The Sims 2 Hands-On
We get all touchy-feely with the DS version of EA's sim-life game. But is it what it seems?
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EA and Maxis are bringing The Sims 2 to every conceivable platform this fall, among them the Nintendo DS. But guess what--this definitely isn't the same Sims 2 you played on the PC last year. The Sims 2 on the DS is much more of an adventure game, with a few of the Sims' virtual-life elements integrated into the gameplay for good measure. We tried out a work-in-progress build of the game to see exactly where Maxis is going with the franchise on the DS.
One aspect of gameplay that the DS version of The Sims 2 does share with its PC cousin is the character-creation system. You'll choose all the standard variables--gender, hairstyle, clothing, and so on--to create your virtual avatar. Once your sim is made, you'll be dropped into the 3D world of Strangetown, where your car has broken down. You'll quickly find out that the previous proprietor of Strangetown's lone hotel has fled the premises, and through a number of strange happenings, it'll become clear that you're the only one who can take over the hotel and restore prosperity to Strangetown's once-thriving tourism industry.
To get control of the hotel, you'll have to complete a series of objectives, which the game assigns you as you perform the required tasks. Many of these objectives require you to interact with other characters, and you'll have multiple conversation options pertaining to how you'll speak to and treat the other person. Other objectives involve item-oriented puzzles--early on, you'll have to collect nuclear rods to dump into the hotel's furnace to provide power (don't ask us), or use a vacuum cleaner to pick up piles of dust in the lobby. The objectives are clearly spelled out, and from what we've seen so far, the game feels a lot like an adventure game, what with your inventory, conversation trees, and so on.
The Sims 2 takes advantage of the DS's touch screen by requiring you to navigate all of the menus with the stylus. Later on, you'll purportedly be able to use the stylus in an art gallery to create paintings for your hotel, and you can also use the system's microphone to make music (or Muzak, perhaps). The Sims 2 is slated to hit the DS in November, and we'll bring you more on the game in the coming months.