The Sims 2 First Impressions

Electronic Arts and Maxis reveal the first information on their upcoming console versions of The Sims 2.

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Earlier this week Electronic Arts announced that reworked versions of its popular life-simulation PC game, The Sims 2, are currently in development for all current-generation consoles, as well as for the PSP, the Nintendo DS, the Game Boy Advance, and mobile phones. Because each of the new versions of The Sims 2 is being designed and developed to take advantage of its respective platform's unique features, many of them will have far less in common with one another than you might expect.

The Nintendo DS and GBA versions of The Sims 2 that we reported on yesterday, for example, are set exclusively in the Strangetown neighborhood and will see you assuming the roles of a hotel manager and a TV star, respectively. The PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube versions of the game will, unsurprisingly, offer an experience that's much closer to the original PC game than their handheld counterparts. There will be plenty of new content in the console versions to pique the interest of those of you who have already played the PC game, though, and each of the three console games will boast its own unique features.

The console versions of The Sims 2 will afford you even more create-a-sim options than the PC game.
The console versions of The Sims 2 will afford you even more create-a-sim options than the PC game.

One of the first things you'll notice about the console versions of The Sims 2 is that, surprisingly, they afford you even more create-a-sim opportunities than the PC game did, including options to morph the shape of your sim's head and body. The console games will also boast a new create-a-fashion mode that lets you customize any of the garments in the game with new textures, patterns, and materials that you've unlocked.

Another of the major new features being introduced in the console incarnations of The Sims 2 is a custom food-preparation system that will let you create your own recipes using around 60 different in-game ingredients and a number of different kitchen appliances, such as a toaster, an oven, and a blender. The foods that you prepare will essentially be power-ups that, when consumed, have an effect on your character's motives, moods, interactions with other characters, and such.

Because the console games take place in the same neighborhoods that are in the PC game, you can look forward to encounters with some existing characters, as well as continuations of some storylines involving them. The console versions of The Sims 2 will feature around 35 non-player characters that will be recognizable to fans of the PC game, as well as at least 25 that are new. You'll encounter these characters in locales that will also be familiar to you if you've played the PC game, although you couldn't visit any of them before. You certainly won't need to have played the PC game to understand what's going on, but there will be plenty of opportunities to raise a knowing smile if you have.

Looks like somebody isn't aware that the quickest way to a man's heart is via a custom food-preparation system.
Looks like somebody isn't aware that the quickest way to a man's heart is via a custom food-preparation system.

So, what about the platform-specific features that we alluded to earlier? PlayStation 2 owners will be able to use an EyeToy camera to put themselves in the game, whether it be as a sim, a wallpaper, a billboard, or even a T-shirt. GameCube owners will have an opportunity to unlock plenty of exclusive items as they progress through the game, and Xbox owners will be able to play The Sims 2 in 720p on their HDTV setups.

The console versions of The Sims 2 are currently scheduled for release this fall. We'll bring you more information on all three games as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, be sure to check out yesterday's GBA and Nintendo DS first look, and check back tomorrow for information on the PSP game.

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