The Sims 2: Apartment Life

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Sims 2: Apartment Life Game Poster Image
Sims move on up, gain good/evil magical powers.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Sims have the ability to do all of the things they could do in the original Sims 2. That means they can insult friends, be late for work, and even have affairs. Players now have the option of assuming the role of a witch capable of casting spells that make other sims do such things as throw up, split with their beaus, and start fires. As apartment dwellers, they'll occasionally have to bang on walls when neighbors party too loudly and may even be sent to collections if they become delinquent in paying rent. However, a new reputation meter provides a motive for players to keep their sims on best behavior.

Violence

Sims occasionally get into fights with one another (we're told early on that their emotions run deeper than ever before), but the violence, which includes actions such as throwing cups of water at other sims, is relatively tame. All Sims eventually pass away of natural causes.

Sex

Sims can share hot tub baths together and become romantically involved to the point of producing children. Kissing is shown and you can lure other sims into bed, but actions of intimate and explicit nature are tastefully blurred out.

Language

The Sims speak in gibberish and never use real words. However, it's easy to interpret what they mean to say, and sometimes it's obviously meant to be profane.

Consumerism

As in all Sims games, materialism plays a major role. Players spend much of their time shopping for new items to outfit their homes. There are no recognizable brands, but the unavoidable message here is that consumerism is good and wealth is desirable.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Home bar equipment and espresso machines are available for purchase.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this expansion to the popular life simulator The Sims 2 looks and feels very much like the original game, save that avatars now live in multi-unit dwellings. However, it also has a supernatural twist in that players can now morph their sims into witches and warlocks. Should players go this fantastical route, they'll have the option of selecting between two moral disciplines: The Ways of the Light and the Path of Darkness. The former provides access to helpful spells (healing fellow sims, patching up bad relationships), while the latter allows players to perform evil magic, causing other sims to become ill, start fires, and get into fights with one another. In short, you can be a meaner, nastier sim than ever before. That said, the game rewards civil behavior through a new Reputation Meter. Polite, respectful sims will find it easier to succeed in their careers and social life, while evildoers will inspire dislike and mistrust in their fellow sims.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bylemonlimetwist January 20, 2010

A great game for teens and adults

This is arguably the best game ever invented. I wouldn't let kids under 13 play due to some more mature themes, but safety is not at all a problem and it... Continue reading
Adult Written byGertrude11 August 31, 2009

good for mature 12 year-olds

This game is fun and easy to play.
Teen, 15 years old Written byZeeBuhRuh October 21, 2010

It's rated Off for 16? That's borderline moronic...

You guys, really? "Oh it has too much sex in it, blah blah blah" And since when can you watch them have sex? This isn't a porno for PC. It... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 27, 2010

Not a bad game for tweens.

There's some overreacting going on. You can't watch people having sex, you see them make out and go under the sheets. Really, it's not that detai... Continue reading

What's it about?

As the remarkably successful life simulator The Sims 2 heads into its final stretch (The Sims 3 is slated for release next year), Electronic Arts has rolled out one last expansion pack in the form of THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE. The primary new feature in this add-on, as suggested by its title, is that your sims now have the option of living in a variety of multi-unit dwellings, from sparse lofts to deluxe condominiums. That means paying rent, taking on roommates, dealing with loud neighbors, and growing accustomed to a social circle made tighter by virtue of the fact that many of your friends live just a few feet away.

But there's more to Apartment Life than just new urban abodes. For starters, players can now befriend witches and warlocks and eventually join the coven themselves, learning magical powers that give them the ability to make or break relationships, keep themselves fed and clean, and travel quickly by broomstick. It's a fairly steep departure from the franchise's devotion to authenticity, but casting a spell that causes a sim who you think might be making moves on your date to vomit is an undeniably satisfying -- if somewhat devilish -- bit of fun.

Is it any good?

If this element of fantasy is not to your liking, you can simply choose not to associate with any witches and instead focus on new features more in keeping with the series' realer-than-real vibe. Like the reputation meter, which bobs up and down based on how much respect you show other sims. It can have a marked impact on how both new and old acquaintances react to you. And, depending on your sim's affluence, butlers are now available -- a godsend for players who can't stand cleaning up after themselves.

Of course, apartment living also comes with some disadvantages. Improvements to your pad are limited to the decorative variety -- no structural changes allowed. And if your roommate is short on cash come the first of the month? You'll have to pony up to make up the difference, or face an angry landlord willing to take you to collections. This broad range of new features and content, both helpful and hindering, helps make Apartment Life one of the strongest expansions to any Sims game to date.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how realistically the game simulates human relationships. Are there enough options for interactions to make it feel as though you can say or do what you want when your sim is socializing with friends? Are the timelines and events involved in the game's romances authentic? You can also discuss the new reputation meter. Does it authentically simulate how a person's interactions with some people can affect their standing with others? Did you feel motivated to be better behaved out of concern that antisocial antics could damage your relationships with others?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Electronic Arts
  • Release date: August 26, 2008
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: T for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence

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