MySims Agents Updated Hands-On

The life of a superspy is never boring as we check out the Temple level of MySims Agents for the Wii.

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Unusual occupations are nothing new for Sims fans, and the upcoming MySims Agents for the Wii and DS will have you jumping in the expertly tailored suits of a superspy, traveling around the world to solve mysteries, and working with cool gadgets--the likes of which would make James Bond green with envy. We recently had a chance to see an updated version of the game to see how its combination of adventure gaming and puzzle-solving is shaping up.

Your goal in the game is to bring down the nefarious Morcubus, the CEO of the corrupt corporation MorcuCorp. To do so, you'll have plenty of assets on your side, including a small army of fellow agents you can recruit and send on side missions, a multistory headquarters that you can deck out to your heart's desire, and, of course, your own problem-solving skills.

The opening part of the demo showed the open-world gameplay; the gameworld comprises several different districts you can explore, including an industrial area, a boardwalk, and your HQ. The HQ is one of the most important aspects of your crime-fighting career, and you'll spend a good chunk of your time in MySims Agents there. Like in any good Sims game, you'll have ample opportunity to customize the different floors that make up your HQ, using such items as wallpaper, carpeting, and furniture.

Beyond the aesthetics of redesigning a floor, customization in MySims Agents has the added bonus of improving the chances that your fellow agents will complete their various dispatch missions. For example, if a mission requires a high-charisma rating in order to be successful, you'll want to look for items that will improve the charisma rating of that floor and its inhabitants. You can still send agents out on dispatch missions even if they aren't "tuned" for that mission, but your chances of success will go up if you spend some time paying attention to your surroundings.

Other fun stuff at your HQ includes an arcade where you can play the various minigames you've unlocked while solving missions around the world of MySims Agents, as well as a jump jet you can use to get from one mission to the next. In the demo we saw, we took the jump jet to a mysterious temple that was said to house a fragment of the so-called Nightmare Crown. Getting to the temple and getting inside the temple, however, were two different things. For the latter, you'll need to solve a number of puzzles strewn around the level before you are granted access to the temple.

These puzzles range from the relatively mundane--such as using your F space manipulator (one of your cool spy gadgets that lets you move large objects with ease) to stack boxes so you can leap over an object--to more intricate challenges, such as placing a number of gears, belts, and mirrors in the correct spots to activate some arcane machinery that might, in turn, unlock a locked chest. Like all of the puzzles in the game, they'll start off easy and gradually increase in difficulty as you go. Any puzzles you've completed will end up in your aforementioned HQ arcade so that you can go back and revisit them whenever you like.

While MySims Agents will have about 15 main story missions, each mission will be made up of lots of smaller quests and puzzles you'll need to solve to move the story along. For instance, in the jungles surrounding the temple, you'll have missions as varied as tracking down footprints using another one of your spy gadgets to follow the trail of a missing person; locating a battery you'll use to power up a laptop computer; and climbing into the jungle treetops on the hunt for a lemur that might have an answer or two. As you solve puzzles and gather clues, you'll add them to your casebook, which you can always refer to. However, beware: Some of the clues you collect will end up being red herrings designed to throw you off track.

While the temple level was big on the jungle vibe, it looks like there will be lots of variety to the levels in MySims Agents. Based on the screenshots alone, you'll have levels set in gloomy-looking swamps, snowy ski lodges, and, of course, the urban areas that make up your HQ and its surroundings. One presentation change from previous MySims games has to do with the camera, which will be fixed this time around. This choice was made, according to game producers, to free novice players from the sometimes confusing chore of moving the camera around to get the best view. As a result, the development team has focused on creating the right camera angle for a particular situation.

MySims Agents looks like a game best experienced by families, because kids will appreciate the simplified art style and easy controls while grown-ups might get a kick out of some of the tougher puzzles in the game. There's still more to discover about the game ahead of its release later this year, so stay tuned for more.

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