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The Sims 2: Apartment Life

Score: 88%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Redwood Shores
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

If you know me by now, or if you don't, I am a huge fan of sandbox simulations. I will admit my interest in them has little to do with the game, but with what you can do using the tools. I love using The Sims in Machinima and comics. So it only stands to reason that anything that expands on my ability to do that is going to be a big hit with me. The Sims 2: Apartment Life is the latest edition to the family of Expansion and Stuff Packs available for your Sims. I am glad to see continued release of material, especially considering that they are already talking about The Sims 3.

The expansion adds new material, but obviously not a new look to the game. Your new apartment surroundings is just as appealing as the houses, but there are many new objects to add to your new home. New textures and assets add to the already huge library of materials you can use in the game. New action animations like brushing your teeth and washing your face, dip kiss, and jumping rope add to human simulations of your Sims.

The music is just as bouncy and uplifting as before. I cannot honestly tell, but I actually think I hear some new Simlish words mixed in there as well. When you talk about living on top of one another, noise and sound play a huge part of living together. Your Sim can be sensitive to sound, leading to interactions with your neighbors, but we can get into that more below.


Gameplay:

So now it is time for you to strike out on your own, or with your family, in The Sims 2: Apartment Life. This process is similar to moving in the regular game and expansions. You select your Sim and then select an available apartment complex by choosing the option, "Check Out Apartment." Once you have decided on a place and move in, the building will automatically begin to fill with residents.

Now that the building is populated, there are plenty of interactions for your Sims to partake in and enjoy. Apartment living offers several communal rituals like the BBQ, the pool, and the gym. You can visit other Sims and form lasting relationships, but not everyone always finds the ideal apartment. Thin walls and loud neighbors will lead to situations you will have to deal with. You can do this in several ways. First you can take care as to where you decide to place the beds. Noisy neighbors can and will wake sleeping Sims. Sometimes the old-fashioned trick of banging on the wall is enough to get your neighbors to turn down their ruckus. When the subtle banging on the wall does not work, you can walk over and knock on their door. The better trick is to be as neighborly as possible. This will cause your neighbors to think about their noise beforehand and before it gets out of hand.

If you are living alone and not exactly making the rent that is due every Monday, you can find a roommate. In order to find a roommate that would get along with your Sim, the Search for Roommate Menu allows you to compare the traits of your potential roommate to your own. Along with finding a roommate to help with rent, one of the advantages to living in an apartment is that if anything breaks, you just call the landlord. The landlord also takes care of the grounds and common areas.

Besides the social aspect of Sims games is the ability to build and decorate. Everyone wants to decorate their apartment with cool stuff. It is also cool to have some interactions you could not have in the real world like becoming a witch or warlock. Meet others who are witches or warlocks and learn magic spells to have some fun with your neighbors. Once you meet the right type of Sim, they will give you a Magic Spell Book. You can learn good spells, neutral spells and even evil spells. It is up to you decide who and what you want to be.


Difficulty:

The Sims 2: Apartment Life is not any harder than any other iterations of The Sims. Of course life isn't easy. There is the same amount of macro management that the game is infamous for. You have to stay on top of all of your Sim's needs at all times. The balancing act is all part and parcel of the Sims experience. If you actually have a roommate, try and get both of you mapped out in the social selections as accurately as you can. You may learn something about one another.

There are new tools for the editor that make it much easier for you to redecorate your apartment. You can now place more than one object on a section of wall which really helps make your apartment more homey and realistic. New camera angles in the editor also help you get into position easier to place objects.


Game Mechanics:

The Sims 2: Apartment Life is another welcome and well done edition to the Sims family. I really liked some of the new objects they placed into the game. First, the ability to silence the phone is a big thing. Phones are an obvious and huge part of our social lives. That makes them necessary to simulate these interactions. In practice, though, the phone was annoying but not anymore. You can grab quick snacks from vending machines instead of fixing a big meal. Something that we didn't see very often in the suburb houses were the ceilings. New ceilings create cleaner and more realistic homes. Their spiral staircases take up less space and offer a unique look to your places. The bed is always a good place to make friends. The "More Romantic Than You Double Bed" offers you an advantage when courting. A big thing that people have been missing out on in the normal Sims building experience was a simple closet. Now you can build closets to hold all of your Sims outfits. There are more surprises waiting for you when you get the game and play for yourself.

These expansions are always a win/win for me. New content for building. New interactive experiences to enjoy. There are always unexpected interactions to explore and manipulate. Each one of the expansions adds hours of interaction to play with. As for me, I am off to redecorate my apartment and feed my Sims.


-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:



1.3 Ghz processor (2.0 for Vista), 512 MB RAM (1GB for Vista), Windows(R) Vista, Windows XP, Windows ME, Windows 98 or Windows 2000 Operating System, 8x or faster CD/DVD drive, At least 1.5 GB of additional hard drive space (5.0 GB total is required if installing both The Sims 2 and The Sims 2 Bon Voyage Expansion Pack at the same time.), a T&L-capable video card with at least 32 MB of video RAM.
 

Test System:



Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Sony PlayStation 3 Vampire Rain: Altered Species Sony PlayStation Portable NBA 09 The Inside

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated