The Sims are everywhere!

little things on TS2 on console

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Mortimer Goth's Distant Cousin
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for PS2, Xbox, and GameCube brings over the same new gameplay elements from the PC sequel: Your Sims, aside from having basic needs like comfort or food, will also have aspirations for things like popularity or cash-money. They'll also have fears (of rejection, losing a job, etc.). You can either guide your Sim through the perfect storybook life or mess with their heads just to see what happens when it all goes wrong. As in the PC version, the Sims are rendered in 3D and much more expressive than ever before, so that you can -- in the words of former President Bill Clinton -- "feel their pain."

The new console versions add something that changes the tone of the game considerably, though. You can now directly control your Sim. Instead of playing God with a mouse pointer (which was always awkward using a controller on your couch), you can simply hop "inside" a Sim and run around as you would in games like Grand Theft Auto. This gives the game a totally different feel, and we like it.

The Sims 2 is also more customizable than any console version of the game to date: you'll have complete freedom to buy furniture and manipulate the Sims' environment. There are also new creative mini-games thrown into the mix: You can create new foods (by mixing and matching ingredients) or design your own fashions and music. This new content means that the game can add a new aspiration, so Sims can have "Creativity" as a life's goal.

If you've got an Eye-Toy hooked up, you'll be able to work yourself into the game, uploading pictures from the camera into the game world. That's a little bonus, just for PS2 gamers.

The environment is deeper and more interactive than in any Sims game to date. Examples littered the neighborhood that we walked around in during the short demo: you could dig around inside of couch cushions for money or old food, for instance. Sims can also multitask now, meaning that they can -- I'm serious -- play the PSP while using the toilet. Not many games can claim that as a feature.

Disappointingly, none of the Sims 2 console versions will offer any sort of online play. However, several two-player simultaneous head-to-head mini-game modes are in the works.

It was clear that players will have more freedom with this one than in the other console games to date. For instance, you might have your Sims buy a fishtank and use it to raise rare fish that you can cook in new recipes. Players can figure out their own goals like that as they play. And that's what the Sims franchise is all about!

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