reviews\ Sep 30, 2002 at 8:00 pm

The Sims: Unleashed - PC - Review

House Party, Livin’ Large, Hot Date, Vacation – goodness, where do you go from here?

Well, why not into Old Town? Because of Resolution 309b-Z-2a, your neighborhood has been incorporated into SimCity’s new historic Old Town district. And that means an entire new world has opened up with all the trimmings, excitement and joy available in one of the most fascinating and enduring cyber worlds in video game history.

The Sims Unleashed, a Maxis (Electronic Arts) release for the PC, is choked full of goodies, all of which improve upon an already incredible title. Unleashed refers to the most attractive and visible part of the package – the addition of pets to the world of The Sims. While not really missing before (simply because there were so many other things to do), after welcoming the precocious and mischievous fur-balls (and other assortment) into your home, you’ll wonder how you could have lived without them.

Will this open up the door of debate between cat and dog people? Perhaps, but there is a whole lot of fun in here besides. The addition of Old Town means access to quaint shops, new houses, and – of course – the pet store and kennel club.

But those are just a few of the new additions to the growing world of The Sims with the Maxis release of The Sims Unleashed. Here is what else the expansion features:

* The game has updated personal design in hair and clothes. Sims can sport a new flip do, and flair jeans are in vogue with tank tops.

* Pets are an obvious addition.

* There are some updated appliances like a new stove, refrigerator, cupboard, bathtub and toilet. In addition there is a greater variety of tables to choose from.

* The community has expanded with Old Towne now within free shuttle distance from the neighborhood you original could build in. Players can play as families in Old Towne, with ritzier houses and a pet store for purchasing that new addition to your household. There is also a park and a small mall for your exploration and enjoyment.

* Oh, and you can buy the seeds to plant your own garden and enjoy the delights and splendors of that pastime.

Aside from the additions to the world, this game sports the same look, same sound and same game play.

If you think the pets are just static additions to this game, think again. Cats like to have their own rooms, and though you can try to tell them what to do, the pets seem to have minds of their own.

This is a terrific addition to the world of The Sims, one that fans of the game won’t want to live without. However, if you want to add this to your world, you will need the original copy of The Sims, or The Sims Deluxe Edition ( ) to play it.

Regardless of whether you are partial to animals and pets or not, the new neighborhoods (and houses), shops and parks make this a wonderful title. Life in this world just keeps getting better and better.

This game is rated Teen for comic mischief, mature sexual themes and mild violence.

Gameplay: 9
The Sims is a perpetual world that only slows down when you ask it to – either for building, saving or just to take a break.

Graphics: 9.2
While this is essentially a two-dimensional world, the constant variants in the individual characters (which is highlighted by the animation) give it amazing life. The new neighborhoods are attractive, featuring wonderful new houses and quaint shops that you will wish were in your neighborhood.

Sound: 8.8
Do the pets talk Sim talk? Well, they do speak, but what – just like The Sims themselves – they say is open to interpretation. The musical score remains essentially the same here.

Difficulty: Easy
Jumping into this world is a breeze, becoming a viable member of its society is almost as tough as real life. This game sports an extremely user-friendly interface.

Concept: 9
Sure, it is an expansion, but it is a welcomed one that really takes the game to another level.

Multiplayer: N/A
Not yet, anyway. The Sims Online is in the works.

Overall: 9.1
The only failing this program has is that it is an expansion, requiring other programs (if you have Livin’ Large, House Party, Hot Date, Vacation – you understand how these games must be installed in the correct order for them to work properly) to run. But there is no denying that what this expansion brings to the series is wonderful. This series just keeps getting better and better.


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