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The Sims 2: Pets PlayStation 2

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Maxis
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

The Sims 2: Pets, an introduction.

Although they haven’t enjoyed the same success as the PC versions the console versions of The Sims have still been fairly enjoyable. Without a doubt the best console version so far has been The Sims Bustin’ Out. Later titles such as The Urbz: Sims in the City and the console version of The Sims 2 just wasn’t as good. Here we have The Sims 2: Pets for the PlayStation 2. As you can probably guess from the title, the big thing with this version is the inclusion of pets.

What’s the game about?

When the Unleashed expansion pack for The Sims on PC 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?

On starting a new game you can choose to pick a created family and jump into a home or you can choose to create both your family and your home if you wish. One of the problems I had with The Sims 2 on the PlayStation 2 was that the method of creating your Sim was pretty horrible as it offered no real means of control. Thankfully the method of creating your Sim is much better this time around although it’s still not as impressive as in the PC version. Of course with it being The Sims 2: Pets you can also create dogs and cats to be part of your family right from the beginning.   Should you choose to buy a pet after you have started your game you’ll simply have to pick from the pets on offer and you won’t have a chance to create them.

The challenge with owning a pet of course is that you have no direct control over them. In order to have an obedient pet you’re going to have to train them. Of course you’ll have to play with them too, it’s not all work for your furry friends. Naturally they’ll misbehave and dig up your garden and wee where they shouldn’t. Discipline is the key though. The PlayStation 2 version allows you to walk to the Town Centre (where you can purchase all of your pet products from using Pet Points) and the Central Town Park. You simply walk to the arrows that lie on the edge of your property and press the X button. As in The Sims 2 you have direct control over your character but by pressing the select button you can opt for a PC like control scheme that involves moving a pointer around and clicking on objects. Both control schemes work well and it’s great to have the choice.

What’s bad about the game?

Essentially The Sims 2: Pets is just The Sims 2 with pets. This might seem like a rather stupid statement but if you were expecting some wholesale changes to have occurred then you’re going to be disappointed. The choice of pets you can own are limited when compared to the PC version. Here you’ll only have cats, dogs and fish. Of course whilst the PC version is simply an expansion (and therefore cheaper), The Sims 2: Pets is a full price game. Unlockable items, something I took issue with in the previous console version of The Sims 2 and something that’s never been in the PC versions, have unfortunately returned.

How does it look?

Graphically the game doesn’t really differ from the original version of The Sims 2 on the PlayStation 2. Naturally there’s some new clothing, furniture and items as well as the pets. The pets actually look quite good and animate in quite a believable fashion. The general presentation of the game is fine too and none of the information feels like it’s been squashed to fit on to screen. Loading times can be on the long side though, even when bringing up various menus. The frame rate does stutter from time to time. It’s nothing that spoils the game but nevertheless it’s quite obvious that the PlayStation 2 is being pushed to the limits.

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 are 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.

The Sims 2: Pets is definitely one of the better console versions of The Sims to date. If you enjoyed the previous console versions then you will have no problems with the game. The core experience is very similar to The Sims 2 that appeared on the PlayStation 2 last year and in truth if you aren’t fussed about the addition of the pets then the choice of whether to buy the game becomes rather more awkward. That said The Sims 2: Pets is a more polished effort than last year’s game and is enjoyable to play.

Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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The Sims 2: Pets is one of the better console versions of The Sims. It doesn't differ that much from last year's game but the addition of the pets and a better system for controlling your Sim helps to make this the best console version since The Sims Bustin' Out.