The Sims 2: Nightlife Review

By: Danae

Over the past two months I found myself checking the Sims 2 website daily, anxiously awaiting the release date of the newest expansion pack of the Sims 2 franchise, The Sims 2 Nightlife. It promises to be the “Hot Date” of the Sims 2, but better. Oh so much better.

On release day, I was in my favorite video game store, debit card in hand, practically salivating over the prospect of this new addition to the wonderful world of Sims. I couldn’t wait to get it home and rip open the shiny purple box that sparkled with the possibilities of having my Sims date, go out for a night on the town in order to check out the potential prospects, the possibilities of the newest “Pleasure Seeker” aspiration, and better yet be able to own cars! This was to be the coup de tate, the brass ring as it were for the Sims expansion packs, and thus I cheerfully handed over my card to the mulleted cashier, and went on my merry way.

When I got home, I ripped open the box, noting the newly styled, dvd-esq package, and shoved the cd into my drive, palms sweating with anticipation. After a small tussle with lappy and two system restores, I was in. The new downtown awaited me and my sims for a night out in order to check out the fresh meat . Score!

This, however, wasn’t all it seemed. I found the downtown area a little flat. I expected the clubs to be hopping, bowling alleys ripe with the prospects of potential significant others, and the café’s to be virtual smorgasbord of possibilities both in social interactions and foodstuff. This aspect of the game, however, did not meet my expectations. The downtown area is a kind of ghost-town, inhabited only with a few Sims from the neighborhood when a character decides to go downtown. The dance-floors are certainly not hopping, and the appearance of a vampire, who is looking to hypnotize fresh meat seems both slightly creepy and comical at the same time.

That’s not to say that there aren’t fun things about the EP (this stands for Expansion Pack, for all you non-Simmers). The new “timed” dating is a fun challenge that adds a new dimension to game play, as well as the addition of the “pleasure seeker” aspiration. So, all in all it’s a fair EP.

So now onto the official numeric review:

1.) Package and artwork: 8

I like the shiny purple with the grooving Sim on the front. The new DVD esq cover also brings the Sims a much needed update, and it’s a way to show gamers that Maxis is serious about making the Sims franchise continually cool.

2.) Graphics: 7

Though there are new hairstyles, clothes and items, there is nothing that pops. Typical Sims 2 graphics, and to be honest, the dancing in the clubs could be a little more realistic. The Sims that are squatting and flapping like chickens laying eggs just aren't doing it for me here.

3.) Controls: 8

Same old Sims controls, not much new here.

4.) Gameplay: 7

The new down-town area is okay. There are places for your Sims to live in Down-town, which is something that Hot Date never contained in the original Sims. Plus the cars are a neat new feature and add versatility to gameplay. Yay for flaming sports cars. Gotta give the ladies and gents at Maxis props for that.

5.) Production Value: 7

While Maxis kept the original feel of the Sims, I expected something more drastic to be worth the thirty bucks I forked over to the mulleted cashier.

6.) Story/Game Mode: 6

Downtown adds virtually nothing to the neighborhood story boards, except that your Sims can now venture out of their ‘hoods, unlike University, which added a whole new dimension of gameplay, above and beyond any Sims expansion packs, ever.

7.) Sound FX: 5

Not much added to the initially sound effects, which I find annoying in the first place. Who understands Simlish anyway? (If you do, you should be shot for sheer geekiness. That's like speaking Klingon, but worse.)

8.) Music: 5

While interchangeable in the “options” menu, all of the music selections begin to grate on the nerves.

9.) Enjoyment Factor: 7

Though it makes social interactions more fun, outings take up a enormous amount of energy and leaves the Sims cranky and famished.

10.) Replay/Multiplayer: 7

While it lures the true Simmer into gameplay for a little while, the storyline soon gets stale and one is left looking for hacks and custom ingredients to spice up the Sims once again. (And all you hackers out there with the "Casual Woohoo" option, shame on you! What would your mother say to the blatent disregard of the morals for your computer animated, controlled people. You might as well have Sim porn or something.)

Perfect Score Combined Score : 67

All in all, was it worth the thirty dollars I forked over? Well, maybe. But mostly, I am left feeling more ambigious about The Sims 2 than ever, and hope that next time we’ll see a pedigree of The Sims 2 EP’s that we saw in the University EP.

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