The Sims 2 was one of the top selling games on the PC, with a huge following worldwide. But how will our little friends cope with being squeezed onto the PS2?
It certainly has that Sims feel to it as you enter the game, with the normal options to move an existing family into a house, or to creating your own characters. From the outset a problem rears its ugly head, which will ultimately blight the entire gaming experience, and that is control.
The PC version of the game relies heavily on the mouse - something that is reproduced with all the console buttons. This might sound confusing, and it is. Actually getting your Sims to carry out a range of tasks becomes a chore; it is not comparable with the flexibility you get on the PC, so in a sense it’s a totally different gaming experience. For example, on the PC you can dart around, line up a range of things your Sim needs to do, switch characters easily, all with one hand and a bit of left and right button clicking. Suddenly on the PS2 you are in to the realms of two analogue sticks and 12 buttons. It’s a disaster.
The problems continue with the on-screen components, which you can pop-up for reference as you play by poking all sorts of buttons, but you can’t have a number open and play the game as you would expect, so you have to choose what you want to see, then get on with gaming. This ultimately means that the gamplay is disjointed and broken, and lacks the fluid constancy of the original. It might not be fair to compare the two games like for like, but this is going to be a huge factor for the fan base - it’s just not as fun anymore.
Graphically you can recognise it as the Sims 2 and looks similar to the PC version, and all the basic game premises are there. Of course it’s on a TV but it doesn’t look as sharp as you might want and doesn’t seem to make efficient use of the screen. Some of the demands placed on graphics rendering are less of a problem than on the PC version, which struggles on under-powered machines - of course, a PS2 is a PS2, and from that angle the game runs smoothly and loading times are kept to a minimum.
As you would expect, you can do all the normal Sims things - spend your hard earned cash on objects to fill your house, but once again you have that problem - you don’t get the freedom of drag and drop with the mouse, you’re in the realms of sticks and buttons again.
I don’t really know where to go with this review; if you’ve never ever seen the Sims before, there might be a modicum of interest based on the game’s format. However, I’d suggest the best approach is to buy a PC and play that version as the control issues are ridiculous on the PS2.
In a final test to make sure it wasn't just us, we put an excited wife in front of the game - she’s a big fan - and it was denounced as utter rubbish within 15 minutes. If you’ve experienced the PC version, you’ll realise the PS2 version is the incontinent Granny of the family - and no one wants that for Christmas.