The Sims: Bustin' Out Impressions

We were on hand at E3 2003 to witness the next adventures of everyone's favorite little computer people on the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube.

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We were fortunate enough to get an advance look at The Sims: Bustin' Out, the next game in The Sims series for consoles. The game will feature additional content from some of the PC game's expansion packs, though it was apparently developed with player requests as the first and foremost concern.

And the most popular request from fans of The Sims for consoles was to let the sims "bust out" of their homes and go to interesting places and meet interesting people. The Sims: Bustin' Out will, as you might expect, let you buy all-new items to gussy up your sims' home, but the new game will also let your sims get a new set of wheels. They'll start out with a crummy old motor scooter (that will have an alarming tendency to wobble when two sims try to ride it at once), but once your sims become wealthy enough and popular enough, they'll be able to travel in a tricked-out limousine, complete with a hot tub in the back.

In addition to buying up new objects for their homes in the "live" mode, your sims will also be able to visit plenty of new areas, which you'll be able to edit or completely empty out and then redesign, just like in several of the most recent expansion packs for the PC game. We got a firsthand look at Club Rubb, a hip underground dance club with a strobe-lit disco floor and a tattooed bartender who tossed his bottles in the air while mixing drinks. The Sims: Bustin' Out will feature improved graphics that will let you zoom in much more closely on your sims as they interact with each other. You'll be doing a lot of that in Bustin' Out, since the game will have about 30 new sims, and each of them will let you unlock a new social interaction for your own sims to use. We watched as Mom (your character's grey-haired mother from the previous game) gingerly entered the club in her robe and slippers and had a gigolo sim put the moves on her. She didn't seem to care for the attention, and slapped him down.

The Sims: Bustin' out will also put more emphasis on multiplayer play. The original game let you play through the live mode cooperatively with another player, or compete with another player in a series of simple minigames. Bustin' Out will expand on the multiplayer game by letting you play through the entire "get a life" single-player mission mode cooperatively. The game will be released early next year.

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