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The Sims 2: Pets PC DVD-ROM

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Maxis
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

The Sims 2: Pets, an introduction.

Very recently we looked at The Sims 2: Pets on the PlayStation 2. On the console it’s a brand new game. On the PC however, The Sims 2: Pets is an expansion. Of course the downside to this is that you need to own The Sims 2 (and if the stellar sales figures for the game are any indication most people probably do by now) but the advantage is that you can purchase it for half the price of the console version and in truth it’s a better experience with more pets being offered and some other PC exclusive features being included.

What’s the game about?

When the Unleashed expansion pack for The Sims was released many fans of the series were impressed with it and hailed it as the best expansion thus far in the series. A large part of the expansions appeal was that your Sims could finally have their own pet and this added a worthwhile twist to the game. Of course when The Sims 2 was released most of the content that the original game’s expansions had added was removed, including the pets. Since the sequel’s release one of the most sought after features has been the reintroduction of pets and at last that’s finally happened.

What’s good about the game?

You can now have dogs, cats, hamsters and birds as pets for your Sims. Interaction with birds and hamsters is rather limited though. The cats and dogs are the main pets in this expansion and they are essentially non-controllable family members. You can choose to purchase pets or adopt them or create them when you create a new family. Each has their own personality and traits (which you don’t have a say over if you purchase or adopt one) so just like the Sims there are a lot of variables to consider when creating a pet. Of course the real challenge with having a pet is that you’ll have to train them (they can learn a range of tricks) as well as look after them. It takes time to have a well disciplined cat or dog and you’ll need to make sure you’re there to scold them when they are digging up the garden or committing some other misdemeanour.

The PC version of The Sims 2: Pets has its share of exclusive features. You can mix the breed genetics when creating a new pet. Your pets can breed and have relationships. You can even make your pets work for a living. They can work in security, showbiz or the service industry. Some new building tools have been added. You can now flatten a lot and the new sledgehammer tool allows you to quickly delete a collection of items with just a single click.

What’s bad about the game?

Most expansions are known for bringing 125 new items (furniture, clothing and other objects) along with their other content but this is not the case with The Sims 2: Pets. In fact ignoring the addition of the pets this expansion doesn’t do as much to alter The Sims 2 experience as previous expansions have. Of course this isn’t a major complaint because fans of the series will simply be purchasing the expansion for the pets above everything else. Still you can’t help but feel that more content could have been added.

How does it look?

The Sims 2: Pets, like all expansions is about adding new content and interactions to The Sims 2 experience and as you might expect there aren’t any improvements in regards to the graphics. Of course the visual additions come in the form of the pets and it’s fair to say they all look good and animate very nicely. There’s quite a nice range of breeds for both cats and dogs as well.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

The Sims 2: Pets is exactly the same as other versions of The Sims in that it will cause deaf gamers no problems at all. Sims still talk in their own language and the general meaning of their conversations is shown as icons. There is no real speech in the game. All information is relayed either through icons or text. Tutorial messages are all in text and introduce you to the methods of caring for your pets etc.

Final thoughts.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say The Sims 2: Pets is as enjoyable as the Unleashed expansion was for the original version of The Sims but nevertheless it’s still great to once again be able to have pets in the game. Having pets in the game certainly adds a fair amount of challenge and that’s something fans of The Sims 2 will appreciate seeing as the game has been available for around two years or so.

Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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The Sims 2: Pets may not be the most comprehensive of expansion packs but it's great to finally have our four-legged friends back. Having to look after and train your pets really adds some challenge to the game. It's a shame more content wasn't included though.