If you're a fan of the Sims with time to waste and money to spend, go ahead.
Pros: Slick graphics for a PS2 game; has its moments of hilarity; lots of stuff to do with all the goals
Cons: Control issues (not as easy to pinpoint as with a mouse); some bugs/glitches; time goes by very slowly without a manual triple speed.
I'm an avid Sims fan; I own The Sims 1, 2 and 3 with many of their respective expansion packs. This is a pretty solid Sims game with lots of playtime.
Storyline: Unlike the PC Sims games, Bustin' Out has its own storyline (albeit very shabby) for you to be a part of. Malcolm Landgraab has taken away precious things from various venues because of he's tired of their laziness and just an overall meanspirited person. So you, the player character, must get a job, reach the top of the career track and prove to Malcolm that you can be a hard working citizen. Then you go back and do it several more times for the different career tracks.
Gameplay: For those of you unfamiliar with The Sims' gameplay mechanics, here's the gist: you are an all-powerful omniscient being who controls the wills of simulated people called Sims. You make Sims eat, sleep, go to work, slap people around or get abducted by aliens; whatever floats your boat. Sims have needs: Hunger, Energy, Comfort, Fun, Social, Environment, Bladder and Hygiene. Most of the game is spent trying to fulfill these needs so that your Sim does not die. How do you do this? Buy things and use them. That's the core gameplay: Sim gets a job so that he/she can buy things to not die.
There are two main modes of gameplay in Bustin' Out: Bust Out mode and Free Play mode. Bust Out mode is the quintessential "story mode" of this game. You are immersed in the story and are given goals to complete. To complete these goals, you do various different things ranging from stealing a shrub to attacking Malcolm with a robot. Another important gameplay element in Bust Out mode is the ability to move out of places and into new ones. New venues will offer new characters to control and new goals to complete. Free Play mode only differs from Bust Out mode in that there is no story; you make your own. There are no goals in Free Play mode and you are "free" to do whatever you want; as long as you pay your bills.
Sound: I had mixed feeling towards this particular soundtrack. It's incredibly different from the upbeat orchestral/piano of the first Sims. Bustin' Out's soundtrack is made of a strange bubbly hip/hop beat electronica. It's unique, I'll give it that, but it just feels really strange.
The Sims' voices sound exactly the same as in The Sims, just the same male and female voice actors speaking Simlish. Sometimes Sims will whistle randomly and it will completely overpower every other sound going on and WILL NOT STOP for a good minute or so. That's my only pet-peeve about the sound in this game.
Replay Value: It's the Sims, the fun never ends. You can finish all the career tracks, complete all the goals and there will still be something to do.
It's a solid Sims game. If you're a fan of the series with some cash to spare, go ahead and check it out.