What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this portable installment features much of the same subject matter as its PC and console cousins. Players have to balance short-term needs with long-term goals to advance the story. Sims make barely obscured visits to the bathroom, which feature pixilated naked bathing bodies and toilet sounds. Flirting results in suggestive kissing and even a passionate cloud of love dust.
What's it about?
THE SIMS 2 FOR PSP strands you in Strangetown, a desert city populated with ghosts, aliens, psychics, and mad scientists. When your car (and the auto shop it was in) suddenly disappears, you're forced to wander Strangetown's five neighborhoods in search of secrets and clues about what's really going on in this curious city -- and then get back on the road. Players customize their avatar, designing his or her face, hair, clothing, and aspirations before setting them loose to interact with Strangetown's bizarre residents. This version of The Sims 2 changes the social game: You build your relationship with other Sims -- and increase your influence over them -- by quickly matching an icon with one that represents your counterpart's conversation, maybe even getting them to share a secret.
Is it any good?
What the portable Sims trades in freedom (there are no jobs or families, no ability to write your own back story or let your Sim wander on its own) it makes up for in story. Strangetown is built on an amalgam of paranormal myths and feels like a lighthearted X-Files. Settings and graphics are nice enough, and the sound does an excellent job of setting the mood -- something along the lines of a campy 1950s B-movie.
The Sims 2 loads game features on an ongoing basis -- players spend as much time waiting for something to happen as they do playing. On top of that, success in the social game -- and in various Mini games -- comes down to well-timed button pushing. When the game hangs for several seconds as data loads, timing gets thrown off, Mini games are lost, and frustration ensues.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how a successful franchise is leveraged from one system to another. Is the success of The Sims 2 on the PC being used to motivate fans to buy a PSP? Families can also analyze the social tools at their disposal and discuss situations when chatting, flirting, and intimidation come into play. Do people use these tactics in real life to get what they want from others?