A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
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What's it about?
THE URBZ: SIMS IN THE CITY is complete with VIP rooms and art galleries, sushi bars and fashion catwalks. You're on a quest to change your reputation from country-mouse nobody to scene-ruling socialite. To do this you must navigate nine neighborhoods in the big city, and network with residents, mastering each neighborhood's way of dressing, talking, and acting.
But residents will only talk to you if you seem to share their interests: Dress in leather, exchange a head-butt, and enjoy some drag racing to impress the people of Gasoline Alley, or eat sushi, play a video game, and dress in Tokyo-inspired fashion to in Neon East. If you walk the walk, talk the talk, and do a favor or two (in the form of missions), you'll start to build your reputation. Suddenly people dress like you, your face appears on posters, and you can challenge reigning party god Darius for his position as most popular Urb in town.
Is it any good?
Many of the activities that make the original Sims games so fun are marginalized in The Urbz. One of the greatest pleasures of the original game is designing your house, but your Urbz apartment is so small -- and you spend so little time there -- that you can't really unleash your inner decorator. Instead, The Urbz emphasizes social networking. Now you can dance the tango or play air guitar with an Urb you admire, pick a fistfight with an enemy, or use a strobe light or a stink bomb "power social" to overpower disinterested counterparts.
But putting forth the effort often seems pointless when you're spending much of your time comparing cell phones and gossiping about other Urbz. The Sims was all about being playful and letting your imagination create a fantasy life. The Urbz' emphasis on being just like everyone else is a lot more limiting, and a lot less fun. Ultimately, the heart is missing from this game.
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