of a full deck). It's a nice addition to the formula, but can get to be a little tedious sometimes. There will be times you get so worried about improving your sims mood, or advancing them up on their respective career tracks, that you'll forget about fulfilling their aspirations. This seems to be especially true with the old sims. They seem so simple in their day-to-day routines, that you forget they want to do well in the short period of time they have left in the sim world.

The pace of the game seems to have sped up a little bit also. I still play the old sims game and I have noticed that the rate at which things move and take place are noticably slower than in the sims 2. Not to say that this is a bad thing, but it certainly makes you work harder to try and take care of your little sim. Of course with this increased speed comes more trouble that your sim can get into. One of the biggest things that might bother you is how fast your sim will go to the refrigerator and pull out a full meal (especially when they aren't even hungry). Or some of the social interactions they try to pull off when there is no friendly relationship between two sims can be rather annoying. But as stated before, it just makes you work harder.

The graphics are a nice change of pace. Moving from 2D to 3D is very impressive. Even though they tried to do something to that effect on the console games, they were able to pull it off to a greater degree of success on the PC version. There are some things like house rotation/zooming/lot scrolling that might mesh together unintentionally and make for difficult view control.

The sound really hasn't changed at all. Those silly sims still talk in that silly simish language. Sometimes it would be nice to know what they were saying, but overall it's no big deal. Sometimes, listening to the simish on the radios or television can actually be funny. If you ever get a chance, actually listen to the Martha Stewart knock-off on the cooking channel (and zoom in and watch it too). When you actually see this lady burn to death on television and hear her crying out for help in this enigmatic language, you'll probably be ROFL. I certainly was.

The items they have in the game are cool...limited though they may be. But it seems that they are saving themselves for all the following expansion packs. I ended up getting the holiday edition of the sims and even with that, the item selections are limited. That might be frustrating to those that have invested in the first sim game and all of their expansions. Again, however, it seems they are saving themselves for all the soon-to-come expansion packs.

Overall, the game is good. In spite of some of the technical issues I had with the game (yay! I worked through them) it seems solid. Of course there is more to the game than what has been written here, but you can read the actual review for all that good stuff. I tried to make this an unbiased opinion, but that in itself is a paradox. So if you like previous sim games, pick this one up. If you know this is not your cup of tea, then keep on moving.