The Sims Bustin' Out Impressions

We get an up-close look at the next game in The Sims series for home consoles.

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At today's Camp EA press event, we were able to get a close look at The Sims Bustin' Out, the next game in the life-simulation series for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. We were able to see only the PS2 version of the game in action, but it's safe to assume that the other versions will be largely similar. As we saw, Bustin' Out will feature improved, higher-resolution graphics, including real-time lighting and more-detailed characters. Bustin' Out will feature new hairstyles and clothing to customize your characters with, as well as plenty of expressive new character animations. Like The Sims for consoles, and the original PC game, Bustin' Out will let you create a computerized character called a "sim" (or an entire family of sims), and move him or her into a house you build and design--but in Bustin' Out, your sims will be able to leave the house and visit their neighbors whenever they wish.

Bustin' Out will feature several returning characters from the original, such as Mom, Dudley, and Mimi, but it will also have several new characters, and all these characters will let you unlock new social interactions that befit their personalities. The crude Dudley will teach you to belch in other sims' faces, for instance--a social interaction that outgoing sims might find amusing, but will be offensive to most others. Sims in Bustin' Out will actually have different interactions with other characters and with objects depending on their personalities. For instance, when faced with a climbing wall at the gym, outgoing sims will boldly leap onto the structure and scale it as quickly as possible, while more-reserved sims may slowly and carefully creep up and down.

You'll also be able to unlock plenty of new objects in Bustin' Out, including Venus flytrap plants that can actually make short work of the pesky flies that swarm your garbage piles--but if they're overfed, these plants will grow to a huge size and become man-eaters (or sim-eaters, as the case may be). Additionally, the single-player "get a life" mode in Bustin' Out will actually branch and change depending on your sims' personality and career path. For example, an athletic sim might end up tending to a gym and be required to buy up sporting equipment, while a sim pursuing a life of crime might take on a mission to sneak into another sim's house and successfully steal a certain number of objects.

Bustin' Out will feature a modified multiplayer mode that won't include the menial two-player tasks from the previous game (such as competing to see which player can clean up piles of garbage the fastest). Instead, the new game will let players play cooperative games in both the regular "live mode" (in which sims live and work normally) and the mission-based get a life mode. Players will even be able to trade unlocked items. So, for instance, if you happen to be playing a character in the music career path and you've unlocked an expensive guitar, while your friend is playing as a jock and has unlocked a basketball hoop, the two of you can trade items by swapping memory cards.

The Sims Bustin' Out is scheduled for release on the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube later this year. The GameCube version of the game will feature Game Boy Advance connectivity options that will let you download your Bustin' Out sim to your GBA, along with several other exclusive features.

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