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The Sims Pet Stories PC DVD

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

In case you are unaware of what The Sims Stories is, a little explanation is in order. Essentially you are getting a more system resource friendly, streamlined version of The Sims 2. In other words, the game isn't so demanding on your PC as The Sims 2. The game runs in a window, has a multitude of keyboard shortcuts and doesn't seem to be adversely affected when you use other applications and if you're playing on a laptop, it will even pause when you put the lid down which is a nice touch. In addition to the game being less of a system resource hog, the game also offers more focused game-play in the form of two stories for you to play through. In addition to the stories there's also a neighbourhood for you to play an open-ended game of The Sims 2. The downside to The Sims Stories is that you can't install any of the expansion packs or stuff packs that you can purchase for The Sims 2. The first game in The Sims Stories was The Sims Life Stories and, all things considered, it was a solid game that proved quite enjoyable.  The Sims Pet Stories is the second in The Sims Stories series.

The Sims Pet Stories offers two pet themed stories for you to play through. As with The Sims Life Stories you'll have to play through the first story in order to unlock the second. In the first story, entitled Best in Show you'll control Alice Whitt, a starving artist. She's just inherited her grandparent's house but unfortunately she has money problems and may be forced to move if she can't pay her bills. Will Alice get herself a proper job and manage to meet the tax payments? Of course she won't. Instead she's decided to train her dog, Sam, to win first prize at the regional dog show and then use the winnings to clear her debt. The second story is called Midnight Masquerade and is about an accomplished Sim City chef called Stephen Loyal who was leading a quiet and orderly life until he offered to watch his cousin's cat, Diva. Of course you also have access to the Free Play mode which allows you to create your own Sims and their pets and play in an open-ended game when you've finished with the stories.

Taking the two storylines out of the equation, and the ability to have pets, for a moment and it's fair to say it's practically the same product as The Sims Life Stories. The game still has a myriad of useful hotkeys that enable you to perform all kinds of actions with a single button press and it's still much easier on your PC than The Sims 2 which, by all accounts, is capable of being quite a system resource hog. The Learn to Play mode has once again been included to shoehorn those few who have yet to encounter a version of The Sims into the game. The limitations are still here too. You can't use any of the expansions with the game and you can't use any downloaded content for The Sims 2 here, even though it's practically the same game. In fact if you end up really getting into the game you'll have to go out and purchase The Sims 2. In effect then, if you have already played The Sims 2 or The Sims Life Stories, you'll simply be purchasing the game for the two stories alone. Thankfully the two stories are quite good and quite humorous in parts. Best in Show does a good job of introducing newcomers to The Sims 2 experience without being boring for those who've played The Sims games many times before.

There's little to be said about the graphical quality and deaf gamer friendliness that hasn't been said many times before. Essentially the graphics are exactly the same as you'll see in The Sims 2 and The Sims Life Stories, which makes you wonder why The Sims 2 is so much more strenuous on your PC than The Sims Stories games. The game is as deaf gamer friendly as the previous versions of The Sims. The Sims speak in their own brand of gobbledygook with icons shown to give you an idea of the gist of their conversation. All important information is shown in text and all tutorial information is in text. In short it won't give deaf gamers any problems.

To summarise then, The Sims Pet Stories is just as enjoyable as The Sims Life Stories and if you were a fan of Life Stories and want more stories to play through then you're pretty much guaranteed to find Pet Stories just as enjoyable. The real problem is that the game retails for just £10 less than The Sims 2 Deluxe which comes with The Sims 2 and The Sims 2 Nightlife expansion amongst other things. If you've already purchased The Sims 2 and its expansions and are simply purchasing The Sims Pet Stories to play through the included storylines then this isn't a problem but if you haven't yet purchased a copy of The Sims 2, then you'd probably be better off going for The Sims 2 Deluxe. Yes The Sims Stories games are easier on your PC's resources and yes, the hotkeys are a nice touch but in terms of value for money The Sims Pet Stories doesn't look as good value for money when compared to The Sims 2 Deluxe. Still there's no denying it's a good game in its own right and the stories are enjoyable.

Overall Game Rating 7.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
(Click the letter or here for details)

The Sims Pet Stories is just as enjoyable as The Sims Life Stories and the stories are interesting and at times humorous. Those who aren't fussed about the stories and who just want to play a version of The Sims 2 would be better off with The Sims 2 Deluxe however.