Sims 2 livin' it up on consoles

EA's life simulator moves into new homes on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, GBA, and DS.

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October 25 may go down in history as "the day that made gamers' heads explode." With so much release news hitting the wires on the same day, consumers have plenty of new games to choose from. Gamers can shoot soldiers and blow up enemy vehicles in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat or Call of Duty 2, conquer lesser civilizations with amassed armies in Civilization IV, Cuisinart foes with blades in Soul Calibur III, or make sure they don't piddle on the rug in The Sims 2.

That's right, among all the war-mongering and fighting games released today, Electronic Arts has announced that The Sims 2 has shipped to stores for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and DS. PlayStation Portable and mobile phone versions are also scheduled for release within the next few weeks. The game is based on the 2004 PC version, which was the best-selling PC game of that year.

Like its predecessor, The Sims 2 is part doll house, part ant farm. Gamers can create characters and build houses for their pixelated people, then push them toward financial and social success or let them toil in their own filth by neglecting the little guys and gals.

Console and handheld versions will differ slightly. The landlocked systems will feature an open-ended scenario to let sims run free, as well as a single-player story mode. The PlayStation 2 version also lets EyeToy owners import images into the game. The GBA version includes the One Time in Strangetown mode, a series of playable vignettes. On the DS, sims will be able to run their own hotel in Strangetown and design everything from the paintings to the lounge's music.

The Sims 2 is rated T for Teen on the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox, and E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older on the DS and GBA. Retail prices are $39.99 for the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube versions, $34.99 for the DS version, and $29.99 for the GBA version. Check back later this week for a review of the console versions, or read GameSpot's full review of the PC version.

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