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The Sims 2 Nightlife PC CD-ROM

Published by EA Games
Developed by Maxis
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

The Sims 2 Nightlife, an introduction.

With the fabulous success of The Sims 2 it was inevitable that a string of expansion packs would be released for the game. Part of what kept the original game interesting was the regular release of expansion packs that added new themes and contents. The first expansion for the sequel, The Sims 2 University, gave us the ability to send our Sims to university to obtain a degree and better career prospects. The second expansion, The Sims 2 Nightlife lets our Sims go downtown and boogie the night away amongst other things.

What's the game about?

As the title suggests this expansion is all about enhancing the social life of your Sims. On playing the game for the first time after installation you'll be asked to pick a downtown area for your town. You can either select the default downtown area or you can create your own. Downtown you'll find restaurants, nightclubs and bowling alleys amongst other things. To further enhance the social side of your Sim's life a new pleasure life aspiration has been added and you'll also find an improved attraction system that uses a gauge to show you how well your date is going. You'll also get to see what your date likes which makes the process of dating more straightforward. Your Sims now have two turn-ons and one turn-off. These turn-ons and turn-offs are selected by you from choices such as hair colour, fitness, smell and full face make-up. Your Sims now have an inventory to carry items around. Other inclusions are driveways, cars and vampires. Yes your Sims can now even become vampires. Not forgetting of course that this expansion also contains the now trademark 125 new items with which to decorate your new home etc.

What's good about the game?

Perhaps the best inclusion in Nightlife is the new dating system. Once on a date you'll see a thermometer-like gauge that will fill or deplete depending on your actions. If you fill the gauge you'll have found your dream date whilst if the gauge completely empties your date will remember never to give you a second look. Dating can be difficult but thankfully you're now shown if your Sims have good chemistry with the other Sim in question. You'll see hearts around the Sim you're talking to if the chemistry is good whilst red Xs will appear if your Sim takes a dislike to whoever he or she is talking to. Having a good chemistry makes forming a romantic relationship much easier whilst a bad chemistry should really deter you from making the effort. It's also worth mentioning that during a date you're shown what your date likes and dislikes which also makes progress easier. If your Sim simply hasn't got the time to meet anyone they can consult with the Gypsy Matchmaker to find a blind date. The quality of your date will depend on how much you pay the Matchmaker and it will cost a lot to obtain a quality date.

Finally you have a car of your own to drive around in. First of all you need to buy a driveway and then you can buy a car of your choice. Cars are expensive but they do away with the need for taxis. You can drive anywhere you like and because you don't have to wait for taxis to arrive it actually speeds up a little the process of getting about.

What's not so good about the game?

Whilst the Nightlife expansion is an enjoyable addition to The Sims 2 experience, it's a shame it doesn't fix certain issues. On newer ATi cards (I use an ATi X800XT) the game still runs quite poorly (irrespective of which drivers are used). This has been a problem since The Sims 2 and neither the University nor Nightlife expansion has fixed the problem. With a weaker Nvidia card in my system the game runs a lot smoother and doesn't have any of those annoying pauses and skips. I'd also like to see the option to view things that are more adult orientated in the game password protected. The Nightlife expansion is rated for 12 years and above (The Sims 2 was 7 and above) but there's too many things in the game that are just plain undesirable for a 12 year old to witness. A simple option to turn off certain aspects of the game (and for the option to be password protected by parents) would mean that adults could play the game as it is and children could play a more tasteful version of the game. You could also argue that controlling a vampire Sim is pretty much a waste of time, as it prevents your Sim from going out in the daylight which really spoils the flow of the game.

How does it look?

There's nothing to really say here except that graphically it's pretty much the same as The Sims 2. Of course this is no bad thing because The Sims 2 looks great and so does Nightlife.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Again Nightlife is no different in this respect. All information is either given in text or by the use of gauges and icons. The Sims still talk in a nonsensical language of their own so there's no need for it to be subtitled. Deaf gamers will have no problems either with Nightlife or The Sims 2 in general.

Final thoughts.

The bottom line is that fans of The Sims 2 will enjoy what's on offer in Nightlife. The new additions, particularly the dating works well. Being a vampire is pretty pointless and is probably something most gamers will only try once. If you want to give your Sim a more pleasurable existence then Nightlife is definitely recommended.


Overall Game Rating: 7.9/10

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The Sims 2 Nightlife is a good expansion pack that really beefs up the whole process of dating. The downtown area is well worth it too but the vampires could definitely have been left out.