Solid expansion pack

User Rating: 7.8 | The Sims: Livin' It Up (DVD) PC
The Sims was something of a revolutionary game when it was released in the dim and distant days of the turn of the century. It spawned many expansion packs, Livin' Large (or Livin' It Up, as it is known in the UK) being the first.

Livin' Large does not really alter the gameplay of the original game, however simply expands on it. There is now a greater range of career choices for your Sims to pursue, including musician and paranormal enthusiast, plus a wider variety of items and decorations to populate your virtual home with. There are some neat new additions that enable your Sims to deal with some of real life's problems, including the possibility of a roach infestation, should your Sims living conditions deteriorate enough, and visits from the Grim Reaper if any...accidents should occur.

These new additions enhance the gameplay of an already excellent game, meaning that this expansion pack is definitely worth purchasing. However, it doesn't really add anything new to the style of game, and still leaves us with the frustrations that we had with the initial game. For example, it is still not possible for your Sims to go out into the community, aside from going to work. The new career choices are interesting, though still don't really affect the lives of your characters, their interests, or their personalities. Also, we never see our Sims in their virtual jobs, meaning that their careers simply serve the purpose of generating money, rather than allowing us to build our Sims relationships and skills in their jobs.

As the game is incredibly open ended (your Sims live forever, short of any serious accidents), a lot of the fun comes from building and decorating lavish houses for your Sims (unless you are someone who likes to watch them struggle in an overcrowded shack?!), and so the new items available for building and decorating are really good additions. It is now possible to create Gothic mansions, space age houses, or simply the house that you would most like to live in!

Many of the new items included in Livin' Large are "community created", meaning that they were designed by fans of the game, and submitted to Maxi's excellent Sims website. People are forever creating further items that are available for download, many in theme with real life holidays, however Livin' Large features the best user created items available at the time of release.

In terms of graphics and sound, there is no change from the initial game. Obviously there are new animations and sounds to go with the new items available (such as an electric guitar), however the standard sound and graphics remain the same from The Sims.

As with the initial game, there are no bugs in Livin' Large. On older machines, the game may slow down notably when numerous Sims are in the lot that you are playing, though if your PC was new within the last 4 years then you will have no trouble at all with The Sims or any of the expansion packs.

If you own the Sims, then Livin' Large is definitely worth your investment. While it doesn't add anything radically different to the gameplay, it does provide a host of new items and gameplay features that will keep you in front of your PC controlling the lives of your virtual creations for many more hours!

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