Malik (4/21/04)

The Sims (PS2)

From EA

This review originally was presented on lazy.GEEKS (5/28/03)

I still remember as a child I saw a program for the Commodore 64 (it's a computer, you of know knowledge) called Little Computer People.  I saw it in a store and it consisted of a little guy walking around a side-view of a 2D house and he had a little dog.  I never got to see much more of LCP than that, but it was a nice memory.

Then quite a few years later, I saw the first info on The Sims (for the PC) and we were stoked.  We waited patiently, week after week, month after month, checking the games web site for any little tidbit of info.  When it finally came out, I was the first person I knew to get it (I am Malik, after all) and was addicted.  I ignored my job, school, friends, family...just to play a little more.  Well, needless to say, I loved The Sims.  However, I grew bored with it after a while (by the time I got Hot Date).  At that point, I let the game collect dust and moved on to better things (like beating Xenogears for the 25th time).

Fast forward to this last Monday.  I got a bunch of PS2 games from a friend, and in the bundle was The Sims.  I figured, if I liked the game a couple years ago on the computer, and I've had some time to undo the jaded feelings I got for The Sims...why not?  I learned the reason...I learned why not.

The Sims was a great idea on the definition, it was the most open ended non-linear game experience you could find.  In fact, that is the whole appeal of The Sims; you can do what you want, when you want, and like in real life, be to lazy to do what you don't like.  So, how does this translate to PS2?  The game becomes linear with mission type stages consisting of a list of goals (1. Barrow $800 from Mom + 2.  Repeair the TV + 3.  Find a job +4. Fix a meal w/o starting a fire = Finish Level 1, move out and start level 2...etc).  This in itself is not too bad, except you can't even start the game with more than one person under your god-like control...true, those of you who have played can say you control Mom on the first stage, but she wont do anything you tell her to do.

As you play, you're allowed to play in a free or sandbox mode, but you have to unlock it.  I wont claim to have played this game for a long enough time to get this far, but that is because I can't bring myself to play anymore.  The linear missions suck...plain and simple.

Next, there is an important issue at hand that many PC ports have (and FPS) on consoles.  That being the controls.  The Sims on PC played like a work of art with the useful blend of keyboard and mouse functions.  This does not translate well to the dual analogue of the PS2...and I hate to think of the controls of The Sims on any other style of control.  The game was made for mouse, and by the mouse is how it should be played.  It is hard to select objects/people and it is tedious to cancel an action without having the ability to click on the actions icon at the top (instead you can cancel actions in order of when they were given to the character with the triangle button).  This is crappy when some stupid NPC sim decides to be your best friend and you just want to use the toilet.  Here's how the shit went pear shaped; I was trying to move the clunky analogue stick to select the toilet and then Mom decided to visit and talk to Bruce (my sim).  Then I clicked to use toilet.  He wouldn't go (and his bladder was ready to explode like an over-cooked haggis) since Mom was yammering on.  Well, I clicked Triangle to cancel, and that just canceled his toilet use.  So I hit it again and get out of talking, but then as I reselect the toilet, Mom starts again.  I keep going through this crap until poor Bruce exploded...I nearly wept for him...all because EA wanted to simplify the cancel action into a simple one button sequence, and because they made a character more annoying than Mr. Goth (your default neighbor on the PC version of The Sims).

So, do I have nothing nice to say about this game.  Well, believe it or not, I have two nice things to say.

First, with the poor control you'd expect I hate everything about it, but there is one thing I found quite innovative for this type of game and would like to see on the PC version.  Let's say you click on something that is right next to another object...on the PC it would often select the wrong object; well, on the PS2, it will ask you which object you really wanted.  It's a small thing, but I like that this was done considering the poor response of analogue (compared to mouse).

Second, the graphics.  I know I keep saying that I don't give a crap about eye-candy, and that is true.  However, some people do care and for them, let me say this.  The 3D graphics are really smooth and fun to look at when you consider the PC version and it's graphics.  Even character creation is fun since the game looks nice enough that one can make the sims look like someone they know (but not as well as the player creation on Winning Eleven...), not just a close blocky representation.

Well, long story short, the control and the linear game play is pretty lame on the PS2 version of The Sims, but if you don't have a computer or the PC version (which is hella if you have a PS2 and a PC and the money to get the PS2 game, you're an idiot if you get the inferior PS2 version), this is a good facsimile.  Anyways, if you wanted a linear The Sims, go for this, and if you don't have a PC, knock yourself out.  As for me, I'll let The Sims craze die; I spent too many years on this series already...I love the game/series, but it is time to go the way of the Power Rangers, Voltron, Pet Rocks, fondue, and all those other fads.  Score, you ask?  6/10.  Good day.