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The Sims: Makin' Magic

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Maxis
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

If you've played any of the previous Sims expansions, you'll know right off the bat that The Sims: Makin' Magic doesn't improve any of the core graphical elements of the original game. Instead, it adds visually in the way of new items and in this case, bright sparkly spells. This is by far the flashiest of any of the expansions, with tons of special effects to accompany your new magical abilities.

The same goes for the sound. New musical tracks and plenty of sound effects are included to accompany their visual counterparts, and they do this well. There are also some new voice tracks for your Sims to learn, expanding their already overflowing vocabulary of gibberish.


Gameplay:

The Sims: Makin' Magic gets you going when a mysterious man drops off some items at your doorstep, including a cauldron, a wand, and some spell components. From here you can start producing more spell components in your house like it was a meth lab and either sell them in Magic Town or use them for your own good/evil intentions.

Similar to previous expansions, Makin' Magic not only adds new items and elements of gameplay, but it also delivers a new area to explore called Magic Town. This area is full of shops where you can buy new items to beef up your magical repertoire, and is also home to wizards duels and places where you can perform shows, similar to that in Superstar. And, keeping with tradition, you can tear down this area and build it anew if you so desire.

Not only does Makin' Magic give you a bunch of new magical items to tool around with, but also included in the game is some of the best material from TheSims.com. Pet skins, mistletoe, bar lights, and many others are all included on the CD for your Sims' pleasure.


Difficulty:

Likewise with the other expansions, The Sims: Makin' Magic is easy to get into and have some fun quickly. A few of the elements of the game, such as saving up and moving into Magic Town, or competing in wizard duels are a little more difficult. However, with a little time and effort, all of the aspects of this expansion can be explored with nary a headache.

Game Mechanics:

While it doesn't fix any of the original problems of the game, such as the sluggish camera or fickle AI, The Sims: Makin' Magic does give you some things to relieve the pressure of manipulating a family of Sims. The new magical spells can help you overcome some of the more tedious parts of the game, such as raising your Sims' personal meters. For instance, you could learn a spell that will automatically raise your Sim's hygiene to the top, or even help with learning new skills. Makin' Magic also interacts with other expansions, so if you have pets, you can temporarily turn them into humans and see how they treat their masters when they are blessed with opposable thumbs.

Makin' Magic will be Maxis's last expansion for The Sims. Whether this makes you rejoice or want to cry depends on a number of things, but if you are at all a fan of The Sims and have enjoyed the previous expansions, you'll definitely want to check this one out.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows XP/2000/98, The Sims Installed on your computer, 450 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 1.3 GB Free Hard Disk Space
 

Test System:



Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce FX 5200 128MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Sim City 4: Rush Hour Windows The Sims: Superstar

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated