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     " I couldn't help but repeatedly wonder 'why am I spending hours getting this little mini-me to clean his apartment when I should be cleaning my own instead?' "

      Title: The Sims by Electronic Arts (EA)

      Format: PS2 Sim Game

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: A game that has become more of an obsession than a piece of entertainment for far too many monkeys out there, this newest version of The Sims finally brings the phenomenon to a console near you. This version, which is a direct derivative of both the the PC Sims and several of its expansions, promises all the same life, love, and duty of it's Windows brethren. But will it be the same crack-like addiction when you have to use a controller instead of a mouse?

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Never the strong suit of the franchise, the graphics in The Sims are so-so at best. Blocky, unexpressive, and bland the models not only betray the game's almost 4 year age but also clearly indicate a lack for even graphics of that day. And, oddly enough, even with the port to a strictly gaming platform the images weren't improved at all and may have even gotten worse. Worst of all, though, are the figures movements, which, for a game designed to show you running little people's lives, look remarkably like the worn robots in Disney Land's Pirates of the Caribbean. Still, the quirky animations lead to some clever gesticulation and the sheer number of goodies and objects will keep you distracted from how much your character's head looks like a slightly chewed pencil eraser. As for upgrades from the original PC to this version of Sims, the big bonus you get is a Sim Creator- which lets you mold your Sim into a much more customized visage of your alter self. 3 out of 5

      Playability: Now, in case you don't know (because you've been living…oh I don't know…on Venus) The Sims is the ultimate apex of the Sim City line which puts you in actual and total control of the lives of individual Sim people as they go through their daily existence. One part slapstick comedy, one part inane micro management, and a dash of the psychotically addictive, The Sims force you to take on every aspect of these little virtual viruses including when they sleep and wake, eat, bathe, clean the house, watch tv, play video games, use the can, and fall in love. It's amazing the amount of detail the game offers and play really involves busting your butt to try and for-see your Sims future needs (including recreation, money, entertainment, and emotional well-being) and run their lives in order to bring them maximum joy and harmony. Or, at least, that's what you're supposed to do…but, for the more sadistically minded, this also works as an opportunity to starve, socially outcast, and frequently cause a small virtual man to crap himself. But I digress…
          On the upside the game can be fantastically entertaining and infinitely complicated since, much like real people, your Sims will never quite be happy enough. They always long for what they don't have, constantly need routine managing, and in general, act like the 2 year old children you never knew you wanted. You will be happy when they fall in love, feel pride when they birth smaller baby Sims, and enjoy their antics as they burn their kitchens to the ground.
          On the downside, though, are a number of small issue that constantly plagued my enjoyment of the game. The first, and by far the most important, is the rather shoddy interface you use to interact with your Sims. Point and click menu system is bulky and un-necessarily complicated, especially using a PS2 controller (though, in EA's defense, the button mapping and layout of the control is damned sweet), and makes it far more difficult than needs be to actually interact with your Sim. Add to that a down right lousy pathfinding AI (Sims, evidently, enjoy taking the longest route possible from point to point and frequently run into walls over and over again) and not nearly as many social interactions as you'd invariably like and you will often end up frustrated with your inability to actually run your Sims life they way you'd really like to. Further, the zoom and follow functions aren't nearly refined enough and take some of what should be the pleasure (watching and tracking your Sims) out of the game.
          Still, when all's said and done, the game play ends up being enjoyable and highly addictive, despite it's shortcomings. 3 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: What really sets apart The Sims for your PS2, and what makes this an immensely more addictive experience, is the presence of a 2 player mode. If you, like me, eventually grow tired of minding your Sims through day after day of hum-drum existence, then the addition of a buddy doing it all with you will really help out. Further, and unsurprisingly, in our play experience the multiplayer really provided 2 things: 1) a great roommate play along (so your real life roomy can become your virtual roomy…as twisted as that is). 2) Making the game almost worth the purchase price in and of itself, it turns out The Sims multiplayer is just the way to get your non-gaming girlfriend down in front of your PS2. Seems the micro managing and soap opera-like dramatics are just what she may need. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       In the end, The Sims is a fun and addictive, though slightly underdeveloped, gaming experience. The limited graphics and bulky gameplay will frustrate and annoy you even as the helpless and demanding little creatures they focus on suck your life away. Fun for those who like to micro-manage and a great source for hours of insomniac amusement.

      The Good: Addictive as hell, often humorous, completely original, and multiplayer.

      The Bad: Lackluster graphics, an interface that's harder to use than it needs to be, and limited options.

      The Overall Ugly: I couldn't help but repeatedly wonder "why am I spending hours getting this little mini-me to clean his apartment when I should be cleaning my own instead?"

      What it's Worth: Market

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