Some Sims games are good, and generally it’s the PC versions which are the good ones. Occasionally Sims games on the handhelds are good, i.e. Bustin’ Out and the Urbz. Generally, Sims games on the handheld are awful, and the GBA version of The Sims 2 is no exception.
The plot of this game revolves around you working for Daddy Bigbucks, a change from previous handheld games which saw you working against him to foil his nefarious plans. It appears that Daddy Bigbucks has got a get-rich quick scheme of running a TV series based in the town of Strangetown, with you as the central character. The basic premise of this game is that you run around in the story, which is broken into episodes, completing tasks and errands, in order to advance the plot, without anyone finding out they are in a TV series.
Unfortunately, this game feels more like one glorified fetch quest. Now, I don’t know about you, but on the whole, I don’t find glorified fetch quests compelling as far as storyline and plot goes. Okay, there’s the odd exception to this (Dragon Quest IX), but this game falls flat so far as story goes. I honestly can’t remember anything major from the plot, and that’s writing this shortly after playing it.
You also get no freedom so far as completing plot points goes. Whereas in previous handheld Sims games you could complete objectives for each overall goal in whatever order you wanted, in this game it follows a rigorous set pattern of “do this, unlock the next one, do that, unlock the next”. A Sims game shouldn’t be like that and force you to follow a set of objectives set in stone in a set order!
Well, I miss the hip-hop style music used for the older handheld games. Apart from the opening credits music though, none of the music in this game is particularly notable or memorable.
As for the sounds the Sims make when you’re interacting with them, where are they? Okay, so there’s the odd bit of Simlish when you are speaking to them, but it never varies, and lots of the mumbles are reused for different Sims. Why?
This is going to be controversial. I think the graphics are a step down from those from the older games, like the Urbz and Bustin’ Out. They just look flat and dull and lifeless. Everything looks like it’s some shade of yellow or brown, and I really can’t get into the graphics. What happened to the vibrant, colourful graphics we saw in Bustin’ Out?
Even the character portraits look worse than the ones used for Bustin’ Out! Same goes for character models. Just, no.
No multiplayer option is available in this game.
How can a glorified fetch quest be challenging when it spells out to you exactly what to do? How can there be any challenge when you’re unable to deviate at all from the plot? How can there be any challenge when the motive system has been shot to hell, and there’s no real need for motive management? How can there be a challenge during social interactions when you only get an option to pick between two or three options and it’s luck if it works or not?
Honestly, the most challenging aspect of this game was actually finishing it without throwing it at a wall. A point for tenacity, I think.
Okay, I’ve already gone into enough detail on the fetch quest aspect of this game, and why it doesn’t work. As for other stuff:
There is no need for motive management. All the motived have been consolidated into one bar, and there is no way of telling which motives are about to fail, or which motives are okay. The most the game will tell you is when one is about to fail, and it quickly pulls your motive bar down until you’ve sorted it out. Something which really grates on my nerves, as I personally like the more tactical element of having to manage eight different needs at once and keeping on top of them all at once. An element which is sadly missing from this game.
One of the aspects of the Sims which although was minimised on the older handheld games, was that of being able to decorate your home. In this game, this aspect has been butchered. There’s no way to change the colour of items you buy, and there’s a pool of about twenty different furniture items you can get, so there isn’t much in the way of customization of your house going on.
Social interactions are also lacking. When you go up to somebody to interact with them, you get the option of having a friendly, romantic or intimidating conversation with them. Once you’ve made your choice on the type of conversation, you go into a screen with two or three options on what to do, and you pick one, and hopefully it’s successful, causing the social meter you have with the Sim you’re interacting with to increase. Annoyingly, if the interaction fails, it takes a chunk off your motive meter, and can cause it to fail completely and cancel out of the social interaction. This is frustrating as it seems to be randomly determined whether an interaction will fail or not.
As far as customization goes, you can select what your Sim wears from a limited array of clothing and the colour of it, hair colour and skin colour and aspiration from a choice of three. And that’s about it. Not really much going on here on the customization front, which is a shame, as this is an area where this series shines.
Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this game more than once? Maybe to see what happens if you changed your interactions with the characters, but that would be about it. Suppose you could replay it to try and get a better rating score, maybe.
Replay Value: 1
I’m just glad I got this game for 99p in a sale, is all I’m saying.
Written by Karen