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The Sims 2: Seasons PC DVD-ROM

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now

The Sims 2: Seasons is the fifth expansion for the ever popular game. So far the expansions have spiced up the Sims nightlife, took them to university, allowed them to open up their own business and finally gave them the chance to own their own pets. That's quite a lot of new stuff that's been added since the release of the original game but until now (in both The Sims and The Sims 2) your Sims have had to make do with unchanging weather. Not much of a problem you might think but haven't you always wanted to let your Sims play in the snow or looked forward to your garden changing to those beautiful autumnal colours? Well with The Sims 2: Season you can finally have all of this and more.

What does The Sims 2: Seasons offer then? Well for a start it offers four distinct seasons (spring, summer, winter and autumn/fall of course). The seasons aren't just a cosmetic feature. They do have an impact on the game in numerous ways which we'll talk about in a moment. There's a new neighbourhood, Riverblossom Hills. There are six new career paths: Adventurer, Gamer, Musician, Law, Journalism and Education. Of course it wouldn't be a true expansion if it didn't include the usual smattering of new items and you'll find objects such as greenhouses, juicers and wishing wells etc. You'll notice there are a few new hairstyles. Leftovers can now be put back in the fridge and pulled out again at a later date, which means all that extra food your Sim may cook won't go to waste any longer. There's some new building tools too that will help you construct pools, pool slides and there's also an interior foundation tool that can help you to create a split-level house.

The real appeal of this expansion is that your Sims can now experience different weather types. As we've just mentioned the seasons can affect your Sims' moods, relationships, actions, desires and even the clothes they wear. In winter you'll see your Sim put on their jacket before venturing outside. They will be able build snowmen (or should that be snow person in these crazy days of political correctness). You can't fish in winter (as all the pools are frozen) but you can at other times and it's a good way of improving your Sim's mood.  You'll notice your Sims are friskier during the summer and more liable to obtain some loving than in the freezing weather. You can even change the season (a season runs for five days) from the neighbourhood screen any time you want to. If you want to have a year full of winters you can, as you can select what each of the four seasons will be.

Seasons isn't just about having different weather though. Green fingered Sims will enjoy the new gardening features. The Sims can now plant crops and fertilize the soil. They'll have to look after their trees too. Greenhouses can be built to shield your plants from the harsh weather.  Should their gardening technique improve sufficiently they'll be able to create a garden that impresses The Garden Club and your Sim will then be able to join. As a member of The Garden Club you'll have access to discounted seed prices and other niceties. You'll also be able to enter competitions and the best gardens can win lots of Simoleons.

On the whole the expansions for The Sims 2 have been of a fairly high standard. The Sims 2: Seasons continues this pattern and adds a decent amount of content that does manage to make an impact on the basic game play. It's certainly refreshing to have different seasons and see the changes it makes to your Sims. The effects are only slight (which is probably for the best as you don't want your Sim having a wild change of character) but are noticeable. Graphically it's not much different, apart from the different look to the environment in the different seasons, and in terms of its deaf gamer friendliness The Sims 2 is just the same as it was before. What you will notice is the swirling indicators that show you if the current season is having an effect on the current activity but apart from that there is no difference. In short, fans of the series will regard this as an essential purchase and one of the more refreshing expansions to date.

Overall Game Rating 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
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The Sims finally get to experience the different seasons and the various weather types they bring. It's certainly interesting how the various seasons affect your Sims and it's also good that you can configure the seasons any which way you want. The new gardening aspects are also worthwhile. The new career paths and season-sensitive actions round the package off very nicely.